Last weekend we took a trip to Ras Al Khaimah. On the way, I saw sand dunes and the magic of the desert. I was immediately reminded of my sister’s trip to the Thar desert. It was a thrilling driving expedition, full of adrenaline rush. This leisurely drive and stay at a fancy hotel was my desert expedition. It got me thinking about why we need to do things our own way and how the experience can be liberating.
Why is it that we seek“perfect” advice from others rather than trusting ourselves and finding a way that is right for us? I think we do this because we’ve been told that other people know better, that they have the expertise and have it all figured out. We haven’t been taught to listen to ourselves and because of that, we lack the confidence to trust ourselves. We place so much value on reading self-help books and following “influencers” that we have forgotten how to tap into our own intuition. My take is this: Learn to value yourself. Do it your way.
I’m not saying ignore what others have to say. Of course, there is value in seeking support and ideas. But, trusting others more than ourselves only feeds our insecurities and feelings of failure. We all have heard of the best way to eat, drink, morning routine, meditate and the list goes on. What works for one doesn’t have to work for the other. And just because it is not working for you, you don’t have to feel like a failure.
I realized that when I tried to do a task based on someone else's idea, I didn’t enjoy it. Because I didn’t enjoy it, it was hard for me to stay motivated. The lack of motivation made me stop and that led to feelings of failure.
We need to start designing a plan that works for us and meets our needs! Take the parts from the expert that fit you, leave out what doesn’t. Adapt and modify as you go. For me, this has become what I call intuitive self-care. Every morning when I wake up, I check what I need. I have a “menu” of options that I’ve created to choose from and I meet my daily morning needs rather than sticking to a schedule that was created by an “expert”.
Don't try to suppress what truly makes you happy. You can certainly work to become the best possible version of yourself, but don't waste energy trying to become someone else. You likely aren't finding your way in complete isolation. Think about who you're spending your time with, and consider how they might be impacting your purpose. If you structure your days around people who are active and inspiring, then you may find it easier to engage and connect with meaningful work. Surround yourself with people who help you grow.
Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are not here forever. So live life to the full every minute of every day. Do what you have to, now. There are only so many tomorrows.
Don’t live by someone else’s master plan and standards. Why follow or be part of a crowd when you can chart your own way?
- Shilpa Bhasin Mehra is a legal consultant based in Dubai
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