When I was 22, I took a major leap and moved from Nashville to Perth, Australia. I was fresh out of University and ready to burst out from the familiar bubble I’d created around me. Longing to see the world and meet new people—eh em, including my future hubby—I chose a city I’d never heard of. I got on a plane that September day, nearly 7 years ago, with a full heart. A heart so full of indescribable excitement and trust because I was listening to my truth.
This adventurous decision was a significant turning point in my internal world.
You see, for a lot of my life my decisions were based on one of two things:
- What other people wanted me to do (spoken expectations)
- What I thought other people wanted me to do (perceived expectations)
My decisions were fear-based because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone.
My mode of operation: people-pleasing.
My truth: snuffed out.
I handed my compass over to other people rather than tuning into my heart as my guide.
How often do you allow other people’s expectations, whether spoken or perceived, dictate how you live your life?
// Maybe you really want to become a chef but chose medical school because your dad was a doctor.
// Maybe you dream of being a hair-dresser but denied your dreams because people said you needed a college degree to be successful.
// Maybe deep down you want to stop hanging out with that crowd but don’t want to hurt any feelings or be seen as a prude.
// Maybe you simply want to hand the kids over to your mom for some peace and quiet but can’t let anyone think you’re selfish or not coping.
We deny our truth—that which our hearts truly desire + where our intuitions are guiding us—when our lives are governed by other people’s expectations of us.
Personally, when I’m too caught up in what other people are thinking of or expecting from me, I get exhausted and anxious. All that energy spent deciphering, interpreting or second-guessing is valuable energy that could be utilized so much more effectively.
The hard truth is: what other people think of you is none of your business.
We cannot control how other people perceive us or what expectations they put on us. People interpret our actions and words through their own filter, which has been uniquely shaped and molded by their past experiences, personal values, triggers and current reality.
But, what we can do is tap into our truth and live our lives accordingly. Then, a miraculous freedom is found—the freedom from being controlled by other people’s expectations.
Think about this for a moment:
If you were not worried about what anyone else thought of you, what would you do?
Really, what would you do?
// Change careers?
// Move to a new city or country?
// Take that indulgent vacation?
// Speak your mind or voice your feelings?
// Finally accept your body?
// Eat ‘dem carbs?
By getting crystal clear on the answer, you highlight where you’ve been stuck. You unveil your truth and pinpoint areas where other people’s expectations or opinions have held you hostage.
Sometimes it’s difficult to find an answer to this question because you’ve habitually handed over your compass to someone else. It’s so ingrained in your nature to seek outward approval that your truth is now buried under all the pressure.
C’mon, time to dig deep and mine for that truth-gold!
It must be mentioned that sometimes other people can help you find your truth. Close friends, family members and mentors can be valuable sources of wisdom and guidance. When you are feeling lost or just need that pinch of external validation that you’re making the right decision, it’s both refreshing and advantageous to seek counsel from a trusted confidant.
Just be aware of your motives. Are you asking for help from a place of curiosity and balance? Or are you feeling obligated out of constraint and dependency?
You will be guided into your truth if you are truly seeking it.
If you are ready to release other people’s expectations and fully step into your truth, I encourage you to take a baby-step today.
- Journal: spend some time pen to paper writing whatever comes up for you. No judgement. Unedited.
- Meditate: Step away from the action. Quiet your mind. Still your heart. Listen. Your internal compass awaits. I delve more into meditation in a post here
- Nature: So simple yet profound. Get outside and reconnect with Mother Nature. Something about spending time in God’s creation brings me so much clarity and empowerment.
Do you have one to add to this list? What helps you tap into your truth and let go of other people’s expectations and opinions of you? Share away in the comments!