There was a time when I was sleep-walking through life.
I just did things that I was “supposed” to do to be the person I was “supposed” to be.
I allowed expectations from others to be my guide.
When people expected, I delivered. When there was a behavioral box, I fit into it.
I was everyone else in my life.
I hated my life. I hated myself. There were things that I wanted to do, but they were not found in my box, and they weren’t the behavior that was expected.
I lacked energy, zeal, excitement, passion for life.
I just woke up, did as I was expected within my social circle, then went to sleep.
Bound and limited by my own lack of appreciation for myself.
Over time I slowly burned out. Like a hot fire that eventually loses heat when it is not stoked, a fire that is not managed, my fire slowly died, slowly faded away.
Once my fire was gone, I felt that it would never come back. I felt that the box in which I lived had lost its oxygen, and there was no more oxygen available.
The box I fit myself inside had smothered me. My box had suffocated me.
I caused my own fate.
There are things in my life that I have always enjoyed doing. I often found a reason why I could not do them – because I needed to sacrifice for the greater good…
…for my family, for my work, and because it was selfish of me to do things that made me happy.
And I suffocated myself.
Once my fire was near extinguished, I found that the only way to reignite my fire was to do the simple things that my spirit enjoys.
This is not a huge revelation, I know.
But I first had to develop an appreciation for my uniqueness, for my purpose, for my own worth and value.
I had to appreciate me.
I had never appreciated me.
Once I decided to appreciate me, and practice self-care, I found my fire begin to burn a little hotter.
Then little by little, I added more activities I enjoyed, that made me feel alive, healthier, more worthy, more valuable.
I actually began to feel like an equal member of humanity again.
I cannot overstate the importance of ignoring others’ expectations of you, of trying to fit in an arbitrary box created by society.
There is no oxygen in that box.
You will smother in that box.
You are built perfectly imperfect, to only be you.
You know what you enjoy, what fuels your spirit. You know what energizes you. You know what makes your fire burn hotter.
So do it. Do them. Do them all, all the time.
Once you decide to be yourself, people who once saw you inside your box will appreciate your newfound outlook on life, your energy, your drive…
…your fire. Your passion for you.
The people who deserve you in their lives deserve the very best version of you…and the best of you is not found within others’ expectations of you.
Ignore judgment. Ignore the past. Ignore anyone who attempts to hold you back from living life on your terms.
They do not feel that they can live on their terms. Their jealousy will cause them to attempt to hold you back. Push through until they see your passion.
Maybe your passion will inspire change in them. Be the example.
Do not allow others to hold you back. Allow them to tend their fire while you tend to yours.
Just burn brightly. Continue to add fuel to your fire until others need to look away. Burn hotter each day by simply being you.
Unleash yourself. Only you can.
Follow your happiness compass. You have one.
It might need to be tapped a little to allow the needle to become unstuck, but your compass is there.
I have witnessed someone get lit up by an idea, only to have friends or family extinguish the spark.
No one can feel what YOU feel.
Find your happiness, and prosperity will follow.
Just be you, and the world will take notice.
I spent 43 years trying to be who I am not. And I will say that the 1 year of being me has been more rewarding than those first 43 combined.
You were designed to burn hot. The only way to do so is to fully appreciate you, your strengths, your talents, and those things your spirit craves which make you burn hotter.
Do them. Abundantly. Allow no one to decide for you.
Just be you, and your world will open in ways unimaginable.
Just by being you. What can be easier than that?
Today, I encourage you to be you. The life you want can only be found by aligning with your true nature, how you were designed, who you are, and deciding who you want to become.
Allow no one to hold you back. Do not allow yourself to hold you back.
You are worthy and deserving of your desires, and you deserve to burn hotter and hotter each day.
Start today. Add a log. Add two. Add three. Live your dreams.
Live your dreams, and cheer on others who are living theirs.
A single decision separates who you are, and who you really desire to be.
Make that decision, and watch the fire burn brighter.
A single spark causes a bonfire within.
Ignite that spark.
The purposeful spark.