“When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen.” – Unknown
I’ve given this quote a lot of thought lately, and realised that for much of my life I’ve been wrapped up in other people’s stories and have been more of a support character and not the protagonist.
It’s been easy to do, as sometimes we take a back seat and let someone else hold the pen because, well, it’s a hell of a lot easier.
Some of us have a family and so our life becomes structured around our partners and our kids – what they do, what they want, who they hang out with. And then there’s our career … whether we chose them or fall into them like me.
For a large part of my life I lived someone else’s story because I lacked confidence, had little self-belief, I wanted people to be proud of me, or invalidated my dreams and been uncertain about who I am and what I wanted in life. I also talked myself out of what I wanted or dreamed because who I was I to become a [insert dream here]. I didn’t deserve it; I wasn’t talented enough, smart enough, or pretty enough. An adult told me once that we all ‘worked jobs we tolerated’. This was after a discussion on chasing your passions and how we should do it – shouldn’t we? And then there was the teacher who advised me in Year 7 that I wouldn’t make it as a lawyer or writer and to consider something more suited to me – like child care…
Abandoning my dreams and being a chronic people pleaser I floated along through high school, university and work.
I worked hard – that’s what I knew! Born and bred from a blue-collar family, I knew this bought in the moola, paid the bills and helped you survive.
I was also a perfectionist, a people pleaser, and I worked way too hard. Sometimes, if I met someone ‘cool’ (I had my personal checklist), I’d hook in with them. And if I met someone doing something cool (about what I deemed ‘cool’), I’d do what they did. I mean, why couldn’t I be more like them? How could I be more like ‘them’?
What I should have asked myself was –
Who am I and what did I want to do in life?
Today is what matters
After soul-searching and analysing why I was depressed and anxious, today I am so much clearer on what my core values are, the type of people I want to surround myself with, and what I really want to do in life.
Admittedly it wasn’t an easy process.
I’m now doing things that are more in tune with who I am.
These days I let my introvert nature shine as I now realise that the world has all types of people and that there is nothing wrong with being an introvert! Blogging and social media has definitely helped me to find my voice and my tribe.
I acknowledge that my battle with anxiety will be a life-long thing, and since acknowledging that I have started to design a life more gentler on myself. I’ve also prioritised self-care.
So let me ask you this. How would you write the story of your life?
And if you don’t like how your story is turning out, why not change it?
If I can do it after 23 years of living with depression and anxiety, than you can get off your ass and do it! Seriously, CHANGE is the only way. Otherwise think about where you might end up. Depressed. Stressed. Unhappy. Wasting opportunities. Not living…
Better yet, focus your mindset on creating a NEW reality, a reality where YOU are in charge, and actually write it!
Get yourself a piece of paper or a funky notebook, a nice pen (coloured pens are the bomb!), grab a cuppa, find somewhere comfy and give yourself time to answer the following questions:
- What are your dreams?
- What are your goals?
- What are your passions?
- What do you want to do?
- What’s on your bucketlist list?
- What is one thing you can do today to help you get closer to any of these?
I have an A3 folio and a set of coloured gel pens I reserve just for activities like this. They are perfect for brainstorming in whatever format suits me at the time. It could be in the form of a Q&A, a mind map, a cloud, or something else. Just go with the flow!
My FREE gift to you
To help you on your way, here’s a free workbook to download and work through at your own pace. It’s called Finding Your Why, a workbook I’ve designed to help you in your journey through self-reflection and self-discovery.
And remember, every change begins with a decision and a single step in one direction.
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