The New Year brings with it renewed hope and possibilities for us all. It’s a time where, along with resolutions like improving our health or being kinder to ourselves, we also set intentions of crossing off big bucket list items in the name of pursuing our dreams. But what if we don’t know what those dreams are? What if we no longer know quite who we are or what we want?
We can feel lost and unsatisfied with our lives for many reasons and seeing everyone else’s highlight reels on social media can leave us feeling even worse. Maybe you no longer identify with the people, places or position in your life, perhaps you haven’t found your purpose or you no longer want what you once wished for. Regardless of the reason, we often carry a huge weight of guilt and shame for feeling this way. So much so that it can feel as though we have no right to complain when so many are less privileged than us, and when at one time in the past, we had wanted these things so badly, hadn’t we?
Before you fall any further into this way of thinking, please believe me that you’re not alone in feeling this way and that no-one truly has everything 100% figured out, no matter what social media will have you believe. Know that you are allowed to change your mind. You are allowed to evolve. You are allowed to out-grow people and situations if you’re staying true to yourself.
So what will you do with your new-found empowerment and freedom? Before you book your round the world flight in the name of finding yourself, I believe that you need to commit to the process of designing the new you and giving yourself permission to embrace all that you truly are, as well as permission to walk away from people and situations that are holding you back.
Design vs. Find
It’s a state of mind. If we go out into the world looking for answers, we’re likely to find the strong beliefs and expectations of others. We may feel as though we resonate, but the shine can wear off this new way of living quickly if it does not fully align with our soul. And so we find ourselves back at the beginning.
Instead, we should look inwards to define our core values as we embark upon our journey of self-discovery. But where should we start?
Define Your Core Values
Decide what you want to stand for. Do you want to be someone who is kind to all living things? Whose family comes first? Who lives to inspire others through their career? Write a list of your top 5-10 values and then re-order them in their priority to you. This list can and will change in time, so remove the pressure of perfecting it and enjoy exploring things that set your soul on fire.
Discover Your Passion Projects
Explore these five questions: What fills you with joy? What could you talk about for hours? What aggravates you to take action? What injustice do you find hard to ignore? What were your interests as a child? When we feel lost, we can feel unenthused and nonchalant about nearly everything. Digging into the above questions can be the stoke that your fire needed to relight those embers into a blazing flame.
Decide How You Want To Live
Visualise your future: Where do you live? What transport do you take? How do you dress? Do you take care of your health? What does your working environment look like? How do you feel at the end of the day? What brings you joy in the evenings and at the weekend? Making time to be still and sit with thoughts on how your future life could look will help inform your decisions now. My up-coming guided meditation can help you with this, but for now, there are many others available online.
Dedicate Yourself To The New You
Imposter syndrome, feeling unworthy and limiting confidence can hold us back for the whole of our lives if we let it. This is your life and it is happening right now. It took me a long time to accept that you can’t please everyone. If you’re worried about being judged or disliked remember this: It is better to be loved and influential to a handful of people, making a significant difference in their lives, than it is to be liked by a thousand, making minimal impact.
Once we are strong in our foundational beliefs, the experiences we have can only enrich us and bring us closer to our true, authentic self. We are no longer so easily led astray by interesting and well-meaning distractions when we are clear on who we are.