I’ve made many mistakes in my life. I’m not talking about “whoops, forgot my wallet at home / didn’t send a birthday card / overslept and missed my flight” type of mistakes. I’ve made BIG, life-altering decisions that were not at all what I truly wanted.
I married the wrong man for the wrong reasons. I moved to a new state that I had no interest in moving to. I neglected friends who were really important to me. I didn’t embrace my career until it was almost too late.
Today, I’m happy and, more importantly, fulfilled in all aspects of my life. But it was a hard road to till, especially with the many missteps I made throughout my journey. What saved me? Brutal honesty.
It’s simple: when you are honest with yourself, you can better work towards the life you truly dream of. When you are honest with yourself, you know what/who/where to say no AND what/who/where to embrace with open arms. When you know yourself fully, you can often avoid tragic mistakes and build a life you WANT to live. Doesn’t that sound awesome?
In my experience, most people aren’t very honest with what they want. It’s not that they are lying to others, more often they are lying to themselves. When my ex-husband said he wanted to move to California and be a stay-at-home dad and let me work, I said, “Yes!” because I just wanted to be married. But I didn’t actually want any of that.
And when I started a very exciting career as a professional athlete, I panicked when I compared my journey to that of my peers – those people getting corporate jobs right out of college and working their way up the ladder. I beat myself up for my choice to be non-traditional and didn’t appreciate the incredible opportunities I had as an athlete. Because I wasn’t honest with what I really wanted my life to look and feel like, I made mistakes, and suffered the consequences when I had to uproot my life and start over to find the fulfillment I really needed.
Being honest with yourself is a really hard process. You have to constantly check in with yourself; you have to hold your life to the highest standards (ones that you alone set); and, most of all, you have to learn to trust yourself when you make a decision and stick with it.
Here are a few little questions for you to ask yourself that will kick start the honesty process:
1. You had the most epically terrible day at work. You:
a. Go home to a bottle of wine and bitch to your boyfriend / roommate about how big of a dick your boss is.
b. Run, bike, or Pure Barre-off some your frustration.
c. Do your best Taylor Swift impression and just “Shake it Off“.
d. Sit in a dark room stuffing your face with takeout while googling, “Jobs for people who don’t suck“.
2. You have a hectic and busy work day ahead of you. Does this make you feel:
c. Energized and Inspired
d. Over it.
3. Write a list of your 5 biggest career goals. Prioritize them. Give them each a timeframe (i.e. 1 month, 2 years, 5 years, etc.). Then step back.
If you answered As and Ds and your list has NOTHING to do with your current career, can you really feel fulfilled professionally? If you answered Bs and Cs and your current trajectory is on point with your goals. Take a deep breath and swim on!
1. Your partner has massive success at work. This makes you feel:
a. Annoyed. Why does he/she get all the glory while you’re slaving away at your stupid job?
b. Thrilled. You know how hard he/she worked on this particular project!
c. Time to celebrate! You have the champs popped as soon as he/she walks in the door.
d. You put a smile on, but inside you’re a little insecure. What if this success means he/she is getting too awesome for you? Why does nothing great ever happen at your job?
2. After a quiet day of chores and housework at home, you look at the clock and realize it’s too late to do anything exciting. This makes you feel:
a. Bored. Why is our home life so boring?
b. Content. It’s nice to be able to have slow days once in awhile. Time to snuggle!
c. Happy. Those chores were piling up and with teamwork, it didn’t take that long!
d. Inadequate. My partner probably hates this quiet life. Let’s just have sex so he/she can get something fun out of this day!
3. When was the last time you were truly vulnerable with your partner? Like, pull out your most recent journal entry and read it aloud to them kind of vulnerable? Are there thoughts you find yourself censoring from them or saving to share with someone else?
If you answered As and Ds AND the thought of sharing raw feelings with your partner terrifies you, you might not be in the best situation for your heart AND soul. If you answered Bs and Cs AND find you can share all of yourself– the good, the bad, the ugly– with your person, enjoy your heart eye emoji’s!
1. You scroll through Instagram. Which thought goes through your mind first?
a. Fuck, that blogger’s life is perfection. And that one is so beautiful. And this one! I hate how awesome her family is. Ugh.
b. Hey, my college classmate is getting married! They are so cute together!
c. That shot of the Grand Canyon is giving me some wanderlust. Time to go outside and explore!
d. Why am I not Insta-famous? My life is so boring.
2. Your best friend invites you to your first yoga class. How do you feel when you walk in?
a. Terrified. The “yoga butt” myth is REAL and mine is more of a cupcakes-and-wine butt.
b. Excited. I’ve always wanted to try yoga!
c. Confident. My body might be more “casual runner”, but I like new challenges. Namaste!
d. Annoyed. These girls are omming and breathing and it’s stressing me out!
3. When was the last time you looked in the mirror and thought “Heck yes!“? How often do you incorporate healthy living practices into your routine and how often do you wake up feeling disgusting, exhausted, or cranky? When was the last time you felt really, really good?
If you answered As and Ds and you can’t remember the last time you gave yourself a self-love hug, then maybe you’re engaging in negative thinking a bit too much. If you answered Bs and Cs and you can distinctly remember a time recently when you felt confident, powerful, and pretty, then hooray! You’re cultivating the kind of lifestyle that feels good – and there’s nothing more fulfilling than that.
Obviously this quiz is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but you get the point. Make an effort every month, every quarter, every birthday . . . to check-in with yourself. Ask yourself the hard questions: are my job, my hobbies, my friendships, my sexual relationships, my relationship with myself, my goals, all what I really, REALLY want? What’s motivating me? Is it money? Is it status? Or do the things I do every day really make me feel good?
Be honest with yourself. I promise it’s the number one key to happiness!
Photo by Lisa Wiseman