Who gets to vote on what you want and what you should do? Who gets to tell you what’s right or best for you? Who do you listen to?
Shelly analyzed every decision with her family and friends. Then many of them told her what she should do. She felt compelled to share her thoughts with them. After all, how would she know what’s best if she didn’t hear all their opinions? Some of them even got angry when she didn’t follow their advice. Others were furious that she didn’t follow the scripture they thought was definitive. All of them thought they had authority over her and she should follow it.
Shelly eventually realized she was spending her whole life explaining and analyzing her motives, and trying to find a decision that would satisfy all of them. But she could think of the many decisions that went wrong trying to satisfy everyone. She knew that approach destroyed her confidence and self-esteem. What a waste.
Shelly realized there’s a difference between:
- Asking what other people would do in the same situation. And understanding that they might have very different values, standards, hopes and fears than she did.
- Getting an expert opinion in an area where that’s valuable and also getting a second opinion. But she wouldn’t ask her car mechanic about his recommendation for clothes or for her love life.
- Asking other people what’s Right or Best.
- Exploring possible consequences with people before she decided. That’s called “getting information.”
- Being in charge of her life; living her life the way she wanted based on what she decided she wanted to try.
Narcissists and the righteous always know what’s Right and Best for you. And you’d better do it or else. They’re abusive bullies. They’ll criticize and harass you until you do what they want.
Shelly decided she must stop trying figure out what was Right or Best in every situation. There wasn’t a Right or Best for most of the decisions she wanted to make. The future was not certain and all those decisions were actually being made in the face of the unknown. She realized all the questions were really about which paths she wanted to try and which risks she wanted to take.
She also decided she was wasting her time analyzing everything in public. She saw her days and weeks had been spent with her friends and family analyzing every detail; even endlessly and fruitlessly reviewing events that had happened decades ago. She felt she was spending all her time like people watching TV shows about celebrities or the ones where people yell and attack each other because they won’t do what they want them to do. What a waste.
Shelly responded to an inner call to create a new culture for herself. She loved the statement made by Cora in the movie, “Last of the Mohicans.” Cora says, “The decision I have come to is that I would rather make the gravest of mistakes than surrender my own judgment.” Cora will follow her own judgment, not the other people’s. She will not let the “experts” rule her life.
Shelly also decided to follow her heart and spirit. She developed the courage to resist the righteous and narcissistic ones of her friends and family. Actually she stopped talking with them about what she was thinking; no matter how much they tried to pry. And she didn’t give them the right to vote on her life.
The best way to learn how to create the life and space you want is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:
- Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
- Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to deal with the specific situation you’re in.