Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
— T. S. Eliot
Oprah has said that if you don’t know what is your life purpose and direction in life, you should go and figure it out before doing anything else. Without living intentionally, we’re like leaves drifted aimlessly by the wind. Without any specific direction, we go into a new day with the hope that it will be better than the day before.
It can be challenging to find the right balance between living intentionally and living on auto-pilot. More often than not, we tend to go from one extreme to another. Living without intention makes us feel empty, drained, and shallow.
While living intentionally brings all the colors into our life. We feel deeply grounded, inspired, and fulfilled. With every step, we take we know what the intention behind is, therefore, we exactly know what we want and what we don’t want.
Yet even living intentionally can become a doctrine and blind us. Anything that we follow blindly becomes our own highest judge. Let’s say that if you believe that being a vegan is the best choice then you must inevitably judge those who aren’t. Yet when we judge we become less happy because it goes against our very own nature which is love. Each time when we offset the balance (by judging), the excessive energy will manifest in our life.
A balanced way of living intentionally creates flow in your life. As a result, you feel very deeply purpose-driven and focus on meaningful things.
How does it feel like to live without an intention?
Before starting to bring more intention into your life, it’s good to start to look at your fears. Everyone has something that holds them back from doing what they love. Find what it is and face it.
Becoming aware of your own shadow parts is the only way how to find freedom to do what you love to do. So let’s look at some of the most common fears of living intentionally.
When you live more on auto-pilot, it’s natural to feel lost and even annoyed deep inside. The persistent irritation comes from the fact that you unconsciously know that you’re wasting time by doing unimportant things. Part of you feels trapped by all the responsibilities and to-do lists while another part wants you to start doing what you really want. This creates inner discomfort which subsequently penetrates all other areas of your life.
It’s difficult to change your life from day-to-day because it also influences those around you. For this reason, many people just don’t change and wait for their life circumstances to change by themselves. They give power over their lives and happiness into hands of someone else which makes them feel as victims. Although this kind of fear is understandable, there is a moment in everyone’s life, when they wake up and feel like it was enough of surviving, it’s time to truly live.
Sometimes you’re afraid that by bringing more intention into your life, you’ll lose the approval of others and perhaps also their love. More often than not this fear is unjustified and if this happens then what is the purpose of keeping those people in your life anyway?
The signs that you’re not living your life intentionally:
- you’re afraid to say no
- you’re afraid to say your real opinion because it could lead to conflict
- you don’t take an advantage of your free time and end up being busy
- you keep people in your life who don’t enrich you
- you don’t know what you really want to do as a career or business
- you wake up thinking; oh, another day …
- your schedule is full of duties and obligations
- you don’t smile often
- you feel like living your life for others rather than for yourself
These were just a few signs that you don’t live your life up to your own design. If you can identify with some of them, please, know that it’s fine. Your whole life is a journey, it’s not about a perfection. It’s only about how you feel on your own life journey. Do you feel happy and fulfilled? If so then I’m very happy for you. If not, what is holding you back?
5 Ways to living your life intentionally
- What do YOU want? Most of us want to, at least subconsciously, make our family happy by doing what they expect us to do. This can be smaller things like cleaning the house or bigger things like choosing a college and work up to their wish. Often our own desires are mixed with expectations and opinions of others that it a takes a time to get to what we really want. What would you want if you wouldn’t have to care about anyone else? Allow yourself to dream and dream big. Being honest is the first step to realizing what you want.
- Know your why. Look at the things you’re doing and ask yourself what is your why. Take one activity after another and keep yourself asking what is the intention until you get an honest answer. Let’s say that you wash dishes in order to not have a mess in your house. But maybe there is an even deeper underlying reason which is to relax your mind or to show love and appreciation to your family. When you know your deepest intention, it empowers you to either do it with more joy or do it less because you do it out of fear.
- What do you do out of obligation? Which activities do you do because you feel like you have to? Is there something that you could change in order to do less of these activities? Whenever we feel like we have to or should do something, we don’t give our hearts fully into it. Rather we do it with resentment and negative energy because we feel trapped somehow. Even though we might accomplish the task, others can feel our resentment and thus they don’t feel genuinely grateful for what we do.
- Find your flow. As I said earlier, any extreme upsets the balance and creates more chaos in our life. The most balanced way is to live in the flow. Finding your flow is pretty much an intuitive mission. Your intuition can provide you much more individualized information than your general reason. Learn to trust it. Bring more intention into your life without becoming its slave. The life should feel easy and spacious rather than restricted.
- Surrender the how. The most beautiful thing about life is that it’s really simple. We don’t need to spend our time figuring out every detail. It’s more about becoming a collaborator of the universe than forcing everything with our limited will. Not that you just save so much time but you’ll also find yourself in the field of more possibilities. The natural flow of life will take you to unknown places if you allow it.
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Originally published at medium.com