Ever feel like you’re slowly drowning in the weight of other people’s expectations?
Drowning under others’ expectations of:
- what you’re supposed to do
- who you’re supposed to be
- who you’re supposed love or associate with
- how you’re supposed to act
- how you’re supposed to look
- how you’re supposed to run your business
- who you’re supposed to have in your life and circle
- etc, etc, etc. I’m sure you can add a few 🙂
We tame our true personalities and self-expression because we’re afraid of being criticized or disappointing others. So we play small or not at all because as women we have a fear of people thinking that we’re ‘too much’ or we adopt patterns and behaviors that align with their expectations. Often, we’d rather fit in the box others create for us than dare to be who we are because from early we as women have been socialized to please and conform.
Here’s the thing – it’s okay to be you and walk in your own path and not the in the shadows of others expectations. It’s okay to go against the grain and forgo acceptance and popularity for the comfort that comes from being enough in your own skin and loving and accepting yourself even if you don’t have the approval and fanfare of others.
In my work with women, I realize that so many of us are drowning in the seas others created for us because we reluctantly waded into the waters to please someone else. So we married people we had no business marrying, we pursued careers that sucked the life out us and we built lives, careers and relationships around the expectations of everyone but ourselves.
And then we became resentful. To ourselves and the others who expected so much from us. Or we become active dreamers, day-dreaming about the life we would choose for ourselves if only we dared.
It is never too late to create the life you crave, as long as you’re still breathing.
I really believe this to be true. So unhinge yourself from the weight of expectations. And go make YOUR mark on the world and live a life of abundance. Abundance is not necessarily more stuff but the state of feeling full, enough and in alignment with who you are. It’s also about creating and living a life you crave, one that not only brings you joy but allows you to help others, share your talents and gifts, pursue the things that you’re passionate about and inspires you to become the best self you can be.
I have always known who I am, what I want, and how I wanted to live. But I didn’t allow myself to embrace it fully until about the last couple years. Once I embraced myself, the good, the bad and the grey areas in between, life become different because I was leaning into me. The real me, the true me. There’s something powerful about being who you are and actually loving it. And once I got into that feeling and decided to fully express who I am and what my core beliefs were, I attracted people who accepted me the way I am and who inspired me to continue to live unburdened by the expectations of others, because they too were taking daily steps to free themselves and walk their own path.
Conquer the fear of walking your path and going against the grain. Embrace the fact that your life can be something you actively create. Find yourself and then give yourself permission to be who you are. And be unapologetically proud of who you are, too.
Carlana Charles is the visionary and editor-in-chief of FemmePowered. She is a womanist, writer, speaker, story midwife and facilitator of meaningful and engaging conversations. When she is not working in or on FemmePowered, she can be found resting, baking, reading or scribbling furiously in her journal whilst sipping wine or coffee, sometimes both at the same time. She is currently working on her first book and hopes to release it in September 2017.