How the influences around us can hold us back.
How often within the start of the conversation does someone ask where do you work, what do you do, where do you go to school?
It’s almost automatic. We were taught to create filters and put people into boxes based on how we particular ways to value each other.
I’m certainly guilty myself after meeting someone going directly to their Instagram or LinkedIn to categorize them based off the checklist in my head.
It starts to feel like we care more about what we look like on paper rather than who they truly are. At least for me, I’ve always been trying to fit a narrative that doesn’t actually define me: work a ‘good’ job, live in a popular city, have a lot of followers on social media, go out a lot, and so forth.
I’ve realized that so much of what I end up doing is just to fit in rather than genuinely doing what I want. And that’s frustrating.
Except it’s hard to just tune out the world and live for myself- especially when I’m surrounded by friends, family, and role models also chasing similar narratives driven by money and power.
And it sometimes even feels safer to just play the game rather than challenge it. I am ‘winning’ to some extent- I have an awesome job, live in a cool city, and am gaining financial stability. To the standard in my head, I’m doing everything I need to be ‘happy’.
But what about all the other parts of me I’ve sacrificed along the way like writing, traveling, and wanting to have an impact on others? There’s a constant battle in my head of wanting to live more for myself vs. an internal need to do what’s most recognized and validated by others.
Except the more I chase these goals to fit in, the further I’m pushing myself away from who I really want to be. I realized that if I want to genuinely be fulfilled, I need to work on detaching from the narratives that are running my life.
And they’re everywhere- the people we talk to, where we live, and the time we spend on screens. We fill our days with so many distractions that are constantly telling us to be something that we’re not and value things we don’t.
It’s hard to not let them get to my head. Instead of shutting off to these influences entirely, I’m learning to better co-exist with differing goals and values by having more confidence in my own.
I like to think of it as being my own best friend- encouraging myself to live through my values even if that means facing rejection, uncertainty, and other anxieties that typically hold me back.
I’m recognizing that life is a lot more fulfilling when I live for myself rather than for others. When I am able to shift to this mindset, I get a lot better at asking myself what do I want to do? And that’s when I start to see life as a sandbox of opportunities rather than a constant pressure to “keep up”.
And it’s still certainly a work in progress for me. I’m definitely still not great with rejection and second guess myself, but life has become a whole lot more fun since I’ve decided to stop trying to play the game.
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