When a child is sick or you have a broken pipe you go to an expert like a doctor or a plumber because they have the experience and the training that can help you make the right decision. Life tends to throw lots of uncertainty our way, and although it might be nice to have an expert on hand to help us make the right decisions, often that isn’t an option. When it comes to you and your needs, learn to trust your heart.
While your friends and family will usually have your best interest in mind, they don’t understand your passions and needs as you do. Whatever advice they give comes from their personal well of experience which is probably quite a bit different than yours. It might be good advice, but if it doesn’t take into consideration your actual life, it probably won’t work for you.
You are your own expert when it comes to your likes and needs. If you don’t listen and trust your heart, those needs will be pushed aside and you will end up stuck doing things you don’t like, possibly with people who don’t bring you joy.
Stop asking for advice about things you need to have your own opinion about. All too often, I see women asking friends about what they think before they’ve really had a chance to consider the issue themselves. This creates an echo chamber of ideas that have been recycled and repurposed from one woman to the next about how we’re supposed to think about things.
Ask yourself, what do I think about this? What can I learn on my own to help me make my decision on where I stand? What sources will I get my information from? Do I like this thing because I think it’s great or because someone else told me they like it? If you’ve never done this before, it might take time before you can talk to yourself honestly about parts of your life. But, once you do, you can unlock your truth and embrace it.
I spent most of my life feeling like it was somehow not right for me to take control of my situation. It didn’t matter if it was family, church, hobby groups, or among friends, I felt that I wasn’t allowed to make decisions or voice opinions. In several of these groups, I witnessed what happened to those who did. If they were men, they were applauded and praised. If they were women, they were politely smiled at and then called not-so-nice names behind their backs.
I carried this belief that I could not, and even should not make any meaningful decision without the approval of someone else first. And, if I was too shy to ask for that approval, or if it was too big of an ask, then it was better for me to forget that I ever wanted that something in the first place and continue with the life someone else prescribed for me.
Living like that is miserable. I wasn’t trusting my heart even though it was trying so hard to push me to try things that would bring me the kind of joy and fulfillment I so desperately needed.
It took turning thirty before I realized that if I wanted something, the only way that I was ever going to get it is if I went out there and did it myself. All of a sudden, worlds of possibilities opened up again. It was like the sun had come out after years of rain. That was ten years ago and I haven’t found an end to things that I love giving my time to. It all started with a little bravery and the encouragement to listen to my heart.