It's All About Perception: Why You Should Change Your Idea Of How Life Is Supposed To Be

by Mel W.

We all have individual goals and aspirations that we want to achieve at different points in our lives.

We each have certain milestones we expect to happen by a certain age; by the time we turn 18, we expect to graduate high school, go to college and have a degree by age 22.

Some of us also have a set picture in our minds of what our lives should look like.

For example, many want to travel before settling down. There’s a timetable for success, and it’s assumed that we maintain a good state of health. We expect to date and marry someone only if he or she has “X” common interests, makes “X” amount of money or comes from “X” cultural background. We also hope to live in “X” neighborhood and have “X” lifestyle. All we have to do next is take the necessary actions, and voila! All will fall into place… right?

Despite our best efforts, sometimes life doesn’t always go as anticipated and opportunities just don’t present themselves. When we feel defeated and powerless, it’s because we are thinking in “shoulds,” “musts” or “have tos.” For example, “I SHOULD have graduated by now”; “I MUST be thinner”; “I HAVE TO date someone who likes the same music as I do.”

As if we don’t get enough pressure from society to be a certain way, we place extra pressure on ourselves to make complete that image in our heads.

Did you ever realize how powerful our thoughts are and how much they influence our behaviors and emotions? For example, if you feel well prepared for an interview, you exude an aura of confidence. If you believe your peers do not accept you, then you may feel miserable and alienated. Your mindset is so crucial in how you perceive the world around you.

It’s pertinent to have an easygoing disposition because we have no idea what the future holds. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict it. Sometimes, surrendering to the unknown is our only option. Embarking on new territory can be frightening, but also freeing. We don’t always have control over what will happen to us or who will impact our lives, and that’s okay!

There are a million unexpected possibilities regarding what could go wrong. Perhaps a family member gets ill, there’s an unexpected pregnancy, you get cheated on, or you find yourself struggling to make ends meet between paychecks. We all have experienced some type of obstacle or setback. Though these events may not be what you had predicted for your life, there is no use in feeling dejected or immobilized by them.

Imagine if you were able to be more flexible in your thinking. What if you changed that picture in your mind?

“It would have been great if I could have finished school, but I had other priorities to take care of and that’s okay.”

See how much pressure that relieves?

“It would be nice if I were in a relationship, but I am okay being single for now.”

Once you change your thoughts, you’ll start to behave differently and your mindset becomes much less rigid. Maybe now, you’re less anxious or less depressed.

Though letting go of the idea of what you thought things would be is intimidating, there’s no proof that your original assumptions about life would pan out, anyway. Who knows; the harsh realities of situations could lead to better circumstances and be more rewarding than your original dream.

Changing the picture in your head isn’t settling or lowering your standards; it’s cutting yourself some slack, rolling with the punches and being okay with plan B. It’s opening yourself up to a world of opportunity you never knew existed.

When you stop thinking in a limiting and self-defeating manner, you can have a totally different life -- not the one you necessarily intended to have, but a different, awesome one. Consider changing the image in your head. Open your life up to new possibilities. Be flexible. Enjoy.

Remember, “What screws us up the most in life is the picture in our head of what it's supposed to be.”

Photo via We Heart It