Every day, I meet women who express a desire for greatness in their lives, and frustration that they are not living the life they want. Although positive thinking won’t solve every issue that you may have in your life, a number of ills can be fixed by simply changing what things you prioritize. Listed below are five powerful ways to take back your agency by giving up actions and ideas that block your blessings in life.
1. – Seeking validation from others for your decisions
As women, we tend to be “people pleasers”. We want to make other people happy, and on some level, we often want their approval as well. Personally, I struggle with this particular issue often, especially when it comes to my parents. I want their approval – I want them to be proud of me. But I’ve learned something over the years, that we all have to learn at some point in our lives:
What other people think of you is none of your business.
What they think about your decisions, how they feel about your life… none of it matters in the grand scheme of things. It is only relevant in that you have the power to make the decisions for yourself. When you constantly agonize over the opinions of others, you sacrifice your own power and autonomy to someone who doesn’t have to live with the outcome of the decisions you make.
Do you, Sis. Life is too short to be anything but happy.
2. – Doing things that make you feel like crap
This can be any number of things. It can be eating unhealthy foods or leading a sedentary lifestyle. It can be devoting more time to your job than you do to yourself or your family. It can also be continuing to answer the phone for a friend or lover who makes you feel inferior.
Whatever it is – stop doing it!
You deserve a good life, Sis, but you can’t get there if you continue to invite negative energy into your space. Tell yourself that you deserve better, and then hold yourself accountable for doing better.
3. – Placing too much value on material things
One of the worst things about American culture is our focus on materialism. We inundate our lives with “stuff” and then it takes a major toll on our self-confidence. We work jobs we hate so that we can hold onto all of this “stuff”, and we feel the need to compete with others over who has the most or the best “stuff”. What we are really doing when we choose this path is giving the material objects the power to determine our self-worth because we are defined by these things.
Let it go, Sis. You are worth so much more than a new weave or Michael Kors bag, or even a new car or house. None of that will make you happy if you don’t have a personal sense of peace and fulfillment, and you can’t buy those things.
4. – Holding on to idealized memories of the past
There’s a saying that I like – it states “The reason people find it so hard be happy is that they remember the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.” And it’s the truth. We often tend to romanticize feelings from the past and remember yesterday as better than it actually was. It’s the reason that we go back to exes, even though we had perfectly valid reasons for breaking up with them in the first place. It’s the reason we decide to move back to places we once lived, even though at one point we couldn’t wait to get out of there. Similarly, we tend to get caught up in the things that don’t make us happy about our present situation and it distracts us from the wonderful things we have going on in our lives.
One of the best things that we can do for ourselves is to learn to live in the moment. Yesterday, no matter how good or bad it seems, is gone, and there is no point in wasting time worrying about a tomorrow that isn’t promised to us anyway. Let go of whatever is holding you back, Sis, and focus on what is real in the here and now. Love your life today and try not to get so attached to things gone by.
5. – Settling for “good enough”
So many of us navigate through each day settling for mediocrity. We have decent jobs, decent relationships, decent lives… but none of that ever leads to the freedom and gratification associated with being truly happy.
Sis, you deserve the best. You deserve to have everything that you’ve ever wanted out of life. But you will not get there if you settle for just “good enough”. Good is the enemy of greatness – and in order to achieve the greatness that you desire, you must first let go of the safety associated with being “good enough” at life.
Be brave enough to go for what you want. You future self will thank you for it.
In love and solidarity –