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How to live a life you love

Camilla Hallstrom

Doubt is everywhere, isn’t it? People around you expect you to live your life in a certain way. Go to a good school, get a job that pays a comfortable salary, buy a house. And if you don’t? If you break the norm and live life differently? Whether that’s driving around the country in an RV, becoming a full-time yoga teacher in the Himalayas, or starting a passion project…

Let’s put it this way. You will see a lot of raised eyebrows and hear a lot of surprised questions and doubtful side-remarks. Comments like: “Why would you want anything other than what you already have? Don’t be so ungrateful.” “There is no way that will work out.” “Are you sure this is the best thing to do? Wouldn’t it be better to just stick to where you are now and see how it pans out?”

Those doubtful words (and many like them), are taken to heart. You tend to subconsciously start believing them and create what in psychology is known as a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you believe something about yourself, that influences what you do and, consequently, your results. If you internalise what others say about your choices, you won’t believe you can succeed. And that means you won’t because you’ll never even get started. But here is the good news. You can get past all that doubt. You can find the courage you have within you to not only take a step forward but also to live life fully without looking back. Here’s how:

Find positive examples around you

Think about someone who has succeeded at what you want to do – someone with a similar background, resources, skills, etc, or even fewer advantages. If they have succeeded, why couldn’t you? If someone else has done it, you likely can, too.

While, yes, the people around you might not understand how you can succeed, it’s enough that you do. Stay confident and focused whenever someone tells you me (or hints) that you should give up on your dream.

Send love and light to everyone around you

In ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, Liz Gilbert gets the following advice to get over David, her ex: “Send him some love and light every time you think about him, then drop it.”

One of the biggest insights I had was that people don’t doubt us because they want to hurt us. No. Instead, they’re probably concerned about us. After all, if all their life they have only seen one thing work, it’s hard to see past anything but that way of life. Or maybe they’re projecting their own fears and insecurities on us. The thing is: We love security above almost anything else. If you defy that security, it makes you odd.

So when they doubt you, it tells you nothing about your own abilities, but everything about their own fears and insecurities. However, their words can have a purpose. Maybe it’s to shatter your ego a bit so that you can come out of it stronger. Or it’s to give you a few bumps along the way so that you won’t get comfortable and take things for granted. Whatever it is, use the advice that helped Liz live in peace to get past their words. Send them love and light, then drop it.

Words don’t define you. You do

Here’s the thing. Other people’s words define you only if you let them. At the end of the day, you create your own reality. Words are just words. You might say someone is “too straightforward,” but someone else might be appreciative of that person’s honesty. This will help in moving past all the doubt. Yes, there were people expressing their subjective reality. For example, if someone told you that you are “too emotional,” that doesn’t mean that you are too emotional or that being emotional is even a bad thing. That’s just their perception based on their unique set of beliefs, experiences, and projections.

So how do you remind yourself of what a miracle worker you are? Write down all the things you appreciate about yourself. They could be qualities you like or nice things others have said about you. Every morning, look at that list. Someone that awesome has a high chance of succeeding with whatever they choose to do, right? Or at the very least, that person will learn, grow, and have one hell of an adventure.

Become that supportive person you want in your life

If you’ve been allowing doubters to hold you back, it’s time to start letting supportive people into your life. People who cheer you on and make you believe you can do everything you want to do, and more. Well, it can all start with you. When you offer encouraging words to others, you begin attracting people who gave appreciation back.

Practice these new mindset shifts daily. Soon enough, you will find that courage you have within you to live life exactly the way you want to live it.


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