Taking control and living life on your terms.
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the impact of other people’s expectations on my life. How can I be sure what I do isn’t controlled by my inherent need for harmony compared to what I really want?
I guess it’s always going to be something to question and re-adjust. Awareness is probably a good start.
“Am I living my own life?” is a good question to ask ourselves. A passage in Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga’s book “The Courage to be Disliked” explains it like this:
You are not living to satisfy other people’s expectations, and neither am I.
[…] And then, if you are not living your life for yourself, who could there be to live it instead of you?
[…] Wishing so hard to be recognised will lead to a life of following expectations held by other people who want you to be ‘this kind of person’. In other words, you throw away who you really are and live other people’s lives.
The possibility of “throwing away” your own life is kind of threatening. I try to turn it into a motivating threat though — one that doesn’t stifle me but one that leads me to take action.
This starts at taking a moment to recognize if something I do feels odd.
Often, we are so busy with our lives that we do, do, do… When we realize that we are tired, burned-out, or dissatisfied it has already hurt us.
If something doesn’t feel right. I stop doing it. I ask myself:
- Why do I feel like this?
- Do I really want to do this?
- What would I like to do instead?
Don’t get me wrong: it’s not about avoiding things that absolutely have to be done.
It’s about taking care of yourself.
It’s about safeguarding your time and what you want to do with it.
Ultimately, it’s about taking control over your own life and living it on your terms.
Because if you are not living your life for yourself, who is going to live it for you?
So, if you’re someone who likes to help others you might well overdo it. If you’re someone who likes to be liked you might well disregard your true self. I’ve been that person for sure.
Next time, you catch yourself being busy meeting other people’s expectations it’s high time to take your own wants and needs into account. Ask yourself the questions above or the questions that work for you. Otherwise, your life passes by and you lived it for others.
Be in touch at carolin @freedomxx.com