Do you see it as a constant string of responsibilities or as a plethora of opportunity? Do you feel crushed by the weight of it or enthralled by its wonders?
Most people walk through life with constant fears, doubts and a mindset of scarcity. They are afraid of losing their job, being lonely, failing, not knowing what the future holds, conflicts, embarrassments, making difficult decisions, being rejected and maybe even being successful.
That’s why people stay in bad relationships, soul-sucking jobs or never stand up for themselves. Basically, they’re terrified of life.
I used to be that way. Heck, I was raised this way. My parents brought me up to fear the looming future that was going to be darker than you could possibly imagine. Life seemed anything but grand and I was not particularly looking forward to living it.
I believed I was never good enough, the world was a competitive and harsh place and I’d have to fight an endless battle trying to get my tiny share of money, love and justice.
I went through school making straight As, skipping a class, thriving in every way, but still always terrified of failing. Teachers fueled my worries with the repeated mention that our grades would determine our future. I believed them. I knew I was going to have a job I loathed or at best tolerated but at least I would make good money in order to secure myself a safe spot in this horrible world of insecurity.
Well, that was until I completely lost it, dropped out of school because of a major depression and my raging eating disorder. Saying that I went through a huge identity crisis is an understatement. Life was so oppressive at this point that suicide seemed like my only option to find relief.
When that didn’t work out, I realized that dropping to such a low place gave me the chance to completely rebuild my future and evaluate what life is really all about.
It took me another 7 years or so to completely get it together, but those years of glueing the pieces of my life into a new shape were more rewarding than I can describe. Difficult, but necessary. I learned so many lessons, had so many eye-opening moments and realizations and I am sure that I will draw from them for a long time.
One of the biggest accomplishments for me was to let go off this notion that life is solely about paying the bills, having responsibilities and essentially going through the motions.
Sure, those things are part of it, but approaching every action and decision from this point of view limits your personal growth and overall life experience to a minimum. This is a mindset that is keeping people locked in one spot, functioning, but not living.
However, once you start seeing life as an adventure, everything changes. The possibilities and opportunities that unfold themselves in front of you seem endless.
The thrill of the unknown, of risks, of allowing yourself to fail knowing you’ll grow because of it is indescribable.
Once you stop taking everything so very seriously, seeing the world as your enemy and opportunities rare and hard to come by, you will feel your freedom, see the abundance and trust that you are and will be safe. You will see that there’s room for everybody to prosper.
You will believe in yourself and in your skills and you will put them to use for something meaningful and fun.
As so often, it takes a paradigm shift to fully grasp this principle of abundance, but once you do, it’s amazing how your view of the world and life changes.
I am glad I came to this realization. I have found a peace I never knew before and while I am confident that life will send me many surprises, challenges and obstacles, I know I will always be able to master them.
I am hoping you can come to the same conclusion whenever you’re ready to life to the full.
You owe it to yourself and you may even owe it to the world. After all, changing the way you look at life altogether may play a part in changing the world, even just a tiny little bit. I never thought I could do it, but here I am, helping men and women all over the world fight their eating disorders, body image issues and other areas in life. All because I started to believe, trust and hope that life, after all, is not a dance with a beast on a cliff, frightening and insecure, but a roller coaster with ups and downs and some loops, sometimes scary, but often fun. So, hop on that train with confidence and energy and get ready for, literally, the ride of your life.
Photo by Anne Puhlmann