I’ve been spending more time on Pinterest than I probably should be. And since I’m all about trying to build a life I love I always click through the living intentionally posts. But in my opinion the majority of the ones that I have read are totally missing the mark.
Because, let’s face it – living intentionally means something COMPLETELY different for every single person.
Living intentionally doesn’t mean you have to stop spending money, stop buying Starbucks, stop watching TV, become a minimalist, or stop doing anything else you enjoy doing. It’s not about becoming the most productive person you can be, living like a monk, or amassing a million dollars. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
It’s about living life on YOUR terms without worrying about what anyone else thinks. Living intentionally is about being true to yourself. It’s ignoring the fads and tuning out what people “think” you should be doing and instead doing the things that make the most sense for you and your family based on YOUR principles and values.
Over the past couple of years I’ve tried really hard to set my life up in the way that feels right for me. To do what I think is right and to do what I enjoy doing without worrying about the judgment of others.
And trust me, at times it’s hard.
And that’s because before you can live intentionally you first have to…………
Know and Accept Yourself
You can’t live intentionally until you really know and accept yourself for who you are.
It’s only natural to care what other people think. To want to feel accepted and loved. To change the way you act in group settings so that you fit in with the crowd that you want to fit in with.
And what really hurts is knowing that if you were true to yourself that you probably wouldn’t fit in with some of the people you want to fit in with.
I’ve been there. I’ve tried to fit in with people who were nothing like me and I succeeded. Then when I had a breakdown or spent one on one time with one of these people I quickly learned that my friendships were a lie. They held no real meaning.
It was a slap in the face and it stung.
But through all of this I’ve learned a powerful lesson. If you stay true to yourself, stand up for what you believe in, and do what you think is right for YOU, no matter how hard that may be, then people will learn to have more respect for you, you’ll have more respect for yourself, and you’ll naturally attract the right people.
You won’t have to defend your every decision or worry what your “friends” are saying behind your back. You’ll build relationships with the people who truly care about you and want you to do what’s right – regardless of what’s popular at the moment.
Don’t Label Yourself – You’re Not Just One Thing
You’re not just “Type A” or “Type B.” You’re not just a mother (or a father), or a hairdresser, or an accountant or anything else!
You’re a multifaceted person with multiple skills, hobbies, and interests.
When you box yourself into a group it’s sometimes hard to get out. You’re engraining self-limiting beliefs and holding yourself back from your true potential.
There’s always more than one side to a person. You have to dig deep and get to know yourself before you can really create that life that you love. ACCEPT who you are. Accept what you like doing and know that what’s fun for you might not be fun for the mainstream – it doesn’t need to be.
Your dreams are your own. Don’t get bogged down into what other people are doing. Don’t compare yourself to someone else. Don’t get caught up in someone else’s goals.
Look to others for inspiration and encouragement. Not self-comparison and jealousy. Because until you’ve walked a mile in someone else’s shoes you don’t understand that you probably wouldn’t want their life anyway.
You only have ONE short life to live. Don’t spend it wanting to be someone else.
I used to try and force myself into thinking that I wanted to travel just because that seems to be what everyone else likes to do. But now that I’m being honest with myself I HATE to travel. I’m not real fond of vacations. I enjoy where I’m at – out in the country.
Family is the most important thing to me and always will be.
A good time to me is hanging out with the girls, Jamie, and my brothers at my Dad’s pond reminiscing on old times, riding the Mule through the woods, and just letting loose. My favorite hobbies are fishing and target shooting.
Sometimes I can be uptight and sometimes I can be really fun. I’m even slightly immature when I hang out with my youngest brother. (Okay, maybe sometimes we can be really immature – it’s always in good fun though.)
But on the flipside I love business, I like competition, and I love to achieve. And if I’m going to be totally honest, I hate cooking. I still hate it when my girls go to their Dad’s and I miss them like crazy. I don’t think that feeling will ever go away.
I like the work I’m doing now but to be honest it’s not my biggest passion. My biggest passion is hands down my family. And the work I’m doing now allows me to schedule my work around my life – which is why I love it so much.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when people place judgement on others without understanding what they’ve went through. I desperately want to dispel the myth that majority of the people who are on government assistance are worthless. It couldn’t be farther from the truth. A few bad apples DO NOT spoil the whole bunch.
I’m grateful for the struggles I’ve had in my life because they’re ultimately what has made me who I am. And I am ready to fully embrace and be who I really am.
Ohhh and my dream is to someday buy a farmhouse. I want lots of land with woods where I can ride four wheelers, a pond I can fish in, and plenty of animals. (Chickens first!) I want to have a more “live off the land” lifestyle.
I love the country life through and through.
I can make lists and cross things off and get things done but I can also have fun. I am ambitious but very easy going. And I really want to be the person that the people I love can always lean on. I want to really be there for my family.
That’s me. Take it or leave it.
You’ve Gotta do the Work
Living intentionally isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. To build that life you love, one that brings you true happiness, and let’s you live with purpose has to be fought for.
You have to be willing to set goals and to actually work toward them. To really know yourself and to stop fighting who you are. To change paths when you realize you’re chasing the wrong thing. To schedule in time to spend with the people who are important to you.
Once you’ve got yourself figured out the rest comes easy. You can schedule your time around the things you love. You can set goals that bring you even further to being the person you want to be. You can use your time and money in a way that is intentional.
An Intentionality Exercise
Take out a sheet of paper or open up a Word Doc. First list everything that is truly important to you – what or who could you not imagine living life without, what are your biggest goals? Next make a list of everything that you truly enjoy doing, whether society deems those activities as “normal” or not. Then make a list of things you try to convince yourself to like, but you really don’t. (For me this was travel!) Lastly go through and make a list of all of the things that you absolutely hate doing but have to do anyway.
Now make a plan. How you can structure your time and spend your money in a way that allows you to a)keep what’s important close to your heart, b) allow you to do the things that really make you happy, and c) minimize the things that you hate doing.
Make a list of goals to pull you closer to living the life that you want to be living. Reaching those goals isn’t going to be easy but even small steps in the right direction will eventually get you to where you wanna go.
I promise if you just sit down and write about who you truly are, without thinking about what you’re writing, you’ll discover something new about yourself. I certainly did!
Do you try to live intentionally?
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