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So many times people who loved me told me no. I expressed something I wanted to do, a goal, a dream. Then came the reasons why it was not possible, practical, prudent, or acceptable. Unfortunately, the person who told me no most often was me. This too is true for many of my clients and women I encounter in group programs.
Why do we disapprove of ourselves so willingly? Partly it’s an internalization of what is expected of us. We also naturally seek what is familiar and safe. Our desires by definition lead us into unfamiliar territory with the risk of failure or disappointment. We are so used to looking after others and the needs of friends and family, that we easily dismiss doing anything which may jeopardize their acceptance and conflict with their needs.
To be truthful - there are expectations of us - but not as many as we think. Write down something you wish to do or wish to have now. Then write down all the expectations that are blocking you.
In my own life, when I wanted to return to work after being a stay at home mom for 14 years, I had a list of why I couldn’t. The kids needed me to be available, what if they got sick and needed to stay home, how will I fit in all the extracurriculars, how could I continue my routine of self care which would demand more time when I was already taking time away to work. Basically, I was disapproving of my desire out of fear that my children would see me as a bad mom.
Most expectations are like a mirage. We feel internally like we are expected to do something or be available for someone, but in reality most people are in support of our happiness, can accommodate change, and are willing to support you in living a full life. You must support you too!
My children were actually fine. They knew how to tend for themselves more than I realized. Sick days were few and manageable. And, they loved the happiness and joy it brought me. All the apprehension I had was simply my internal resistance based in fear and judgement.
Expanding yourself frequently triggers a no. We internally say no because we feel underprepared, undeserving, or not enough. When I feel this, I stop and approve of my desire and my fears. To do this, I follow the subsequent steps.
I acknowledge my feelings and resistance. I am thankful for them. I affirm that I can only desire to do that which was made for me or I was made for it. Desires arise from your heart. I approve of my heart desires.
I examine them to see if there is anything to learn from the “nos” I feel. For example, one thing that helped the transition was streamlining life by decluttering both space and schedules.
I spend time feeling into how good it feels or will feels in the experience of that desire. Then I choose one small action to take in the direction of my dream.
This gentle path will guide you forward.
Words to Live By
I am not a heroine, but I have chosen the person I want to be.