The best advice I ever received was ‘Leah, stay in your own lane.’
I received this when I was worrying about an ex-boyfriend and his behaviour, and I can’t even remember who gave me the advice, but it stuck. I live by this mantra every day, and it is honestly life-enhancing!
Staying in your own lane can mean many things. To me, it means focusing on your own life and not giving a shit about what others are doing or not doing or what their opinion is of you. That ex-boyfriend I mentioned, do you think he was sitting around worried about me? No, he was out living his best life and probably didn’t give me a second thought, so why should I be giving him one?
Life is too short to be worrying about other people and their actions. You are simply wasting time you could spend focusing on your own life and goals. By putting a halt to worrying about other people, you are prioritising yourself and holding yourself to a high standard.
When you do start staying in your own lane, you may receive negative reactions. People may be used to always having you to offload their life problems too, or you are always dropping everything for them at the snap of their fingers. When you set boundaries around yourself and limit this behaviour, certain people may get angry and take it personally. And you know what – you let them. Their reaction doesn’t concern you. Your only focus is ‘number one’ and doing what is best for you, which usually doesn’t involve partaking in draining behaviour.
To help start you off on your new ‘staying in your own lane’ journey, I’ve put together my top three tips!
Do not compare, I repeat, do not compare!
Comparison is well and truly the thief of joy. With picture-perfect Instagram feeds, only a click away, it’s so difficult not to compare. But I’m telling you, comparing yourself to others, does absolutely no good, but only makes you feel like shite.
If your friend gets a huge promotion and you’re struggling to pay your rent, it can be easy to get stuck in a tunnel of self-pity and inferiority. If you find this inferiority complex continually happening, it’s time to take a step back for a moment.
Whatever way, your friend’s life is going or whatever some stranger on the internet is doing, doesn’t concern you. You are only accountable for your own life, which you only get one of. If you try to use someone else’s life road map, you’re bound to lose. You are unique and have your own path set out for you, so stop with the comparison and appreciate all that you have every day!
Let people be shite.
People can be the worst. When we let other people’s actions negatively affect our lives, we aren’t serving ourselves. If people are rude, make bad choices or are just generally awful – let them be. I used to spend a lot of energy stressing over other people’s bad behaviour and analysing why someone did what they did, but this didn’t get me anywhere.
When I started living life in my own lane, I quickly realised that you could only control your own actions, never anyone else’s. Keep your reactions to negative behaviour in check and never let it consume you or act out of accordance with your values. If someone acts negatively towards you, that is always a reflection on them, never you.
Sometimes it’s hard not to interfere, especially when you see someone you love making an ill-advised decision or someone in work doing something ‘arseways’. However, as you are now staying in your own lane, your interfering days are behind you.
There is a difference between showing empathy towards your friend’s drama and continuously attempt to fix her problems. You can still be a supportive friend or colleague, without draining yourself or going against your own best interests. When you spend time and attention on what others are doing, you’re wasting your own life. Focus on you boo.