I’m traveling back to Ireland with my husband and daughter in a few weeks time to see my family.
I haven’t seen them in a year and a half and while the length of time doesn’t seem that long so much has happened in my life since the last time I was home. I find myself asking the question “Will my family recognize me?” And I don’t mean my physical appearance, I am referring to the person that I am. Will they see ME?
I realize that they already have an opinion about me, one that they’ve probably had for years and years. ‘Bossy sister who thinks she knows it all’ is one that springs to mind.
I can hear past conversations now ‘Oh Ann-Marie you can’t start your own business, what do you know. Sounds like it would never work; typical you to get involved in something like this’
I was always easily influenced by what they said. I’d be immediately sucked in and begin to worry that they were right. Then I’d get defensive before finally being totally upset with the lot of them and feeling stupid for considering the opportunity in the first place.
I’d end up becoming totally paralyzed by someone else’s opinion that my choice was a big mistake, one doomed for failure.
And then I’d be stopped dead in my tracks and to hell with my desires.
Sounds ludicrous I know. The people pleaser within me is willing to give my family’s interpretations of who I am serious consideration and simply ignore anything that my heart has to say on the matter.
It drives me nuts that I can become so indecisive about MYSELF as a result.
Confusion and fear sets in as I buy into other people’s thoughts of me and I haven’t even mentioned the biggest villain of all; that nasty little voice in my head who leads the charge and stomps all over my dreams ‘Told you, you’d be mad to consider it, they’re right, they know you’ll fail at it. Sure what do you know anyway?’
This on going internal chit chat about what I should and should not do coupled with being bombarded by everyone else’s thoughts on the subject is completely exhausting I can tell you.
There’s no getting away from it, this constant chatter; ‘Do this, Oh don’t do that, what the heck are you doing, you can’t do that’.
Blah blah blah… on and on it goes in a never ending cycle.
Needless to say deciphering Who I am has been an interesting task.
There’s me and what I think of me.
There’s my Little Voice and what it thinks of me.
There’s my family and what they think of me.
And basically there’s everyone else I meet and what they think of me.
With so much to contend with it can get so very noisy inside my head at times.
Stop this craziness I say.
Even though years have passed and I now live 12,000 miles away from my family I am concerned that I am in danger of having the same debilitating conversation this time round when they breach the subject about work and what I am doing for a job.
So when I read the WomenLikeMe text on ‘Who am I’ it definitely spoke to my concerns, I saw that I could give myself a break from thinking this way.
It was this paragraph that particularly stood out for me and prompted me to write this post.
Are you what other people say you are? No, actually not.
What other people say is their interpretation, an opinion of theirs that they hold about you.
Their interpretation of who you are can never be you, it is always just an externally made up interpretation.
But you take it, put it on like a coat and wear it.
You invisibly wear their interpretations which are also called your core beliefs or your interpretation system.
This has been going on for a long time, since the moment you were born and because you value other people’s opinions, you are naively inclined to think what they say is true about you.
(WomenLikeMe on Who am I)
This explained clearly why I still worry about what other people think and why I find it so difficult to block it out. I need to undo years and years of core beliefs and begin creating some new ones. So I have some work to do as I peel of each coat, layer by layer.
Somewhere inside me, deep within my heart, well hidden away from everyone, I can hear a faint voice calling.
OMG, it’s me…
‘Ann-Marie, trust yourself. That’s all you need to do. Other people’s opinions of you are none of your business; you can’t control it or do a single thing about it, so stop it. The only opinion that matters is yours, move on girl and go for it’…
So armed with a newly found confidence and a listening for my heart, I am now looking forward to the conversations with my family about what I am up to here in New Zealand.
Now that I am conscious and more grounded about what it is that I desire for my life, I’m not dreading the question ‘So Ann-Marie what are you doing these days work wise?’
Mind you I’ll need to keep that Little Voice of mine on a short leash.
So wish me luck…