April 28, 2008

Freedom From The Opinion Of Others

As if it isn't stressful enough dealing with the critical voices we hear in our own minds all the time, we also find we have to deal with the criticism and opinions of others on almost a daily basis.

While we can sometimes benefit from the advice of others, we can also make the mistake of letting their opinions carry far too much weight in the decisions we make and how we decide to live our lives. It is necessary to take a step back once in awhile and ask ourselves the reasons behind so much of what we do.

For instance:

Why do you have the job or career that you have? Is it something you always wanted to do? Or is it a job or career that others such as your parents, spouse or friends think is the right job for you?

I have a friend who always wanted to be a writer. After she graduated high school she intended to look for a job in the publishing industry. Her parents however had a different idea. They didn't think the writing field was solid enough. Jobs were hard to come by and easy to lose. Newspapers and magazines paid very little. Getting a book published was a one in a million shot. (This was all before the internet by the way.)

They convinced her that taking a job as a writer would be irresponsible on her part and that she should work as an administrative assistant on Wall Street instead. Plenty of positions available, good solid income, security. After enough pressure she caved and took their advice and became an administrative assistant for over 15 years. And hated every minute of it. The ironic part was when years later she decided to give her writing career another shot, it was now her spouse who didn't want her to give up the steady income she was making as an assistant.

Even though they all knew she was miserable doing what she was doing, they wouldn't or couldn't, look past their own opinions of how she should live her life.

Luckily she finally came to the realization that this was in fact, her life, and not theirs. She started writing and submitting pieces in her spare time and eventually started earning enough to make it her full time job. She is now very successful and happy! But it was only when she realized that she had been sacrificing her desires because of the opinion of others that she was able to make the move.

So how about you?

Are you in the career you want to be in? Or have you been convinced by others that it is the best thing for you?

Are you getting married or trying to have a baby because others are telling you "it is time" or because you really want to?

Are you single because you want to be? Or is it because your friends are single and do not want to see you in a permanent relationship?

How about the person you are dating or married to? Is it a person you want to be with or is it a person others are telling you is "perfect for you."

The clothes in your closet. Are they clothes you enjoy and are comfortable in, or is your closet filled with what others are saying are the "must-have" item of the season?

How about where you live?

Your religious affiliation?

Your political party?

How and what you eat?

How you look or how much you weigh?

It is important to take stock once in awhile and notice why you are making the decisions you have been making in your life. You need to remember that you came down to this Earth to live your life and to create what you want and to make yourself happy.

It is your natural entitlement to create your life any way you want to just by your being here! It is not only something we are all naturally entitled to - it is our reason for being in the first place. To create whatever we desire!

It is not your job or responsibility to live your life to please others. It is not your job to make others happy. It is their job to make themselves happy and to create the life they are desiring.
It is also very important to remember they other people do not live the consequences

of the decisions that they want you to make. Only you do. Just like the example of my friend up above. Her parents wanted her to be an assistant. And she became one. And then they went off nice and happy and didn't give it another thought, while she ended up being miserable every day for 15 years!

If you want true freedom in your life you need to remember that other people opinions are just that. Their opinions. It doesn't matter if it comes from your enemies or most loving friends and family members. They base their beliefs on their own personal experiences which could be completely opposite of what you have experienced in your past or what you believe. What decision might be right for them could be the absolute wrong thing for you.

Another thing to remember is to start trusting your own opinion more. You are an intelligent person. You've had enough life experience to know what you are wanting or do not want. And refuse to accept any guilt about it. If someone tries to make you feel bad or guilty for not following their advice, it is more important than ever for you to remember who has to live with the consequences - you or them.

With practice you will find that making your decisions based on your own happiness will bring you an incredible feeling of freedom. And after awhile others will also start to know you as a person with your own mind who can not be swayed to do anything you do not want to do. And they will either respect you for it and stop trying to change you, or move on and find someone else they can try to mold in their image. Either way, you end up living the life you truly desire to create.

Happy Creating!


Anonymous said...

Moving thought provoking article. I stopped letting others dictate my life a long time ago.