I remember being hit by a mixture of relief and pain when I realised that I alone am responsible for my attitude to life, what I do and who I am. Relief, because I don't have to ask for permission to do things (childlike behaviour) that I want to do (although some courtesy in certain situations does not go amiss) and pain, because I realise I cannot hold anyone else responsible for the choices I make, and the bad ones that I choose cannot be explained away. If you are not sure what I mean to know you're own power, you may have never known the joy of choosing to live how you want to. I mean doing something selfishly. I'm not giving you a license to commit crimes without guilt - Do as you would be done by almost always applies - No, I'm talking about your mind saying: 'I can't do that, what I WANT to do because I SHOULD be doing something else' and doing something that makes me happy just because I enjoy it is selfish.
I can't shut myself away for hours 'just to read' because I have chores to do - that's not a good use of my time
I can't say that because everyone wil think I'm stupid and it probably is!
I can't change my career because I should work in the subject I've trained for and I've spent lots of money getting here!
I can't wear a dress because everyone has always seen me in trousers!
I can't have the weekend to myself because he'll get annoyed.
It's the people pleasing, 'should bes' and 'it's only a dream' mantras that whirl us into a frenzy - of guilt, in the murky waters of indecision, the haziness of the unknown keeping us 'safe'.
I remember when I moved to the other end of the country, and had just bought my first car. I had been driving for a while, but not in my own vehicle, so usually had to check in and let people know my schedule. My first day in the new town, I took some food, got in my car and drove around the country lanes outside this small town where I was to start a new job. I just drove around, not knowing where I was going.
At the time, I was afraid to stray too far from the main roads, from civilisation. Why? I saw it as though it was being let out of a cage, suddenly I was on my own, with no one to challenge my decisions, or ask about them or their motivation. I could just do it, but I'd kept myself in the security zone, the keep everyone happy zone, that I had forgotten how to be free. I had forgotten that I call the shots.
But it's easy to forget that you choose who you are. And when you make mistakes, it's easy to get into a cycle of 'I must be so stupid because I did this'. Forgetting that you are the one who is accountable for your own life will show up in different ways. I recognise when have to remember that I call the shots when these three things show up:
I complain more
If you take responsibility for your actions, you can't complain that someone else or circumstances 'made' you do it, or 'if so and so hadn't done this...' Taking responsibility is tough, and recognising that you haven't yet done so is even more difficult, but very enlightening. Saying: 'I chose to enter into the argument, raise my voice and say those things. I had the opportunity not to', is a humbling thing but very empowering. You are calling the shots in your life, you are admitting you were wrong. When you look back to the situation you were in, there is always a different path for you to choose. You didn't have to stay in that relationship, you can look for another job, or another place to live. Even in times and places of real hardship, there is help around and friends will materialise from the most unsusual places.
You know this when you hear two different people with totally different attitudes to the same situation. There is one who says 'I'm going to cry for a month and then it'll be time to get up as usual' and there is one who says 'I'll never be happy again so I may as well just keep this ugly victim look on my face forever'. Guess which one calls the shots?
I feel paralysed
When you're dependent on someone else to make a decision before you make yours, or you have so many options you cannot choose one for fear of choosing the 'wrong' one, you become paralysed. Making a decision leaves you mind spinning with the choices you have and the possible outcomes for those choices. Very often it's an 'either/or' choice - and your mind has created a DO OR DIE outcome for both. It's told you that if you choose one way that will be it forever and you can't change anything, and your life will be ruined. You feel stuck and ask your friends over and over for advice. Faced with such a terrifying prospect it's no wonder you feel paralysed. I like Susan Jeffers NO LOSE outcome for this.
Your choices are rarely so set in stone. One choice will have an outcome with good things which will come into you life, and the other choice will have an outcome in which good things will come into your life. Whichever one you choose, there will be opportunity to adjust things as you go along.
'If only' rears its head a lot
When you hear yourself saying 'If only this happened', or 'If only I was prettier, more clever or had more money'. No. Everyone comes up against obstacles, but some people just don't give up before they get around them. Be open to how that could be. People start businesses and exercise regimes with zero money, are happy with very little and are loved even though they aren't as 'pretty' as another person. You decide how you want to be. If you are trapped in pain from circumstances in the past, you and you only decide whether you are going to live the rest of your life with the burden of guilt or fear hanging over you. Get professional help and start capturing the thoughts that get you down. Literally, do not allow them entry into your head. When something pops in there relating to that subject, immediately stop what you are doing and concentrate on something else. Have a mental picture ready to switch to. Remember to ask for help.
If only doesn't have to rule. Be creative in thinking up ways round the obstacle. Write down as many sill ideas you can think of. Even if they are seemingly impossible ways round something. Email me if you need help with this.
Once you have even a glimpse of how much power you have to change the things that get you down, prevent you from moving forward and get your mind in a spin, the easier it is to move forward. I'm offering FREE confidence coaching for women for a limited time so please contact me or see here for more: Confidence course