With counsellor Amanda Jayne
How many times have you found yourself doing something or going somewhere or saying something just to please someone else?
Do you sometimes take up hobbies or adopt certain ways because it will enlist the approval or admiration of another person?
Before you shout “No”, have a think about it. It’s an interesting question because so many of us fool ourselves into thinking we do things because we like them. However, when you really dig deep; half the time it’s to impress or seek approval of somebody else. It’s a deeper version of the ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ attitude.
I’ve met a few people who have really found their passion in life. The things they are interested in and passionate about are nothing to do with anyone else; and they don’t care if nobody else gets it. They are usually very fulfilled and satisfied with their lot, and able to follow their dreams and interests with abandon.
But not everyone can feel free enough to think this way. So many of us are tempered by what others will think or say; whether we will look silly or be harshly judged or be ridiculed.
The other thing we do is constantly compare ourselves to others, usually finding us lacking as a result. I’ve heard:‘Oh, but so and so does that and loves it, why can’t I?’ or ‘They will think I’m silly for wanting to do that’.
A way to see to what extent you suffer from this is to ask yourself how many times do you say ‘I should’ or ‘I shouldn’t’, instead of ‘I want to’, or ‘I really like’ or ‘I really don’t like’! How many times, for example, do you do something just so that you can tell someone you have done it, and not because you particularly want to do it or have any passion for it?
If any of this feels familiar, then it’s time to get back in touch with yourself. Over the years you may have got into the habit of living through or for others, and you have forgotten what your passions and interests are. Maybe you never discovered them in the first place.
Time to have an investigation into yourself. Ask yourself what you loved as a child or teenager; what you’ve always wanted to do, or where you’ve always wanted to go. Is there a hobby or activity that you’ve always wanted to try? Is there something that you’ve always wanted to learn?
Everyone has their own unique life and set of circumstances which dictates how they react and live their lives. You cannot forge ahead their way and make it yours as your circumstances, your personality and your character are very different.
Get in touch with you, what you like, how you feel, what you don’t like, the kind of person that you are, and nurture and nourish it.
You will end up a much happier, more contented person. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or does. Because after all, what other people think of you is none of your business!