When you think about your future, do you picture loads of success and lots of happiness? Do you dream of having fortune and fame? Can you picture yourself living large? If so, why aren’t you out there living that dream now? While living large doesn’t have to include yachts or mansions, it does have to include you fighting to live life to its fullest potential. While we all dream big, so many of us live life much too small.
Here are five signs that you are living your life too small (and what to do about it).
1. You Constantly Worry
Are you a worrywart? Are you always consumed with fear over every potential outcome? Do you worry that your best friend or partner has been in a car accident every time they do not answer your phone call? Do you drive yourself nuts wondering if a tornado will hit your house? Worrying doesn’t do any good, especially if you have no control over the outcome.
While it is easier said than done, try to redirect all of the energy you put into worrying. If you are tormenting yourself over a situation, ask yourself if there is anything you can do to remedy it. If there isn’t, let it go. Focus on something else. I don’t think there is anything you or I can do to keep tornadoes away. So open up a good book to read or listen to some music the next time you feel anxiety creeping in.
2. You Avoid Confrontation at all Costs
It doesn’t matter how horrible things get, you just lower your head and hope life moves on. You cannot imagine bringing up your concerns (no matter how valid they are) because the thought of confrontation makes you sick to your stomach. You let people walk all over you without ever saying a word. What if someone gets angry? What if they say something bad about you? What if things get worse? These are the questions that hold you back from speaking your mind.
The truth is that, in order to live life to the fullest, you have to be able to stand up for yourself. If you don’t defend yourself, who will? While there is always a potential for conflict, standing up for yourself won’t always make people upset. There is a way to do it without being rude or disrespectful. Most of the time, people can accept critical feedback. If you want to move forward in your life, speak up! Let people know what you think, even if there is a chance of confrontation.
3. You Never Ask for Help
You may believe that it is better for people to seek you out instead of putting yourself out there and risking rejection. You never speak up unless someone specifically asks your opinion. You never ask for help with an assignment you don’t understand. You never ask your friends to go to the movies. Your fear of rejection is bigger than your desire to live large.
Is it better to sit back and wait for someone to beg you to live your own life? What if that someone never comes? You may be missing out on opportunities you never knew existed. The people who live big, successful lives are the people who are not afraid to ask. In fact, these are the people who know that they can ask their way to a better life. If they want a promotion, they ask for it. If they want to go out on a date, they ask the person that caught their eye. If they want to learn something new, they ask someone to teach them. Sometimes you may get embarrassed or told no, but you will also get a lot more chances to live a better and more exciting life if you just ask.
4. You Don’t Make Time for Self-Reflection
If you are too busy looking outward instead of inward, you will stunt your life’s potential. If you think more about what others are doing instead of what you are doing, or if you are jealous of other people more often than you are thankful for what you have in life, the chances are that you are living life too small.
Investing in yourself through self-reflection can pay big dividends in the growth of your personal, professional, and spiritual life. Reflect back on the last couple of months of your life. Did you have any enriching experiences? Did you do anything to strengthen the relationships that mean the most to you? Did you read any inspiring books? Did you do anything that lifted your spirits or raised your self-confidence? If you cannot answer those questions positively, spend some time now planning how you can live bigger by looking at yourself from a different angle.
5. You Cannot Handle Constructive Criticism
Are you wearing a heavy coat of armor whenever you deal with people, because you are afraid of criticism? If the thought of negative feedback makes your stomach knot up, you are probably missing out on opportunities to improve yourself. If your pulse races or your face turns several shades of red before the person actually says what is on their mind, you may be blowing the whole thing out of proportion. Remember that we are our own worst critics. Besides, does it really matter what other people think of you anyway? Don’t allow someone else’s opinions stop you from living the fullest life imaginable.
When people offer constructive feedback, take it as an opportunity to improve yourself – if the criticism is valid. People generally do not attack or go out of their way to say mean things. They are often trying to help you out, so let them. Even if you don’t agree with what is being said, the experience doesn’t have to be horrible. There is no need to take everything so personally. Take it with a grain of salt and move on with your life.
Are you ready to wake up each morning with a passion to see what the day has in store for you? Are you ready to get untangled from the past and future in order to live in the present? If any of these five signs resonated with your current life, it isn’t too late to stop living so small. The world is out there waiting for you to jump in!