Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Getting over "What will people think?"

One of the more difficult parts of adult life is getting clear about your path and following it. There are pressures from loved ones who have their own vision of who they thought you would be and how they thought you would live. These are good people, people who love you, or they would never even bother to invest so much energy in hoping and planning for you. If you decide to actually stop and look inside yourself, to really know who you are and what you really want, you may find that your path takes you somewhere your loved ones did not envision and cannot understand. 

There is considerable work involved in coming to know who you are and what you want. It can be difficult to even find your own inner voice. The voices of loved ones can live inside our heads and get so tangled up in our thoughts that it can often be confusing. Which of these voices are really your own? Life can become so hectic that it is difficult to find the time to untie the knots. 

Once that small voice (and it is often small in the beginning) can be heard, you will want to know whether this voice is making any sense, whether it is safe to let this voice out into the world. Are there others who want the same things? Have others been successful in achieving these goals? What struggles have others encountered on this path? There may be a lot of reading and conversation involved in this process of discovery. 

Once you have heard this voice clearly and done some research, it may feel safe to declare an intention, to let your true inner voice be heard, to take the first step down your own path. You may think the hard part is over. You might at this point expect or at least hope to be celebrated. You have worked hard to get to this place and it feels so good to finally know what you want and to be moving in the right direction for you. 

It is really very likely that this is where it gets harder still, because those people who truly love you and truly have your best interests at heart, they may think you have lost your mind. In a way, you have. Within your mind, you have shed layers and layers of voices that weren't yours but had been guiding your life for some time. 

You have found your own voice and it is taking you in a new direction. Though the voice starts small, it grows over time and demands to be heard. It can't be ignored any longer without some serious consequences to you. So, how you do make decisions that are right for you and get over what other people think? This is still a work in progress for me, but here are my thoughts so far:
  • Be patient and gentle with your loved ones. They wouldn't worry or be obnoxious in the way that only worried people can be if they did not love you very, very much.
  • Good facts are your best weapon against fear. If ever you feel your confidence slipping or feel fearful that you are making a big mistake, learn more! Ask yourself, "What are the facts about this?". Once you have good facts, you can make an informed decision about whether to make an adjustment.
  • Find a community of people who understand your path. If you are not able to find a real live community of people in your own area who are walking your path, then find some local people who at least respect you and the path you are on. Then look online for others who are more like you. An online community is far better than no community at all. Even if you just read about people on a similar journey, you can gain so much.  
  • Focus on your joy. If you are creating a life that you love, do your best to keep your focus on that joy and let go of the things you cannot change. Some important people in your life may never understand or approve of the choices you make. Only you can know what is best for you. Live the life you love and enjoy it!

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