Can I get real with you for a few minutes? Here's the situation. Lately, the phrase "living your best life" has been getting on my nerves. Every time I see it on social media or hear it in my apartment building, I cringe. My brain curls up in a ball, and sometimes I let out a huge, "Ugh!" The truth is, I know celebrating your #BestLife can be rewarding, and this trend is so inspiring. But I can't help but wonder if we're actually doing what's best for each of us in our own little worlds, or simply following along with the status quo. You might not even know how to tell if you're living your real life — well, yet.
What you do know is that, sometimes, the #BestLife trend sets the standards pretty high. You might see a new status update from a person you graduated high school with, announcing they're making some major career moves. You double-tap on multiple sponsored posts that are promoting beauty products, out-of-this-world excursions, and apartment decor that feel so out of your financial reach.
Sure, these posts mean well, but sometimes, you can't help but reflect on your own life. Your brain might rush to the "would have," "should have," and "could have," and you lose sight of what's really important. Do you know what that is? Spoiler alert: Your real, true, authentic, and genuine life.
What's your #RealLife? It's not just a hashtag.
Before we get into the signs and signals that you are, in fact, living your #RealLife, we need to define what your real life is. Is it your morning routine that's never complete without spilling your coffee, or cleaning your hair out of the shower drain? Is it waiting until the last-minute to pay rent, or the exhilarating feeling of taking your bra off and eating a slice of pizza after a long day? TBH, I think it just might be all of the above.
To keep it as simple and straightforward as possible, your real life is the one you're living behind the scenes. It's the curveballs, your growth process, your chiller moments, and the things that make you casually smile. It's the times where you're being unapologetically you, and the most authentic version of yourself. For me, it's the fact that most of my articles are written while wearing sweatpants, drinking coffee, and rocking a half-wet ponytail or bun. (That's the #truth.)
Your real life is the one you're already living, but don't necessarily show on social media because it might seem pretty ordinary and not as exciting as someone's trip to the islands. It's the selfies that stay in your camera roll because the lighting isn't really good, and the goofy laughs you try to hide but are actually, well, beautiful.
Long story short: It's the life we're all living, but don't talk about and celebrate nearly enough. *Cues the confetti.* I think that should change, don't you?
How can you tell if you're living your #RealLife?
You have to admit, it would be pretty freeing and exciting to live and show off your real life to the world. You can imagine posting a picture of your sun-kissed and slightly sunburnt face this summer, and not worrying about how many likes or comments it racks in. You can see yourself sharing your opinions, thoughts, and stories (respectfully, of course) and not thinking, "What will they think of me?" How refreshing that would be.
You may already be living your life this way, or trying to mindfully work yourself into these positive routines and habits. Here's how you can tell. First things first: Embrace everything. Don't apologize for your quirks and emotions, and equally allow yourself to be bored, lazy, and adventurous. You hold the people in your life, like your friends, family, and SO, to the same standard, and are empathetic and understanding at heart.
In addition, don't approach your goals with an "all-or-nothing" mindset, or limit your own happiness by telling yourself, "I'll be successful when I reach this certain point," or "I don't deserve this until I do that." You know that the process behind success is rewarding, too, and you share the stories behind your failures as much as the ones behind your little victories.
Last but not least, you see through that filter in everyday conversations. After all, it doesn't really encourage or promote growth, or you living your real life. Because of that, the people around you describe you as unapologetic, blunt, and incredibly down to Earth. Now, it's time to spread that magic elsewhere.
How can you encourage and inspire this trend among your friends and social media followers?
I guess when it comes down to it, I'm trying to shine a spotlight on the #RealLife trend. I'm attempting to encourage and inspire the people around me, and those I can reach, to stop comparing themselves to others and embrace their true, authentic, and incredible self.
There's so much beauty where you are and in what you have right now. You don't always need to be reaching for some gigantic, life-altering goal, and certainly shouldn't be pretending that life isn't messy, ordinary, and mundane at times. The fact of the matter is, I can't start this new trend alone. Can you help me out?
Spread the beauty of your real life in your own little world. Talk about it on social media and post a selfie that might not have the best lighting, but makes you smile. Show your BFFs pictures of when your business was just a small operation, running from your parent's basement, and wear the clothes that make you feel good — inside and out.
Most importantly, truly and actively live your real life, because that alone will inspire others to do the same. This is going to be a movement, OK? I can feel it from the tip of my messy, half-wet bun to my unpainted toes.