I have to tell you.
I am getting too used to living outside the box. With the minority.
From outside the mainstream. From the corner of the universe.
As a matter of fact, it is kind of fun to say outrageous things.
Shock your friends and family members.
I am enjoying this. More than I ever thought I would.
Imagine discovering that living outside the box is more fun than inside of it.
Oh, my world.
What was I thinking for the last 46 years?
Keeping people happy. Staying in my lane. Pleasing everyone.
And all this time this new existence had been waiting for me.
Destroying the idea of me in other people’s minds has been the most liberating thing I have ever done. @SecondFirsts (Click to Tweet!)
And now that I have done it for a few weeks. Wow. It is freeing. Mind-bending. Healing.
It all started when I had to write the book I didn’t want to write.
Where Did You Go? Took me outside of my box and threw me so far away that I could never find my way back.
This is it. The boxed in life is over.
I put together a little guide for you so you can find your way out of that box of yours also.
The Guide To Being Outrageous Before, After And While Grieving.
Yes, you read right. This is a guide for all humans even before they experience tragic reasons to live fully. Enough with waiting to be shaken so much that we have to change our lives only when something terribly bad happens.
Here we go.
1. Are you making too many people happy?
If most people in your life are happy with you there is a very good chance that you are not living your truth. Of course, there are exceptions to this. Just make sure you are the exception. And if that’s the case, good for you. If not, keep reading.
2. Who are you afraid you are going to lose?
Here is a fact for you. The ones who love you will still love you when you go outside your box. They will recognize you. Follow you out and come with you. The so-called outrageous things you are doing, are not outrageous for them. They are just more parts of you they can love.
3. How much do you really care about yourself?
One of the biggest discoveries I made was that I did not really care about myself much at all. Pleasing other people directly or indirectly makes you the last choice. If, even a choice at all. Once you start to make the top of the ‘pleasing people’ list. You actually start to love yourself. I never thought self-love can come from outrageous actions and fearless choices. I am sitting here shaking my head with this insight. Even depression can lift. Even weight loss can happen. It is one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had.
4. Why are you putting yourself and your life on stage?
Fear comes to you when you are worrying about what other people will think of your decision. What will they think about your competency, your abilities? Failure is truly just a stage show. Not a behind-the-scenes experience. We fail in front of people. But we fail ourselves behind-the-scenes. The stage show is the ego’s life, not your soul’s. The soul just wants to express itself in art, science, words, and creations. It doesn’t care what other people will think about its creations. It is about expression, not measurement. I’ve had some harsh words with my ego lately. I told her to stop. Enough with it all. You see my ego will keep trying to put a box around me wherever I go. I just have to outrun her. And so do you.
5. Is your need to be liked more important than your loyalty to yourself?
I always thought that loss taught me to be myself more. To live life my way. And it did. And I have. But did I really live life completely on my terms? Did I really live the way I deeply needed? Nope. I still needed for everyone to like me. I wanted to be a good friend. The likable teacher. The worthy partner. The intensely present mother. The list is long. When you stop caring about being chosen, being important to others, being worthy of someone’s attention, you die in your old life and you are born in a much bigger one.
Your goals change. Your dreams get updated in an instant. You actually find out who you really are. You say things that surprise you. You do things that shock even you.
You might as well change your name too because if you keep choosing yourself versus the world you become someone else so radically different that the only thing that will stay the same might just be the name you were given.
6. How do you start to live life out of the box?
And if you are wondering how to begin your life out of the box, here is what I would say–sit down and list all the things you do for others that you don’t enjoy at all. Not the things you do to pay your bills. Not talking about that. This is not this kind of blog.
This is about the thousands of things you do every day that you don’t enjoy but it keeps you on stage.
A very important distinction.
So, for example:
For your job: List all the things you do every day at the office that you dislike that you do because of how it looks to your boss, to your peers, and to your team. They hold back the dragon in you. I know what you’re thinking. The dragon? Yes, the dragon.
This is about living outrageously and boldly, not about just being happy and content. You have a dragon inside of you that has been held back because you think if he/she is let loose the stage will be messed up and everyone will think you’ve lost your mind. Make a mess. They will recover. It is your life. Not theirs.
For your home: If you live in a house you don’t enjoy but worry what your kids, your partner, your friends will think about your move, that goes on your list. Get it sold.
For your relationships: If you are in a relationship that is good enough but doesn’t deeply satisfy you, yup, it goes on your list. When you move out of the relationship box you are freeing two people at once. This is an act of kindness. Yup.
For your closet: If you have clothes in your closet you wear because they fit in with everyone else’s perception of you, it goes on that list. This one might be harder even than the others. You probably don’t even know what kind of clothes you would choose for yourself. It’s been that long.
One last thing for you to remember.
True self-expression is a human act.
Without it, we perish.
Without it, we self destruct.
Without it, we only exist in shadows.
A shadow existence can destroy a whole life. With suicide. With crime. With lack of care for our environment and world. For other humans. For other planets. For other species. Yup. I am going to keep things out of my box.
This is much more important than a blog, or some silly self-help advice.
Stay out of your box, far away from your own shadow. And if you ever find yourself in someone else’s shadow. Run. Run faster than your legs can take you.
My wish for you is that you find your way to days so outrageous that you pinch yourself.
To new friendships with people who like you not because you fit in their life but because they love how they fit in yours.
May you inspire other people’s adventures out into the wild and open seas.
And last but not least, you are born out of an expression of someone else’s quest to choose themselves.
Now it is your turn.
And if you have gone through tragic losses like I have, the longer you wait to step out of the boxes, waiting rooms and shadows, the less you will like yourself.
This is truly the most personal decision you will ever make.
And the only one that can ever save your life.
Christina Rasmussen is the creator and founder of The Life Reentry Institute, Second Firsts, The Life Starters and Star Letters. Christina is on a crusade to help millions of people rebuild, reclaim, and relaunch their lives using the power of their own minds. Christina’s work has been featured on ABC News, NPR, The White House Blog, and MariaShriver.com. She is the bestselling author of Second Firsts: Live, Laugh, and Love Again, which has also been translated in Chinese and German and just released her second book Where Did You Go on expanding the mind in ways that allows co-creation with the forces of the universe. She is also writing her first work of fiction: a science fiction story about a woman on a quest to start over and begin a new life. You can find more information on her website and follow her on FB or Twitter.
Image courtesy of Aashish R Gautam.