A Punk Rock Approach To Living The Life Of Your Dreams
Sometimes I get asked, “What’s so radical about radical self-love?” It’s radical because most people don’t even like themselves, let alone love themselves. It’s radical because knowing you’re awesome means you’re less susceptible to buying shit you don’t need. It’s radical because having a healthy view of yourself changes absolutely everything about your life, from the kind of love you accept to the way you treat others to the work you do.
Radical self-love gives you the courage and confidence to change the parts of your life you don’t like, and transform your whole existence without apology. I wish everyone lived like that!
Don’t get hung up analysing each part of your life. You don’t need to know the root of every single issue to make decisions today that will change what tomorrow, next week, and next year look and feel like.
Here’s how you can start carving out a life that feels truly authentic and genuine.
“The only real valuable thing is intuition.” — Albert Einstein
LISTEN TO YOURSELF
You will always make the best decisions when you listen to your intuition (aka your gut), but most of us don’t even hear it because we’re so busy filling our life up with more, more, more. Stop blocking out your intuitive nudges with constant distractions. Start meditating and you’ll have much more space to hear from your inner guidance system.
“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” — Tony Robbins
KEEP ASKING QUESTIONS
The reason why the status quo sucks — and the reason why we keep getting roped into lives that we don’t enjoy living — is because we don’t ask enough questions. Instead, we follow society’s rules blindly, and then wonder why our life feels like wearing a tight velvet blazer in the middle of summer. Start asking questions of yourself and the people around. Spend some time investigating what you really want. Otherwise, you’ll never know.
“Care about people’s approval and you become their prisoner.” — Lao Tzu
FORGET ABOUT WHAT YOU “SHOULD DO”
“That’s just how it is” is not a valid reason for anything. From my own experience, I can tell you that I get in trouble when I do what I think I’m “supposed” to do. Everybody else’s path is not your path. You don’t have to keep pace with anyone else, and it’s not your responsibility to have a life others can live through vicariously. (Pushy parents, I’m looking at you.) Listen to your intuition, and then follow its lead.
“Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.” — Jack Kerouac
AVOID TRENDS AND TROPES
Everything that you see and experience influences you, so be smart about it. One of the easiest places to implement this rule is on social media. When it comes to social media, follow people who inspire you. I’ve been aggressively unfollowing people who cave to aesthetic trends and churn out stuff just to get “likes”. Honestly, life is too short. Who cares. When you’re surrounded by mediocrity, it starts to seep in, so don’t give it a chance.
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” — Joseph Campbell
DO WHAT FEELS GOOD
Spend time around people who make you feel positive about who you are, who reflect the best parts of you right back, who love you just the way you are. If you’re feeling an unpleasant emotion, look at it and transform it with tapping or whatever works for you. Be mindful about what you do with your hours: it’s easy to look up two years later and realise you’ve been wasting your time. And take a break from working so hard. Odds are excellent that you don’t need to answer emails on the weekend!
“It never got weird enough for me.” — Hunter S. Thompson
EMBRACE YOUR WEIRDNESS
Being weird is awesome, and let’s be real: the only other option is to repress your true self into oblivion. Think how sad your 5 year old self would be to see you pretending to be someone you’re not. Don’t be embarrassed about what you believe, what you love, who you love, your dreams and desires. Being your authentic self is the sexiest thing in the entire world.
“People who have let go of their dreams are sometimes eager to help you bury your own.” — Anonymous
IGNORE 99% OF PEOPLE
Most people have no idea what the hell they’re doing. They have no drive, no passion, no guts. Here’s an excellent rule of thumb: unless you want their life, don’t listen to their advice. The vast majority of people speak from a place of fear, and you don’t need anyone else’s fear colouring your universe. Be mindful of who you share your dreams with, and, crucially, stop asking everyone for their opinion. You already know what you want to do, anyway.
“The dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety.” — Goethe
FORGET ABOUT SAFETY
When you construct your existence around being safe, you are only experiencing a tiny slice of what your life can be. We all feel fear, but the difference is what we do with it. Do we bow to it, or do we push on through? Go on that date, speak to that stranger, be vulnerable, wear what you really want to wear! Safety is an illusion. Do things that light you up.
“Go out and do something. It isn’t your room that’s a prison, it’s yourself.” — Sylvia Plath
DON’T BE BORING
All of this stuff means nothing if you don’t go out and apply it to your day-to-day existence. Don’t be so afraid of the world that you stay in your apartment watching Netflix all the time. Take risks. Be out there! You get out of life what you put into it, so if everything feels flat and boring, it’s probably because you are being flat and boring! We all have phases like that, but if you want to change it, you can. Simply make the decision and then make the leap.
You’re way too awesome and badass to get stuck in a life that feels like a never-ending nightmare. Go out there and shake it up!
Photo of Kathleen Hanna by Allison Michael Orenstein.