You’ve got a vision of how you want your life to look — you want to do better, be better, live a good life — but often it’s like you’re wandering in the forest without a map.
We’re bombarded with the successes of others and it can be hard not to compare. We know we can do what they do! Or can we? There’s this pull between determination to live our best lives and our own self-doubts. One day everything is progressing nicely, the next you wonder if you’ll ever reach your goals. Love seems out of reach. Success is far off. Are we even on the right track for where we want to be?
Here are 8 clues that you’re not as lost as you think:
1. You Know You’d Do it Differently Now
We get very wrapped up in the moment and forget how far we’ve come. If you look back at what you did a few years ago and think, “What an idiot! I’d do that so differently now!” The only reason you can say that is because you’ve grown.
You’ve grown in maturity and wisdom, through experience, or learning and personal development. You did that! No-one forced you to change your thinking. That was all your choice. You could have kept making the same mistakes over and over; many people do, but you didn’t. You chose to try something else that would head you in a more positive direction.
2. You Can See Areas that Still Need Work
Your areas of weakness don’t mean you suck. If you notice them it means you’re becoming a self-aware person. Self-aware people recognize their feelings, work on building their confidence, and know their own worth — their strengths and weaknesses.
People who think they are perfect are way off track. They can’t see where they can improve so they never will. They’ll stagnate in their arrogance.
3. You Have Let People Go
Knowing that it’s healthy to let some people go — friends or lovers — is a sign of growth. We often stay in relationships for the wrong reasons. We stay because we feel guilty, or loyal, or that we have to because they rely on us.
We hold on to people who cause drama in our lives, who drain and harm us.
When you let unhealthy relationships go, it shows self-respect. It shows awareness — you know you can’t save others and they can’t save you. You understand what an equal, loving relationship looks like and that the one you had didn’t make the grade.
4. You Need Help from Others
Needing help is a sign of maturity. We’d be idiots to think we can do this life all on our own. We need support to deal with issues and go through hard times; we need each other.
Knowing that we need support also gives us empathy for others. We have more understanding if we’ve been there ourselves.
Naive people think they can do it alone. They think asking for help is weakness. They get embarrassed about going to a counselor or talking about anything real. Often these people make huge efforts to stay safe emotionally. They refuse to face their issues, refuse to change or grow — that’s not strength, that’s avoidance.
Asking for help when you need it is wisdom.
5. You Read to Learn about Yourself
Understanding ourselves helps us understand others. I love personality tests. They often attempt to place you in little boxes: introvert/ extrovert, peaceful/powerful, ordered/ chaotic — and personality is far more complex than that, but they do help you build up a small picture of your uniqueness.
It’s hard to see what’s different about you sometimes. You’re normal to yourself! When we learn about ourselves through articles, books, or personality tests we also learn about how others think and behave. It shows us that not everyone thinks like we do.
That social and interpersonal awareness allows us to grow in empathy. It helps us put ourselves in our loved ones shoes. “Oh! They’re an introvert. That’s why it’s so important for them to spend time alone.”
It also helps us take better care of ourselves. We stop comparing ourselves to others, beating ourselves up for not being more like them. We learn to accept who we are and love the aspects of ourselves that make us unique.
6. You Have People You Love and that Love You
You have family, a partner, or a close friend or two in your bubble. It doesn’t need to be a huge bubble, either! In fact, you only need a few people who you are truly close to — people that know and love the real you.
Giving and receiving love takes vulnerability. If you’re able to open yourself up to love, you’re doing well. Many people don’t. They get hurt and decide to hold people at arms length. They keep relationships shallow and employ a “I don’t trust anyone” attitude. They decided love is too hard.
If you give and receive love, you understand that close relationship are valuable and worth the effort. You get it!
7. You Do Things that Contribute to the World
You work, you feed your family, you volunteer or give to charity, you listen to your friend when she’s sad. You take the time to do things for others because you understand the importance of being part of things that are bigger than yourself.
A life turned inward, where we only think and act for ourselves is a lonely unsatisfying life. Selfishness seems appealing (and sometimes we need to be a little selfish and make sure we look after ourselves too. I’m talking to you moms!). But ultimately, people who focus solely on things that benefit them: their career, their success, their fame…are not the happiest of people.
Contributing to the world gives you a sense of purpose, gratitude, and makes you feel good! Even research has shown that doing things for others makes you happier. If you already know this, you’re on the right track.
8. You Question Things
What’s true? Everyone seems to have their own truth — what’s true for them. “The world is a kind place.” “I am free.” But personal truths are not always correct. They’re not always objective truths.
Objective truths are facts that are true no matter what you believe. You can have a personal belief that the earth is flat, but that won’t change the fact that it’s not!
We often hold onto personal beliefs that hold us back. Especially ones about love, relationships, success, and ourselves.
We believe relationships never work out, but the objective truth is they can and do. If we took a large sample of the world’s population and researched how many couples stayed in happy satisfying marriages until they died, we would see that there are many couples who manage this seemingly impossible feat.
We believe we are not privileged enough, smart enough, confident enough to succeed. But there are many people in the world who have overcome these same limitations to become successful.
We believe we are stuck in a rut. We believe we are unable to change our habits. Unable to manage our mental health. Unable to take control of our lives.
We think these things are true.
When you question your own personal truths, you remind yourself that there is a world that’s bigger than you out there. It reminds us we don’t always get it right or know everything. It’s humbling. It frees us from our self-limiting beliefs and allows us to grow.
We are our harshest critics. It’s important to step back, look at how far you’ve come, and realize you’ve progressed more than you thought. You’ve learnt, you’ve changed, you’ve grown. You’re not the same person you were! So what if you’re not where you want to be just yet? Life isn’t an end product. As long as you’re looking forwards, connecting with others, learning, and growing, you’re on your right track. Give yourself a break— you’re doing okay.
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