Throughout my life I’ve had my thoughts, feelings, and intentions questioned by those closest to me. The questioning and judgment have fostered a sense of insecurity in my decisions and an unhealthy fear of rejection. As a result I have learned to put more value in other’s people’s opinions about my life than my own.
In dealing with this tragedy, I discovered why some people have questioned my intentions:
- Control. They want me to do it their way or how it has been done. They often wonder why I want to mess with something that isn’t technically broken.
- Jealousy. They are envious of me getting or taking certain opportunities. They are resentful I took a risk and it appeared to work out for me.
- Insecurity. They feel my decision may reflect poorly on them. Or, they worry I’m not going to have a successful life if I follow a certain path.
- Expectations. They see me as wearing a certain hat (personality, career, hobby), and then get frustrated when I put on a different hat. For example, if a person is used to having me give in to their wishes, that person might be taken aback when I decline to participate.
- Gender. They feel that as a woman, I should be more sacrificial with my time and dreams.
I have also learned that I have no control over these perceptions and may never be able to change them. I can however learn to trust my voice, my heart and my decisions. It has not been an easy road, yet I believe a healthy sense of self is vital for me to be the person I have always wanted and felty called by God to be.
As I have learned to trust myself, I have been encouraged by:
- God. Speaking to God about the direction
- Books!!!!!!! The Heart of the Soul: Emotional Awareness by Gary Zukav and Linda Francis is a great little gem. Their chapter on people pleasing showed that when I tune into other people’s feelings to determine how I should behave, I don’t know how to feel my feelings.
- Blogs. “Modern Mrs. Darcy” has left an impression on me as her posting keeping matching the realities of my life step for step. Her articles have reaffirmed the need for me not to let anyone diminish my voice. “Mind.Body.Green” also has a variety of great articles about self love and living authentically. Kaitlin Robison’s article How to Kick your People-pleasing Habit for good really helped me to start to discover that I needed to trust myself and not worry about what other people thought.
- Youtube-There are great inspirational videos. Hey Fran Hey did a wonderful video on the importance of being mentally and emotionally healthy. This is pivotal for me to grow as my true self.
- Counseling. Having priests and friends I could trust, and A professional who listen to me without judgment has been life changing. Moreover, they challenge me in good ways to see where I am and where I want to be.
- Being truthful. I am learning that I must tell the truth about what I want. Some people have been angry and unhappy with me. Some even withdrew their support. Yet, telling the truth is helping me to move toward living authentically. On a side note, some of those people did come around and accept my choice.
- Getting over my fear of rejection. This is a tough one for me because I am such a people pleaser. I value relationships and don’t want to lose them. However, when I take the path of least resistance because I don’t want to be left out, I end up unsatisfied, passive aggressive, stilted and unhappy. When I have spoken up for myself, those who truly know me and love me have come to support me.
- Being willing to be uncomfortable. When things happen that push me out of my comfort zone, I have to remember how amazing it is to learn to trust myself.
Learning to find my voice has been scary and rewarding. Yet, I am finding there is so much freedom in being myself.