What is authentic living for you? I suspect that every person out there has a different discription of what is really "them" than I do. Afterall, if we all were meant to work from 9 to 5 in a desk job and eat a meat and potatoes dinner with a side of veggie everynight before watching the same show and turning in early for bed, the world would be a lot simpler and far, far less interesting. So, what is right for you? First let me tell you the things that are right for me, maybe it will get your wheels turning.
For starters I had to think, what thing make me proud to be me? I was stumped at first. Afterall I have spend several years fighting so hard to be someone that I am not, that I forgot that I was proud of myself. So, I took some time to think. What used to make me happy, what used to make me proud. I was a good cook and a baker, that was always a good feeling, making wonderful food for the people I care about. I love to write, when I was a teenager I was writing a book, and my friends would always beg me for the next chapter. Yep, that made me proud for sure, I felt like the book wrote itself but it still made me feel good that others loved the story so much. I love my artistic abilities, so that too had to play a part. I also love helping people, it makes the whole world a better place.
I now had somewhere to start. I opened an Etsy shop (I'll be posting a few of the first items later today.) I started blogging agian, with three different areas cover, since my interests are too wide to be easily summed up in one place. More than all of that I have started baking, in ernest again. The love of my life is allergic to wheat and I have begun to learn the art of gluten free baking. I also have taken a part-time nanny job to help make ends meet. It will be wonderful to work with a baby again, to watch another person come into themselves.
So, what have I given up to live a happier and less stressful life? I live on a tighter budget. Sometimes it stresses me out and sometimes I feel guilty that my love is picking up the slack now that I am the one of us making less money. The gains though are so much more than that though. I am happier, less stressed and better rested. My relationship is blossoming as I am remembering who I am and happier with myself. There are tough moments when you have to look at the vast differences between where you are heading and where you were heading and where you want to be ultimately in life.
If you want to be happier the answer is simple really. It won't happen over night and it will take work and commitment.
1.) First sit down with a pen and paper and in a quiet place. I want you to think about the things that made you happiest in life (sorry, the double fundge brownie ice cream doesn't count.) Do you like to cook for friends, or run, or walk in the park, or draw, or write, or learn new things. I want you to come up with at least three things that are now or have at some point been very special to you.
2.) Find a little time each week to pursue these things. Also consider, in what way can you use one of your passions to help the people around you or a cause you believe in. Work on a plan to do so.
3.) Each day do something to help someone you know (they don't have to know it was you helping them) and help one person you do know. This could be as simple as holding a door for a mom with a couple of little kids in tow or more involved, like mowing an ill neighbors lawn for them. When other people respond to your kindness you will start feeling proud of being the one to help them.
4.) This may sound silly to some people but keep your chin up, look people in the eye and smile as much as you can. You have nothing to hide for, be proud of yourself and share yourself with other.
This is only a small start but these little changes will help you start changing the way you see yourself and the way you see your world. It's not going to get you to a rainbows and butterflies existance but it will add a little sunshine to your average day.
So here's to you being you and embracing who you really are!