“If you do what other people tell you to do, don’t be surprised if you never find your purpose in life.” Via Brian and Gab. I have endured massive physical trauma over the last year. Quite frankly, massive emotional trauma as well. But one of the saddest moments in my life was when I woke up and realized that my life wasn’t my own. I looked around at all the beautiful things I had collected around me and I felt completely empty. Then angry. Then guilty. Then simply…sad. I wanted nothing to do with any of what was around me. I hated my husband, I hated myself, I resented my child, I felt miserable at work, I felt martyred at home. It hit me that everything around me was a result of what other people had told me to do.
I realized that I had allowed people to set my limits, to define my goals, to paint me in a certain light. There was even a time I looked for that kind of “guidance” so I would get it right. I wanted to be liked and I wanted to be perfect. When I woke up that morning and immediately felt miserable, something clicked. I knew I never wanted to feel that way again. Slowly, I realized it was all about choice, and choosing to wake up that miserable was nonsense. Selfish, immature, nonsense. It took a while to understand that while the choices I made were mine, it wasn’t someone being malicious—it was their belief of what was good and it was my lack of understanding that I had a say in how I wanted to create my life.
Once I learned that I had the ability to live without someone else’s permission, my world opened up. I started caring less about what other people thought and more about what served. I looked at what I had done and instead of feeling empty or that it wasn’t “mine,” I learned to be grateful that I had the ability to do it. I realized that if I could follow someone’s blueprint so well, then I have the ability to design something for myself too. I’m beyond grateful for what I have been given and all of the people who supported me. I’m even grateful for the people who doubted me. But what I’m most grateful for is that I learned to shut all of that out and do what was right for me.
This is a learning process and I’m still figuring it out on a daily basis. But I know the discomfort I feel in learning my way through this is better than the limitations of someone else’s box. Breaking out of those limitations also requires putting aside your own beliefs as well. You have to break your own boundaries first and know that you have the ability to do what you want. Once you step outside of your own box, you certainly won’t settle for someone else’s. Your purpose, your life, your dreams are all on the other side of your fear and your people-pleasing, and your “supposed to’s.” We were given a blank book and often forget we were also handed the pen. Pick up that pen and get to work. We have little say in the story people tell about us—but we have all the say in what we write down.