Overcoming the Fear and Worry that Can Limit Choices
(c) 2012 Carol James, Founder of InspiredLiving.com
Do you find yourself severely limiting what you do with your life simply
because you fear what others might think. Or perhaps you make a choice
based on what feels right to you, but then worry so much about what others
will think that you dont enjoy the choice you've made.
Sometimes we allow other people to limit our choices because we value
their opinions and feelings more than our own. For example, let's say
youre in a stable career that pays well and provides good benefits.
From an outsider's view, you seem to be doing well. But you feel totally
unfulfilled in your work, and you know that you would love to start your
own hot air balloon business, which has been a lifetime dream of yours
since you were a teenager. You might:
- Bring up the idea with your significant
other. She's worried that you'll go broke and argues vehemently against
the idea. Your parents think youre nuts to even consider throwing
away such a "good" job to pursue some "fanciful" dream.
Your friends also question your sanity (point of focus).
- Conclude that there is too much opposition to your idea. You don't
want to upset your wife or burden your parents, so you decide to give
up on your lifelong dream (perspective).
- This decision causes you to feel miserable (emotional response).
- As a result, your job suffers. Because you also resent your wife
for making you stay in a job you don't like and for not supporting
your dream, your relationship suffers as well (diminished personal
Alternate Ways to Handle This Issue
- Realize that no matter what you
choose, you can always find someone who will disagree with or disapprove
of you, just as you can always find someone who will agree and approve.
You might as well make choices that feel good to you.
- Ask yourself if you want to take on the responsibility of pleasing
others and making them comfortable with the choices you make, regardless
of the expense to your own happiness. Does everyone (or anyone) have
to agree with your choice before you can make it?
- While it can be beneficial to listen to others' viewpoints and concerns,
ultimately you know what's best for you, and youre the one who must
live with the consequences of your choices. Trust yourself to make
the choices that are right for you.
- Remind yourself of good choices you've made in the past despite what
others thought. If you did it before, then why not now?
- Pay attention to who youre relying on for support and advice. Are
their lives happy and successful, or are they just projecting their
own fears onto you?
- Consider how you benefit by worrying about what others think and
conforming your actions to their expectations. Are you getting to play
it safe? Are you getting to avoid an uncomfortable confrontation? Are
you getting to play the role of the good little boy or girl who always
follows the rules and never makes waves? Are you getting to be the
protector of other people's feelings?
Which do you want more: The semblance of outer harmony that exists
when you do what others want or expect you to do? Or the profound satisfaction
and fulfillment you experience when you make choices that are in alignment
with your deepest desires and purpose?
Above all, if you let other people determine what's best for you,
you give up your power. Besides, if the people in your life loved you
unconditionally, they would be supportive of your choices, whether
or not they agreed with them, and they wouldn't use their fear as a
weapon to inflict guilt.
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