When we feel off, it’s often because something is out of alignment.
It sounds simple (and it is), but what’s simple in life is also complicated. Even if we know we aren’t feeling quite right, we often aren’t sure what to do about it. A conversation might feel strange to us, we might get an uneasy feeling when we meet somewhere, or even a place we visit might feel funny to us… these are all signals we’re getting from our body… the “funny” feeling.
The question is: are we listening?
I feel strongly that alignment is one of the keys to happiness, fulfillment, and all the other things we desire in life.
Alignment plays a role in everything. We’re constantly aligning with the people we spend time with, some of whom we feel more connected to than others. We’re aligning with our work — sometimes it feels more consistent with our passions and values than others. We’re making decisions on a minute-to-minute basis about yeses and nos — and whether we’re aware of it or not, one of the factors we’re using as a gauge for decision making is, in fact, alignment.
Alignment, quite literally, is how well your reality “fits” with the honesty of your emotions.
When that fit is right, we feel whole. We feel connected. We feel happy. We feel at ease.
And when that fit is wrong, we feel disconnected. We feel emotionally separated. We feel unhappy. We actually feel uncomfortable.
When we’re feeling “off” or “funny” or uncomfortable, it means it’s time to get back in alignment.
Here are some questions I encourage you to ask yourself to help facilitate the process.
1. How many people in your life are you prioritizing? And which of them truly are the priorities?
This may seem like a harsh way of thinking about it. But this is real talk. Everyone (and everything) can’t be a priority, otherwise nobody (and nothing) really gets the necessary attention.
How many people are you giving energy to who ultimately don’t matter? How many compromises are you making bending to other people’s whims who don’t typically want to or need to bend back for you? And how often are you prioritizing these types of people before prioritizing yourself?
It’s subtle, but over time, the decision to fill your life with these types of people wreaks havoc on your alignment.
Maybe you have too many relationships that you’re caring for and/or feeding regularly.
Scale back. Focus on the ones that count. Lose the ones that don’t.
2. Which relationships are energy net-positive, and which relationships are energy net-negative?
Being around certain people feeds your energy. You feel good whenever you’re around them: you’re energized as a result and you have more energy to share.
Being around others actually depletes your energy. You feel drained after spending time with them and often we’re not even aware of the impact… we just assume we’re tired (which we probably are!)
If someone is consistently draining your energy versus feeding it — particularly if you’re spending a lot of time with this person — this is contributing to your being out of alignment.
Pay attention. Spend more time with those that are energizing and less time (or no time) with those that are depleting. Make conscious choices around this to conserve and fuel your energy.
3. How can you align internally regardless of what’s happening around you?
There are two types of alignment:
- Feeling aligned with your external life (e.g., your job, people around you, choices you’re making)
- Feeling aligned within yourself
It’s one thing to have alignment with the external version of yourself: your career, your job title, your relationship status, your financial well-being, decisions you’re making on a day-to-day basis. This is something you can work on proactively by continually making better, more aligned choices.
But the big win and ultimate goal is to feel aligned internally regardless of what’s happening around you. This is often described as a “flow state.” Often people feel this way when they’re engaged in creative activities, listening to music, exercising… these are moments when we’re fully connected to ourselves. And let’s be honest, nothing feels better.
So, how can we spend more time in this aligned, flow state?
4. Spend time with the people that align with your values — and your aspirations
I love the well-known concept that you’re a reflection of the five people you spend the most time with.
Whether we realize it or not, we’re shaped by the people around us. Consciously, unconsciously, we pick up everything from tiny mannerisms to fundamental life beliefs from the people we spend the most time with — so, it’s important that we surround ourselves with people that we’re inspired by, those we admire, people who have achieved things we’re looking to achieve and people who reflect the best parts of ourselves. (The downside of not doing this is meaningful. We might pick up bad habits and behaviors, align with negative mental patterns, our goals might be limited, etc.)
As a specific example, if you want to improve your financial status, hang out with people who have been super successful financially and have great habits and thought patterns around money. Or, if you want to be more inspired in your work, spend time with people who are passionate about theirs.
It’s incredible how this shift (and again, awareness) can meaningfully impact our feeling of day-to-day alignment and energy.
5. Are you making decisions based on what makes sense externally, or what feels right internally?
You can always tell when your internal world is not aligned with your external world.
We’ve all had the “we’re not on the same page” conversation.
Sometimes you may not know the exact reason why something feels off. On paper, things might seem great (you just got the promotion you wanted or started dating someone you were excited about), but inside you can tell something is not quite right. And that “something” almost always reveals itself — which leads you to say, “Oh wow, I guess we’re not on the same page.”
Pay attention to those feelings–big and small — of things feeling “off” or “not on the same page” because those are our guides. Our intuition. Nothing is more powerful.
By trusting your gut, following your instincts, and following the things that do feel right, you’re going to find you feel aligned more and more of the time.
6. What if you’ve tried everything and you’re still feeling out of alignment?
Guess what, in some cases, you’re just out of whack. And it’s time to fix it. Or allow it to pass.
We all have our moments.
Some days, even our best friends, our family members, the people that make us feel the most “at home” still don’t feel good to us. Or we might have a “go to” place or activity that makes us feel good — every once and a while, that doesn’t do it for us. We’re still feeling meh.
It’s ok. Sometimes it’s about allowing that feeling to come and go. It’s ok to feel uncomfortable or not our best. Let’s create space for that.
What’s important is to get to the root of why you’re feeling what you’re feeling. Oftentimes, the fact that you feel disconnected is the signal we need to pay attention and get things back on track.
We can’t be in alignment 100 percent of the time. But we can practice being in alignment. And make micro and macro decisions that get us there more and more of the time.