I saw a young girl last week that caused me to think quite a bit about the family traditions that are started for us or the “expectations” that are put on us from the world around us. The back story is that this girl had been playing a sport basically from birth, was naturally tall and strong, and was extremely good at it. So it was assumed that she would always play and it became part of her identity… Until she stopped enjoying it. Now if she were quite young, we might say, “Oh push through it, it’s a gift, etc.” Except that she is about midway through high school and very capable at this point of making some decisions for herself.
Interesting though, she did not feel that she could quit due to a fear of disappointing everyone in her life: her parents, coaches, friends, teachers, everyone. Even when talking with her parents about this, they were very hesitant to allow her to quit because they were afraid of disappointing everyone as well!
So per usual, this had me thinking about how much of who we become has to do with a fear of disappointing the people in our lives, versus the things that we really want to do? How much do we carry on “family traditions” that are not so great? Repeat history? Make the same mistakes our parents did, often swearing to be nothing like them? Whether it is the sport we were expected to play, the lifestyle we are expected to live, the job we are expected to have etc. I have talked to so many young people who are stuck because their ideas about their career do not line up with what their family expects them to spend their life doing. I often remind them, “Who has to live your life, you or the people setting the expectations?”
Most of you reading this are no longer children and have more control than the teenagers I see in clinical practice. My question to you then, is how are you still living as though you are afraid to be your true self for fear of what others will think of you? Or for fear of disappointing everyone else? Is there some part of you that you consistently silence for fear of being judged or not accepted? Do you bite your tongue? Say “yes” when you wish you had said “no” or smile and nod when you wish you could speak your truth?
When we were young we were taught to obey, be respectful, don’t make waves, etc. and for women especially, it is so hard to learn to speak up, especially in a world in which we don’t always feel heard. For anyone with any amount of anxiety or a desire to please others, we tend to suffer in silence. As long as everyone else is happy right? That’s what we have told ourselves for far too long. When is enough, enough? When your parents are dead? When the last person who might have an opinion on how you live your life is dead? Seems like a morbid way to live your life, don’t you think? Waiting for people to die? Or worse, never getting to live the life you want to because living for others has some nobility to it?
What if you did the thing you want to do now? Today? This week? Would there be people who would support you and love you? Are there people who would be beaming with pride because you finally did something for yourself? Those are your people! Those are the people who you should be surrounding yourself with. And everyone else? If someone would rather you be miserable than do what brings you joy every day, how worthy of your time are they?
Maybe you have never believed you are worthy of joy or happiness. Or maybe it was just never “in the cards.” Except that it can be! Change is possible! What would you do if you knew you could not fail? If you’ve answered this, then my next question is “how do you define failure?” Thomas Edison “failed” at inventing the light bulb “10,000 times,” per his own report. Do you think he didn’t experience criticism? Do you think people didn’t think he was crazy for wanting to capture electricity in a useful way? What if he had been afraid of what everyone else thought? Thought he wasn’t worth the effort? Wasn’t smart enough, wasn’t good enough, etc.?
Are you ready to break through this fear? What is the pattern of thoughts you have been holding onto? If____, then ____. “If I stay silent, then he will love me?” “If I do what I am told, then I will be accepted?” What are your own beliefs that are not working for you? It might be time to rewrite them! “If I speak my mind, I will be respected.” “If I stand up for myself, then I will feel relief and self-worth.” How do your beliefs need to be revamped?!
If you are ready to make big changes, transform your old belief system and start to live your life with true confidence, I’d love to talk more with you. Please schedule a FREE 60 minute Creating Confidence Strategy Call with me so we can get started!
Love, Light, and Gratitude,