Knowing how to experience life to the fullest in a way that’s right for you can be difficult. We spoke to a psychologist and asked them to share their wisdom…
Much like the dreaded “Where do you see yourself in five years?”, knowing if you’re heading in the right direction in life can be at best confusing and at worst panic-inducing.
How do you capitalise on the past experiences that have led you to where you are now, while also keeping a focus on the future?
Psychotherapist Audrey Stephenson explains: “I think Kierkegaard had it right when he said that life can only be lived forward but can only be understood backwards.
“The key to knowing whether a path is a positive one for you is to check in with yourself, often and with radical authenticity.
“Often, we take paths that didn’t originate with us, or paths that were chosen out of fear, or frankly because we were asleep.”
Here are five ways to know if you’re on the right path, according to Stephenson…
1. You wake up most mornings with openness
While many of us can attest to not being a morning person, there’s a difference between disliking early starts and waking up with a feeling that signifies something deeper.
“While there may not be one definitive right path, there are definitely decisions that are not aligned with who you are,” says Stephenson.
“Waking up with anxiety or dread is a sure-fire sign that there is something that is calling for your attention, likely something that you are avoiding or denying.
“If you wake up with a sense of openness to how the day will unfold, with a sense of purpose or energy, these feelings signal an inner alignment.”
2. You stop asking others for their opinions
If you struggle to make a decision without the go-ahead from your friends and family, it could be that you’re living your life for other people, as opposed to yourself.
“Often we look to others when we are unsure, when we need the approval of someone else to help give our failing backbone some extra support,” says Stephenson.
“By the time we find alignment, contentment within and a true sense of who we are, while it feels great when others agree or approve of our choices, we likely no longer need it the way we used to.”
3. You look at your past through a positive lens
Whether it’s something as minor as sending an ill-thought-out WhatsApp at 2am or something more major like staying in a job that wasn’t the right fit for you, we all have regrets.
According to Stephenson, the key is to reframe them into something that you can take positive learnings from.
“When you are walking a path that feels authentic, that feels as though you can breathe freely, you reflect on all of what led you to where you are, with a sense of thanksgiving,” she says.
“Even the crappy bits. They don’t become less crappy, you just start to see everything through a different lens.
“You stop thinking, ‘What if I did that or didn’t do that’, because you love where you are.
Loving life often leads not only to generosity towards others, but most importantly, generosity towards ourselves…”
For a positive reminder of times when you’ve excelled in the past, try harnessing your senses.
Using your sense of smell to evoke positive memories can be as simple as spraying a perfume that takes you back to a moment in time.
For example, the cedarwood and orange blossom in a perfume like My Way might prompt memories of enriching travels and encounters with interesting people, giving you a reminder that you’re on the right path when you need it.
4. Challenges feel like preparation
We’re all guilty of pointing the finger when things don’t go exactly to plan.
Whether it’s your partner when things go awry in a relationship, your boss when you don’t nail that promotion or the year 2020 for, well, anything.
However, if you find you’re leaning towards blame more often than not, it could be a sign you need a change.
“When we’re not completely satisfied with the direction we’re going in we tend to get stuck in blame. We blame others, ourselves and often life itself,” explains Stephenson.
“When you’re on the right path for you, challenges feel like preparation for the next big thing, rather than the universe hating you.”
5. You get excited when others succeed
One sure-fire way to know you’re heading in the right direction is when you don’t get a lurch of envy upon hearing about everybody else’s wonderful lives.
“When you love your life, when you know your life truly fits you, when you hear of the success of others you feel generous and excited,” says Stephenson.
“Indeed, the success of others that is greater than yours just heralds good things for you.
“When we live in scarcity and lack, when we feel our lives are not working out, it feels as though there is only one pie, and if someone else has a large piece, there is less available for us.”
Fragrance has the power to unlock compelling memories from your past. Celebrate the power of your experiences and find the right path for you with My Way, the new scent by Giorgio Armani.
The contemporary floral fragrance is inspired by our search for meaning and authenticity and the experiences that shape who we are and how we connect with others.
My Way is created with a blend of consciously sourced ingredients from around the world, including vanilla sourced from Madagascar through an inclusive program that benefits local communities.