Advice – it comes in all forms, typically by the bucket load when you didn’t even ask for any. Or maybe you did ask, but the response was less than helpful no matter how well meaning. How many of us can really say we look inward for answers?
Almost one year ago, I shared a post on menopause, and received a flurry of feedback. Aimed at readers of a certain age, it questioned why we put pressure on ourselves to fit in to society? Why do we do readily put ourselves down, doubt our decisions and worst of all, place our needs at the back of the line. I intended to write a follow up straight away, but instead went down a rabbit hole of research and turned my own life upside down.
Call it a midlife surge, or a severe case of “I’m done giving a s**t,” but an overwhelming number of you reached out to say you were finally making changes in your life. Among the grievances, you were tired of bosses stunting your growth, partners you no longer align with, changing body shape and the dreaded empty nest syndrome.
Every path is different, along with our needs and wants. What we all share is the fact life is short, and good or bad, that message came in loud and clear. When it comes to making changes, we also share a crippling sense of fear. Fear stops us from taking chances and can reduce the opportunity to live a more fulfilling life.
Many of you said fear sparks doubts in your ability to make decisions. You cling to the opinions or assumptions of others and salute to societal norms. Those fears cover a huge spectrum of concerns from being ostracized socially to financial insecurity. Allowing ourselves to find the confidence and self-belief to step out of our comfort zone to set and achieve new goals can be overwhelming.
In her bestselling book Manifest, Seven Steps to Living Your Best Life, author Roxie Nafousi, said she believes the most transformative part of the manifestation journey is overcoming fear and doubt.
Many of us are hard-wired to minimize our expectations and limit what we ask for out of life. We don’t want to seem greedy or selfish. Society conditions us to keep up appearances - my mother keeps a hairbrush and lipstick on hand most of the time.
People are kind when you do things by the book. The minute you write your own narrative, not so much. Judgement and unsolicited advice can appear like Walmart shelves stacked with Christmas ornaments in September. Not necessary or warranted.
Last summer I found myself under the spotlight of judgement. I am a mother of three who ended her marriage to a wonderful man, and I’m in the process of rewriting my own story.
As an artist I am used to mess, but it’s the kind that is usually easy to clean up. When it comes to life, it’s a different story. No one walks in another’s shoes. What looks so perfect and put together from the outside is like a pair of polished boots with miss matched holy socks worn on the feet inside. When I took off my own boots this summer, my holy socks were out there for all to see and the negative commentary flowed, relentlessly.
For too long, I’d been ignoring my inner voice, that gut stirring intuition that mutters away, often unheard or silenced. When my eldest graduated from high school in May, an alarm bell went off. I twigged 18 years have gone by in the blink of an eye. It’s such a cliché realization felt by many of us when the nest starts to empty. I want my kids to fly far and wide, to live out their dreams and most of all to be true to themselves. My own voice suggested I live by example.
I took a leap of faith, shut out opinions to hear only my own and dug deep. The obstacles seem endless right now, but I have a sense of belief that it will all work out. Why? Because I am steering my own ship for the first time in a long time and charting my own course. I’m learning to trust myself, forgive my failings and follow my gut.
Why share this in a blog? Because we all make decisions along with sometimes unpopular, deeply uncomfortable choices. My post ‘Magic in Menopause’ opened a window for me into the minds of many others through the feedback I received. This time of life can cause uncertainty and doubt, but with that comes a need for empowerment and a shared desire to make changes.
I’ve spent most of my life conforming to the ideals of others, but I'm done and I refuse to wear those polished boots. Do I regret the hurt I’ve caused, of course I do. Do I think there are things I could have done differently, you bet. Should I have listened more to my inner voice when it yelled slow down and lessen the impact of this trainwreck, probably.
But life is short and like many of you told me, we should grab opportunities when they arise. Fear has taken a back seat, as have so-called friends who wanted me to keep my polished boots firmly on my feet.
I’m still a devoted mother of three who will be forever grateful to my husband of 21 years for his love and the time we had together. This next chapter is daunting but it began for a reason and the only person who really knows what comes next, is me.
THIS LIFE IS YOUR LIFE, SO TAKE THE STEPS TO OWN IT
Ask yourself what it is you want and create a vision.
Overcome your own fear and believe in you have the tools to forge your own path.
Remove negative self-talk and envy, replace with a positive mindset and gratitude.
Walk the talk and action your words.
Don’t stop for obstacles, they are there to be challenged, overcome, and foster growth.
Take ownership of your actions and keep focused on your end goal.
Ignore unsolicited advice that threatens to shut you down and trust the voice coming from the person who knows you best – YOU.