This is not to be confused with accepting what is given to you.
Not all that is given to you is wanted. Not all of what you want will be given to you (nor should). Vocalizing what you want, loudly, with intention and certainty in your voice, affirmatively and definitively, in the present tense, is very different than “not saying no” and creates a very different kind of life. When you simply accept what is given, you leave your happiness to chance. When you actively say yes to the things you want (and consequently no to the ones you don’t) you get to decide what stays and what goes.
Know What You Want
And there are many ways to go about finding out what that is. Some people just instinctively know, others need to do a little more digging. If you find it easier to identify the things you don’t want then start there. List them out, all of them and then look at each of them one by one and ask yourself ‘what’s the opposite of this?’ and when you find out what that is, ask yourself ‘is this what I want?’ and often times, it is. If it isn’t, you might need to change the answer. You might say, I don’t want to be fat. So do you want to be skinny? If the answer isn’t yes, then you need to figure out what that is. The correct answer for you might be a specific clothing size or a specific weight.
If the thing you listed has no clear opposite then you may also need to clarify what you listed. If you say you know you don’t want “drama” in your life, well, what’s the opposite of drama? Not so clear is it? Maybe the real issue is that you have friends who you’re not so certain are your friends and now we start to see the issue a little clearer. Maybe what you don’t want is fake friends which makes what you do want genuine friendships.
Making Space For What You Want
After you decide on what it is that you want, the next step is making space for those things. No two objects can occupy the same space at the same time. Neither can the things you accept but don’t really want and the things you do want. Where one lives, the other cannot so one of them has to go.
The problem with moderation
‘A little bit of drama is OK’, ‘one unhealthy meal here and there won’t hurt’, ‘if he slaps me only once or twice a year it’s not that bad’. I’ve recently changed my position on moderation. I used to think that a slip here and there wasn’t that bad or that “a little bit” of some of those things I no longer wanted in my life wouldn’t hurt. The thing is, if whatever it is you’re accepting in your life right now is negative, detrimental or just outright damaging to you then moderation is just another crack in the wall that allows these things to crawl back in.
“A small leak will sink a great ship.” -Benjamin Franklin
I’m starting to believe more and more strongly that for most people, the best solution is to completely cut off those things that don’t generate joy nor growth. If you can genuinely do moderation, then by all means I wish you all the best but if that one fast food burger you have once in a while tends to turn into a full blown binge every single time then maybe what you really need to do it stop eating them for good. Or, if you say you accept the occasional drama in your life yet each and every time it happens you go and complain to the first person that’ll hear you then maybe moderation isn’t working for you.
So decide on what it is that you want, make space for it and then…
Let Them In And Let Them Stay
Now, the challenge with having guests in your house, these new good things, these things you want, is that because we’re not used to them, at some point we start to feel like they’ve overstayed their welcome and that it’s time for them to leave. Some people do it more directly by saying ‘I can’t do this anymore. I was fine the way I was and I’m just going to go back to that’. Others, most of the time subconsciously, do it by inviting back the old habits, the old inhabitants, and it usually starts with our good old friend moderation – just “a little bit” – or as we call it, self-sabotage. Whenever you feel yourself self-sabotaging it’s usually time to remember why you chose these new habits in the first place.
Some people are really good at making decisions and then sticking to them without any help. Most people though, tend to need a few reminders once in a while, specially when old ways just feel so familiar, even when they’ve caused us pain. Change is always uncomfortable. You have to remember that you’ve lived with the old behaviors, the old situations, the old friendships for longer than you’ve had these new, more positive habits but the fact that at some point you felt like the change was needed then it probably was and it’s important that you remind yourself why. Remember how you felt when your friends argued, remember the things that happened when you were in that unhealthy relationship, remember how uncomfortable you felt in your own body because you were eating things that weren’t good for you. These reminders should help you stay on track and embrace changes you’ve made.
The Point Of It All
Is for us to take a more active role in our lives and realize that we curate them as we go. Notice how I didn’t say create or decide. I feel like those terms are incomplete. Creation includes both the good and the bad things and decision implies solely the taking of responsibility for our choices. Curating on the other hand, like a person with a fine eye who works at a museum, implies selecting only the things that make your space – your life – beautiful, enriched, better. I want us all to start looking more closely at our lives and not only weed out the things that don’t contribute to that improvement but to actively select, declare, attract and commit to keeping the things we do want. To actively choose how our lives will be and not just passively accept what comes to us.
You are the captain of your own ship. It’s time to start acting like it.
And that’s it for today! Hope you guys enjoyed it and let me know your thoughts in the comments below! What decisions have you made recently to curate the life you want? How are you making sure you stick to them?