In an ideal world, you would be able to live every moment of your life in a way that brings you joy. You might not have to answer to a boss and the requirements of a 9 to 5 job. You might get to spend all the quality time you want with your family, travel the world year round, or devote your efforts to giving back to the community.
But living this way simply is not a possibility one hundred percent of the time. You have obligations to work and family. Then there are outside factors like the coronavirus pandemic. For the most part, these factors are out of your control. Yet when we are told that living life on our own terms is the best way to achieve happiness and success, how can we learn to tolerate the moments when that isn’t possible?
How to Begin Accepting What You Cannot Change
Knowing how to take charge of your life and live on your terms is a valuable skill. To do it authentically, you will need to self-reflect, set goals, and sometimes make tough choices.
If you try to live every part of your life this way, however, you will start to find yourself worried or stressed when something comes up that changes your plans. You may experience a sense of failure or resentment when you are forced to live on someone else’s terms for a while.
This then becomes another essential skill in living on your own terms – learning to embrace the moments where that is not a possibility. In those times of your life, it is important to:
- Take Stock of What You Can Control – In situations that are not in line with your own goals or wants, look for what you do have a say in and focus on those.
- Practice Gratitude – Taking a few minutes everyday to name a few things you are thankful for gives you a more positive outlook.
- Stay in the Present – Goals and future plans are important, but not at the expense of your current happiness. From gratitude to enjoying daily experiences, this is another reminder that there are reasons to be happy.
- Determine What Is Most Important – Instead of trying to live every part of your life on your terms, set goals for the parts that are most important to you, then let the other aspects go.
Finding that balance between living the way you want to and meeting others’ expectations for yourself requires practice, and many people use therapy to help them determine the right balance. A clinical psychologist can share skills and guide you to discovering your own meaning in life.