A few weeks ago, while attending a wake, I ran into a friend.
“I loved what you recently wrote,” she said. “And so-and-so told me it was true.”
I took the compliment, but internally my mind was reeling. Do people think I’d write something that wasn’t anything but real?
Yes, I quickly realized. Of course, people would think this. Why? Because we spend so much of our lives faking it.
Think about what you see on social media—people are having epic vacations, amazing holiday gatherings, and effortless Saturday mornings with their families. Each photo is perfectly posed and edited to make you believe you’re missing out on the fun or not pulled enough together to live such a life.
In full disclosure, there were a few years of my life that I faked. I faked both big things (love) and small things (pretending to care about a job that did nothing for me). I lived within the walls I thought I was supposed to live within. The life I thought other people expected out of me. Living according to rules others wrote. All of those chapters were filled with fake news.
Thankfully, I learned how to knock down those walls, care less about what others think, and write my own rules. Enter the most transformative years of my life.
A new year brings with it the hope of transformation. A belief that this is the year I will (fill in your own blank here). If you’re bold enough to stop faking things in your life that aren’t what you want and embrace the belief that you can create meaning, then I encourage you to explore one of the three ideas below.
Knock down walls and find a clean slate of possibility. Looking to shake things up in your life in the new year and don’t know where to start? Ask yourself this: What does a perfect day look like? Where do you wake up? Are you alone? Surrounded by loved ones? Do you exercise, meditate, drink a pot of coffee, sit in silence, or turn on some tunes? Do you go to an office? Work from a coffee shop? Work at home? How do you spend your evenings? Then ask yourself this: How does this perfect day align with my every day? What opportunities do I have to change what doesn’t feel authentic into something that does?
Kick worry to the curb. Many of my clients confide that they worry what others will think of the choices they wish to make. The truth is, when it comes to judgment, we are typically our toughest critics. We fool ourselves into worry—thinking if we worry long enough we will have an answer that will please everyone. But worry rarely makes the outcome better, because we haven’t stopped judging ourselves. Instead, try this: Remove your own judgment (or self-limiting belief), expect realistic outcomes (not extremes), and know that the people who matter most will want you to thrive. Eventually, you will kick more worries to the curb than you keep, and it will be exhilarating.
Write your own rules. This is a three-step process. First you need to know what rules you wish to create, edit, or delete. What is it you want? Second, you need to get comfortable—speak this new rule in front of the mirror, until you’ve bought into it. Third, communicate your new rule (intention or desire) so that others know where you’re looking to go, and they can support your efforts. Clarity on what it is you want breeds confidence. And confidence helps you break through fear that is holding you back from living according to your rules.
The truth is, living an authentic life is so much easier and more fulfilling than living a fake one. Is there an area in your life you’re ready to quit faking? Email me here, I’d love to support your efforts. Want to follow the ups and downs of my real life? Follow me on Instagram.
Here’s to 2018—and the good (real) life.