I used to cry myself to sleep every night. I walked around the cold city of Chicago feeling lifeless, numb and bored with life. At night the tears would always aggressively creep back in and rock me to sleep. I would obsess over my day, and feel tremendous guilt and anxiety tied to my eating disorders, drug addictions, poor choices in men, and misery about staying in a job I hated. I would do whatever I could to avoid the sinking feeling that I hated my life.
My doctor diagnosed me with clinical depression and gave me a prescription. As I opened the door to the pharmacy a mental wall pushed me back. It was as if a force field prevented me from filling the prescription. As I looked down at the scribbled piece of paper, I had an epiphany. My inner voice said, "This isn't you; you don't need drugs to feel better. Just follow your heart." That moment was the turning point of my life. I ripped up the prescription, and at the same time made a promise to myself to always follow my heart and stop making excuses for being unhappy.
Up to that point, fear was controlling my life. Once I looked at my fears directly, I could see they weren't real. I immediately broke up with my bad romance, quit the addictions, and left my fancy corporate job in advertising to move closer to my family.
Today my life is much different than that of the depressed girl. Today I'm happy, healthy and in love with life and with myself.
I started to reflect on the key differences between my life today and how it was then. What I’ve seen is that it comes back to my habits and daily choices. Life is too short to stay at war with ourselves, and the longer we make excuses and allow ourselves to stay stuck in our bad habits, the shorter our lives will become.
If you were to take a mental field trip and visit your future self, the one who's no longer struggling with the situation that is currently causing you the most stress, what advice would he or she give you?
I asked myself this same question, and in reflecting on my own life I can't help to wonder whether, if I’d asked these six questions several years ago, I would have been happier sooner.
1. Are you giving more faith to your fears than your dreams?
Leaning into love is the fastest way to manifest your dream life. Believe in yourself and the power of your dreams. Recognize that fear is a manifestation of insecurity and worry. It doesn't need to control your actions.
2. Are you settling?
Look at every area of your life — your relationships, your career, your financial situation, your health, your environment — and identify any areas where you're settling. Your future self wants you to take action today to disrupt the habit of settling. You deserve better for yourself, and you need to trust the big picture.
3. Are you listening to your body?
Your body is the greatest tool for assessing your inner happiness and health. If you bulldoze over your feelings, you could miss the opportunity for grace and authentic happiness. Your body will tell you when you're hungry or tired, and when it's time to relax or else get out and move and sweat. Learning to listen to your beautiful body and accept it for its uniqueness will help you feel more peace.
4. Are you your own best friend?
Listening to the advice of others and ignoring your own inner guidance can keep you feeling stuck in life. Learn to trust your heart and become your own best friend.
5. Are you accepting others, including yourself, for who they are — not who you want them to be?
Many of us try to change people, or to change things in the world that don't fit or make sense to us. Instead of spending so much time focusing on what isn't working, turn inward and ask how you can improve yourself. Are you being kind and compassionate to your own self? Be gentle with this process; accepting people for who they are will help you achieve lasting inner peace.
6. Are you enjoying the journey and releasing your expectations of the destination?
The magic is in this moment; let your goals drive you, but do not let them define you. The journey is where the fun is, so give yourself time to be present in this moment because this moment is all we will ever have.
If you want more inspiration download this FREE guide on how to Love Your Life To The Fullest.