In an effort to be our best self, most of us spend a considerable amount of time and energy doing everything that we can to maximize life. And, we should continue to do this throughout life. Yet, in doing so, it would be good practice to also reflect on how we might be limiting ourselves, and therefore minimizing life, even when we intend to do just the opposite.
For deeper reflection, consider the following points:
You limit your life by investing in toxic relationships: The investments that we make in our loved ones are some of the most rewarding investments we will ever make. Yet, quite often, we find ourselves investing in relationships that we find draining, rather than fulfilling. And no matter what the motivation is, be it a sense of obligation, guilt, fear, or the fulfillment of an unhealthy desire or need, these relationships do nothing but sabotage our happiness. So, rather than continuing to invest in unhealthy relationship patterns, choose instead to nurture those relationships that you find inspiring, enlightening, supportive and unconditional. Perhaps, begin with your relationship with yourself.
You limit your life by letting your past predict your future: Undoubtedly, things will happen in life that will be painful. And while some of these experiences may stay with us and shift our perspective in meaningful ways, they need not define nor confine us. So rather than allowing past hurts to shape our present and future moments in a negative way, we must take care to keep the past in its place, and if we can, transform it into something positive as we move forward.
You limit your life by comparing yourself to others: If you find yourself comparing yourself to others, stop. These comparisons are rarely an accurate portrayal of the big picture, and they rob you of your worth as a person. Instead, keep in mind that all people, regardless of outward appearances, have blessings and hardships, strengths and weaknesses.
You limit your life by desensitizing yourself: Most of us have a habit of “watering ourselves down” in some way or another because we fear the consequences of being ourselves unabashedly. We fear “what might happen” or “what people might think” if we say too much, express ourselves truly, feel too deeply, and live authentically. And really, as far as feelings go, this makes sense. Because to live authentically in such a way exposes who we are, which can feel extremely vulnerable. Yet, doing the contrary, and desensitizing yourselves to life does exactly the opposite, and prevents us from experiencing the rich depths an beautifully magical moments of life. So if and when you have feelings, have courage and own them. Do not harden yourself and resist life. Embrace, feel, and express. Find the strength in vulnerability and be human.
You limit your life by tolerating it. To merely tolerate life is to complacently settle for a mediocre life. When done strategically, this tolerance may have merit. But to live all of life in such a way is to limit life. Do not let this happen to you. Instead, go and do. Go and be. Go on, and live your extraordinary life.