As you grow older, life moves faster. Before you know it, you'll be looking back on all the people you met, the crazy things you did, and the choices you made. No one wants to look back on life with regrets, and the best way to prevent it from happening is to pay attention to what you feel, think, and do.
Psychologists Daniel T. Gilbert and Matthew Killingsworth claim that "almost half the time we operate on automatic pilot, unconscious of what we are doing or how we feel, as our mind wanders to somewhere else other than here and now."
Psychologist Tasha Eurich said: "When we are self-aware, we’re happier, we make better decisions at work and at home, we raise more mature children."
She goes on: "When we don’t have a clear understanding of who we are, we tend to make choices that aren’t in our best interest. We go for things that we’re not going to succeed at, or a path that we’re not suited for."
One way to solve this and start to become more of who we are, is to ask ourselves the hard questions. If knowledge is power, self-knowledge can transform us. Sit down with a journal and ask yourself these questions:
1. What would I do if I wasn't afraid of what other people thought?
Chances are, there's something you've always wanted to do but held back because of shyness. Maybe you have an amazing voice and would love to take the stage on karaoke night. Maybe you've dreamed of opening your own board game cafe, but didn't want to give up your stable 9-5 job. Whatever it is, think about what you want and why you want it.
2. Who do I love spending time with?
Most people are in a rut of working, sleeping, eating, and repeating. Whoever conveniently fits into this life are automatically our "friends." But do you really enjoy those people? Ask yourself what you want in a friend and go find them.
3. Do I need to forgive someone?
Oftentimes, we're holding onto resentment we don't even realize is there. The next time you feel angry towards someone, stop and think about why you're so angry. Was there something deeper that happened that doesn't directly have to do with the hurt they caused you? Even if you don't feel like forgiving, choose to do so for your own sake.
4. Do I treat myself with kindness and respect?
Take a guess how many negative things you say to yourself every day. "Why did you do that?" and "That was a dumb thing to say" should be stricken from your vocabulary. Over time, negative self-talk can turn into an emotionally abusive relationship with yourself. Fix it now.
5. Am I trying to please other people or do I follow my inner guidance?
A friend asks for your help. You're feeling exhausted and emotionally spent, but you don't want to let them down, so you say yes. Nobody likes disappointing a friend, but you have to be a friend to yourself too.
Reflect on your likes and dislikes; the things you are capable of and the things that would cost you something important, such as your health. Are you saying "yes"
Go to the next page for more life-changing questions!
6. Do I mostly act out of love or fear?
A good indication of how you live your life is how your mornings go. If you wake up out of a nightmare in a dead panic, you'll want to change something about your morning routine. The bottom line is, if you find yourself worrying and being anxious most of the time, you're probably not being patient with yourself or other people.
7. What can I do today to help someone else?
We're not meant to go about our days with our heads down. Pay attention to what's happening around you. Maybe the woman in front of you in line forgot her wallet and can't pay for her coffee. Offer to buy it for her. Both of you will leave feeling better about life.
8. What emotions am I afraid to show?
Everyone you've met feels tired, sad, and weak sometimes. You don't have to be on top of your game every day, and it's okay to tell people you're struggling. The quickest way to work through negative emotions is to admit them. As soon as they're outside your head, you'll be able to release them faster.
9. When did I last do something for myself?
Your kids, hubby, or mom need you. We get it. But you won't be able to take care of anyone else if you're burnt out. If you feel like things are moving too fast for you to keep up, they probably are. Treat yourself to a spa day, a mini getaway to the cottage, or a glass of your favorite wine.
10. Am I living the life I want to be living?
What have you always wanted to do with your life? Did you see yourself living in the country, becoming a doctor, or traveling the world? If you're not living a life you're passionate about, write down the things you want, and make it happen.
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