You’re going through your life, but you feel like you’re not living for yourself. How is that possible?
There are many possible answers — societal conditions, family pressure, media influence, and so on. Maybe they’ve all created this ideal of what a perfect human living the perfect life should look like.
But is it your perfect life?
Have you ever paused, taken a deep breath, and really connected with the image of the life you most desire? Does it feel exciting? Do you feel alive?
The wonderful news is that you can create that reality.
What Does It Mean to Live for Yourself?
A life you’re passionate about living, one that you’re proud of, and one that you wouldn’t trade for anybody else’s — that’s what living for yourself means.
But does that mean it’s all rainbows and butterflies? No, because this would be an unfeasible reality built on happiness myths.
It does, however, mean that you go through your path with vulnerability, courage, and integrity. You take each step with a dose of self-love because you know you are the main reason you’re living for.
So is living for yourself the equivalent of being selfish or self-absorbed? In the truest sense of what it means to be authentic, no. Fortunately, it doesn’t equal selfishness.
Brené Brown, vulnerability advocate and researcher, goes along and sheds light on the concept of authenticity. What she found during her 12 years of research is that “to be authentic, we must cultivate the courage to be imperfect — and vulnerable.”
Am I Being Selfish?
This is a question that signals a higher level of self-awareness that a selfish person wouldn’t access. So to calm down the racing mind full of guilt and uncertainty, here is the main discrepancy between being selfish and living for yourself:
Living for yourself means connecting with the best version of who you are in order to live a fulfilling life that can enrich the experience of others around you. It’s like pouring your own cup first so you have enough to give out into the world.
On the other hand, being selfish is the kind of attitude where you’re only thinking of how much you can get for yourself, no matter how this will impact others.
Love with yourself is the beginning of your lifelong romance.— Oscar Wilde
Usually, common blockers people have when wanting to start living for themselves go as follows:
- Feeling unworthy: Most of the time, you forget your feelings are worth feeling. Many people avoid changing their lives because they don’t give much importance to the feelings of sadness, dissatisfaction, or disappointment they have towards their current one.
- Feeling guilty: Have you ever felt happy and in a place of self-acceptance and then, all of a sudden, a feeling of guilt overwhelmed your system? Oftentimes, guilt can creep in during times of happiness because of a limiting belief that runs in our society.
- Feeling afraid of being yourself: When it comes to being true to yourself, you might think that it’s common to be afraid of failure. What’s interesting to discover is that many people are afraid of how successful they could be when they live authentically.
Let’s look into actionable steps to overcome these blockages that are holding you away from the life you would die to be living.
4 Steps to Start Living For Yourself According to Mindvalley Experts
“You do you,” “You don’t ask permission to be yourself,” or “Go out there and live your best life” are all nice quotes about living life for yourself. However, do you actually understand what you should be doing?
It’d be like someone asking you to play piano and expecting you to do so, although you’ve never taken a single musical instrument class in your whole life.
So if you want to familiarize yourself with how to start living for yourself, here are some pro tips from Mindvalley experts.
1. Jon and Missy Butcher on the importance of having a life vision
Having a meaningful talk with Vishen on the Mindvalley podcast, Jon and Missy Butcher, creators of Mindvalley’s Lifebook Quest, underline the importance of having a life vision for all aspects of your life. They dismantle the belief that you can’t have it all and you have to choose where to succeed.
We’re often told in society that it’s not possible to perform in all the life aspects that have meaning to us. For example, we’re conditioned to believe that a devoted mom cannot have a successful career. Or maybe that one cannot meet the love of their life and have a dream job at the same time.
This is where this brilliant entrepreneurial couple reveals how putting in place a 360º life vision acts as a framework to help keep you on track with your day-to-day actions and decisions.
Nobody can help you get the life you want except for one person. Your life is yours.— Jon Butcher, trainer of Mindvalley’s Lifebook Quest
Jon and Missy Butcher created a life transformational method to bring balance to all the 12 areas of life they saw as relevant.
- Health and fitness
- Intellectual life
- Emotional life
- Love and relationships
- Social life
- Financial life
- Quality of life
- Life vision
2. Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani on taking off the masks and showing in authentically
The need for connection is one of the primal human needs and it has been since the beginning of time.
Back in the ancient world, when people were living in tribes, connection was an essential part of survival. If they were kicked out of the tribe and thrown into the wilderness, that meant death.
Fast forward to our present day, connection is still so instinctual and important. We still crave to connect, feel loved and seen, heard and taken care of, and that’s why we’re so afraid people won’t like us. To our primal brain, not connecting still means death.
As a result, we start putting on these masks. The paradox of masks — a topic Kristina Mӓnd-Lakhiani, co-founder of Mindvalley and trainer of Live By Your Own Rules Quest, brings up in her book, Becoming Flawsome — lies in the fact that we do this so that people like us. And the fewer masks we wear, the more genuine connections we’ll actually create.
Therefore, Kristina encourages us to show in authentically. What does that mean?
It’s all about authenticity. And authenticity is not something that we show to the world; it’s something that we show to ourselves. It’s being true to ourselves and understanding who we are, despite the uncertainty and despite how people may take us.
The moment you’re trying to show up authentic, you stop being authentic because it’s not about showing up but showing in.— Kristina Mӓnd-Lakhiani, trainer of Mindvalley’s Live By Your Own Rules Quest
So, at the beginning of your journey, reflect on the masks you’re wearing. Notice when you put them on. And notice what’s hidden behind them.
Sometimes it’s sufficient to observe and make that space to choose differently. Who knows, the more you observe, the more you might be likely to decide to respond with authenticity.
And to show in.
3. Cara Alwill on choosing yourself and trusting your gut
Cara Alwill, a New York City-based entrepreneur and guest on the Mindvalley podcast, empowers women to become what she beautifully calls “wildly effervescent” and dare to choose themselves first.
As she goes on to explain, women are by nature incredibly nurturing and instinctually want to take care of the people around them. That’s a lovely trait of the feminine kind, but the problem occurs when women start asking for permission to be happy.
Blaze your own glittery, sparkly, fiery, shimmering path. Surround yourself with the things that make you shine. Create your bubble and thrive in it.— Cara Alwill, women coach and bestselling author of Sparkle: The Girl’s Guide to Living a Deliciously Dazzling, Wildly Effervescent, Kick-Ass Life
So often, women think of themselves as having to nurture everyone and everything but forget to give that nurture to themselves first. And a feeling of guilt arises when they’d like to do something that fulfills their own needs.
With the mentality of living for yourself and not being selfish, Cara encourages women to slowly but surely, make choices for themselves first and lean into their intuition. One quality of feminine energy is being able to go with the flow and receive life’s wisdom with grace and ease. So why not use the maximum potential out of it?
4. Anil Seth on noticing the continuous change and believing in the process
Invited on the Mindvalley podcast, Anil Seth talks about a psychological phenomenon called change blindness, which occurs when there are very slight changes in two different sequences. The change is there, but people watching it would probably never notice the difference.
Anil is a Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex and the author of the bestselling book Being You: A New Science of Consciousness.
He’s been researching the mechanisms of consciousness for human beings for many years and he underlines its importance in the process of living a life for yourself.
The change blindness applies to our sense of self as well. It’s like looking into the mirror every day and not noticing that we’re aging, but that doesn’t matter the process isn’t taking place.
Experience of changing our sense of self does happen, but because it happens slightly we never experience the change happening.— Anil Seth, bestselling author of Being You: A New Science of Consciousness
So, you maybe already started taking steps to live a life for yourself. And there are moments of doubt that you’re not making any progress, and there’s no purpose in continuing this journey of living authentically you. In those moments of struggle, just remember how even the slightest changes are a crucial part of the process.
And when you look back at your life five years from now, everything will seem to be so much different than the place you started at.
It’s Your Life, Now or Never
Living a life for yourself is easier said than done, and we get it. But maybe you’ve already taken the first step and decided you’re going to do it no matter what.
And if you need some extra guidance on your journey, Mindvalley is the place to be. No matter which area of your life you’d like to spark up at the beginning of your transformation, you can find the tools to do so through the Mindvalley membership.
What is more, for an overall shift in perspective on how to start living for yourself, you can begin with Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani’s new book, Becoming Flawesome: The Key to Living an Imperfectly Authentic Life.
The magic is about to start. Sounds exciting? Welcome in.