Until a couple of years ago, I had no idea how much I was holding on so tightly in life, not only to frustration in my career but also in my need to please other people.
I had spent my entire life editing myself for others in fear of not being good enough, offending other people, or stepping on toes. I’d also spent a long time doing everything for everyone and not really stopping to ask myself what I wanted out of life.
Some of us can live our lives this way for many years and not even notice we’re doing it, until it shows up in our physical body and we begin to get symptoms of that frustration. Dulling ourselves down can show up in the body as stress, not saying how we really feel can manifest as sore throats or pain in our jaw, and ignoring our natural intuition and shutting out our ‘true nature’ can cause severe stomach issues (never forget the phrase ‘trust your gut’).
The process of letting go of the responsibility we don’t need to carry is a gradual unraveling. One of the main areas I had to work on in this process was my inability to make decisions for myself after spending all that time and energy worried about others. Ever since I can remember I have felt nervous and unsure of myself, always asking what other people thought due to never fully stepping into my power. And I think many women feel the same and find it impossible to be a decider in their life and really own their decisions, because we are conditioned to believe that we need to constantly seek the approval of others.
This is often prevalent if we have been brought up with the need to seek our parents’ approval. Deep down, we want them to be happy with our decisions and we don’t want them to worry about us. And as far as they are concerned, as long as we are in a ‘safe’ job and ‘doing well’ then we’re OK. But the truth is, we need to put our happiness first because it’s impossible to become the most authentic, powerful version of ourselves and serve other people to the best of our ability, if we are still concerned with what others will think of us, and that includes those closest to us.
Ask yourself where you are holding onto the need for approval in life? Just take a moment now and do that, because when we get really honest with ourselves, our fear of being judged or the need for some kind of permission or approval sometimes is the very thing that’s holding us back in life when that just doesn’t need to be the case.
Don’t make the mistake of sitting back and waiting so as not to upset anyone else, even if you love that person dearly. If you really want to do something and you know in your bones it’s your calling in life, then do it, and the people who love you and are important to you will let you go and do that thing.
You cannot sit on your hands so that other people will feel better about themselves.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. People aren’t aware or interested in the person who is holding back and not speaking up, or the person who is apologising. The world is much more switched on and attracted to those who are speaking their truth, being authentic and bold, and shining a light for everyone else to be inspired by.
So if you have big dreams and visions for your future, you need to let go of that need for approval and stop worrying that everyone else will be ok. The people that matter will be happy for you and support you regardless of which path you take in life, even if at first they don’t completely understand your decisions.
So what good ideas have you bypassed throughout your life? What opportunities have you turned down? How about letting go of the belief that doing what makes you happy is selfish? What would that look like? How would things be different for you? And how would it feel?
You are more powerful than you’re letting yourself believe and you won’t do anyone any good by pretending to be anything less than who you really are. So choose for your own story in life, not for someone else’s.
Natalie Edwards is a Women’s Health & Mindfulness Coach. She specializes in working with women with the same negative body image issues and feelings of low self-worth which held her back in her life and career for many years.
Fascinated by the body-mind connection, through powerful mindfulness, yoga, meditation and health coaching, she helps people reconnect to their bodies, uncover hidden parts of themselves, and come back to a more inspired and truthful way of living.
Meet Natalie here… www.natedwards.co.uk
Photo courtesy: Flickr