Life events and circumstances have a way of catapulting us into adulthood whether we’re ready or not. And before we know it, adulting has us going through the motions, putting ourselves and our dreams on the backburner.
In an OWN podcast episode, from The Oprah Winfrey Show, titled Uncovering Your Authentic Self, Dr. Phil calls it “dancing for the world, or for someone else,” which is the idea that we are expected to do and be what society wants us to do and be, despite our authentic self. We get caught up going through the motions, being sheep and falling in line, not doing the things that we want to do and what’s at the core of who we are – our gifts, skills, and joys. But luckily, we don’t ever have to stay stuck, and can find our way back to our core.
Dr. Phil believes we all have a best and highest version of ourselves, and we should be living this version regardless of circumstances. Because you can’t give what you don’t have, and as the saying goes, we can’t pour from an empty cup.
Restoring our authentic self doesn't have to be a huge life-altering event - small steps are enough too. Many times, getting back to what matters is simply about setting boundaries. Say no when you don’t want to do something and yes when we desire.
Also, consider breaking up your routine. Structure may be useful, but it's also a place to hide or restrict us from potential and possibility. Mix it up with new people and activities that add a little razzle dazzle. Indulge in art. Check out a new restaurant for lunch. Have a dance party in the house to shake things up a bit. Small changes or additions to your routine allow you to be more present, allowing you to make room for new experiences, inspiration and creativity.
You can also reclaim your identity by restoring your passions, values, and goals. Write out your goals, categorizing by short-term (daily, weekly, quarterly) versus long-term (yearly). Think about the dreams you had without fear- the things that bring joy. Get back to that fearlessness. And don’t forget small steps forward are still progress.
We can restore ourselves by getting back to what we love doing and finding ways to recreate the joys in our lives. This is not about becoming a new version of yourself – it’s about getting back to who you were before the fear, the career, the relationship or the kids. With intention and self-reflection, it is possible to find your way back home – to you.
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