Need Advice? Trust Yourself

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“To thine own self be true.” ~William Shakespeare

 Nobody knows the REAL you but you. Sometimes, even that’s a stretch as we trip and stumble along life’s journey. Maybe you’ve lost yourself? Or maybe, you just haven’t figured out who you are yet. Like most of you, I’m a work in progress. I grew up slightly introverted, a little weird, quite bookish and completely unaware of the social hierarchy amongst my classmates. Except I knew I was at the bottom of the fishbowl. Today, I am forty-something, still a little shy, but more assertive. AND, I don’t mind being the odd one out. In fact, I rather enjoy my quirky individuality.

Like some of you, I grew up as a people pleaser. Maybe even a little (OK, a lot) co-dependent. I felt it was better not to shake those apples off the tree, and garnering less notice by hiding amongst the leaves, was beneficial. I had a lot of self-doubts and very little sense of self. I didn’t find myself at all until I was in college. And I’m still unearthing some of the hidden aspects of my new, unique and wonderful self.

Don’t get me wrong; I grew up with a lot of love. In fact, maybe too much love. I might even say I was smothered in love. As an adult, I realize that has given me deeply connected familial roots. I was, and continue to be, grounded and rooted in love. But, along with love came a mixed message, even from my family; it said I was loved, but flawed because I was unlike the general mold. I didn’t trust my ability to make decisions because my family didn’t see my reality, and instead foisted theirs upon me. It made me a little hungry for approval and may have been the push that led me to my happiest self. Different, unique, artsy, punk, goth … whatever. I had found a place in a new family which gave me a deeper, more fulfilled sense of self.

I spent many sleepless nights bemoaning my inability to make decisions, and once I had made one, my family often used guilt tactics to change my mind. It took a very long time and a lot of distance for me to see that I could have a different opinion than everyone else, and still be accepted and loved. Although I make decisions now, the residual effects of my spineless youth make it hard for me to stick to those decisions. I feel unqualified to make good choices, so I am afraid to make any at all. I end up running around asking advice of others, multiple times. Then, if the decisions based on that advice were not what I wanted to do, I would be angry at myself for listening to them.

I was telling myself that my opinion doesn’t matter. Somewhere in my mind, I thought that the others must know better. After all, what in the world could I possibly know? Guess what. We all know something, and that’s not a horrible thing. In fact, you probably know more than you think. But thinking you don’t know anything keeps you dependent on others. Trust YOUR decisions.

Sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zone to make vital decisions about our lives.

It takes a lot of courage to take responsibility for your life and “own” your decisions. I have let myself down by allowing others to be my decision makers. For example, because of my lack of assertiveness, I handed over control of my future. I let others decide my career because they “knew” what was best for me. Maybe I was just lazy, but I was also unhappy and unfulfilled. I needed to learn that it’s OK to make mistakes. A lot of mistakes. It means you are human. It’s time now to speak up for yourself. Ask for advice, but remember, like tequila, to take it with a grain of salt. You are the one who needs to live with the outcomes of your decisions, whether imposed by others or yourself.

It’s time for us outsiders to become a positive force for change because we have something to say that someone might need to hear. It’s why I write for you lovely peeps. It’s time for me to trust my judgment and follow through with my decisions. I must be true to my SELF, and if my house of cards implodes, I can always start from scratch. Life has a funny way of working out in the end. No matter what horrible decision I make, I can always come back and correct it. Maybe.

Believe in yourself and give your dreams the breath of life. Even if they manifest as a hobby, you’ll still be a better version of yourself for realizing them.

And so my friends, try what feels right for you, and don’t worry about making the wrong choices. I have learned that the world is a great place to explore, and if you embrace it, it will wrap you up and hug you back.

Stay motivated and caffeinated!😉☕

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