Manifesto of an Uncompromised Life


I remember visiting a Dali exhibition in London. I must have been in my late 20s and I was reveling in the luxury of ambling through the city, no agenda, nowhere I had to be, just absorbing the feeling of aliveness and inspiration.

I remember the precise moment when I had the thought. I was standing on an escalator, moving to the second level of the exhibition, and a particular black & white photograph caught my eye. It captured Dali, in his studio, on an ordinary day. Except this man was far from ordinary. He was in his zone, his own space of wonder. Aligned, free, alive.

And the thought that went through my mind was that I never, ever want to live a mediocre life.

This thought has stuck with me over the years. And with the recent focus on simple living we see scattered all over the internet, I’ve come back to this thought on many occasions and challenged myself on its resonance.

And yet it holds firm..

I don’t want to ever look back on my life and feel that it was dull. That I didn’t live up to what I was capable of. That I didn’t embrace it in every way that I could. 

And that I let it slip by, compromised.

This doesn’t mean I have to live a particularly magnificant life. It doesn’t mean I have to achieve greatness. And it certainly doesn’t mean I need extreme success, status, wealth or uniqueness to feel as if it’s meaningful. 

Because to me, uncompromised life isn’t about “having it all”, being it all, achieving it all. It isn’t about taking it all on and not having to choose between the various elements of your life. Living an uncompromised life doesn’t mean I don’t make compromises. 

But it does mean that I don’t compromise myself. And that I show up as my true self. Always. 

An uncompromised life is about being clear on who I am,  It means knowing my truth so that I’m clear on what serves me and what doesn’t, what I need and what I don’t. What energises me and what depletes me. What moves me forward and what holds me back. 

When I live my truth, I’m able to commit to living on purpose, and to designing my life in a way that feels true to who I am.  And this is what freedom means to me.

Because here’s the thing: without the truth, we’re just pretending.

We’re pretending we’re fine when we’re not. That we have it all together when we’re scared. That we want to be there when we don’t. That our opinions dont’ matter, when they do. That we’re untouched when we’re hurt. That we understand when we don’t. 

And that we’re wanting so badly to be content with life as it is when the truth is, we really want so much more. 

When I think about living life this way, I feel a deep sense of self-sacrifice. It speaks to a resigned acceptance. A realisation that life could be better, lighter, more alive, more inspired. But that perhaps by pretending its okay we’ll somehow make it through. That staying small is enough.

So this is my manifesto to living an uncompromised life:

I believe that when we’re willing to look at our truth, we get to shine a light on the stuff that matters. 

I believe that freedom comes from knowing ourselves. Knowing ourselves so well that moment to moment we’re making choices that fit with who we are and what we want.

It means being aware of our strengths. Shining a light on our triggers. Knowing what works for us. Being clear on our boundaries. Intuiting what we need.

It means shutting out the external voices. It means an end to the numbing out and avoiding. It means being crystal clear on who we are and what makes us feel both connected and aligned.

It means living in way that’s uncensored, unedited, uncontrained. It means we can finally live in alignment with who we really are and what we really want. 

And it means using our own insight and understanding to make choices that feel right for us. Maybe not for always, but for where we are right now.

And in the next moment, we get to choose again.

This is my truth. And it feels like freedom.