For as long as I can remember in my past, I had always lived my life by trying to fulfill the expectations of others. I was told what I should do, when I should do it, how things should be done and how I should execute something. In reflecting on this, I discovered that regardless of my best efforts, whatever I did was never good enough and only resulted in greater expectations and of course, greater consequences when I did not meet those expectations.
“Life becomes so much better by allowing us to make our own choices and decisions regardless of the outcome because we will learn that our choices have consequences for which we must take personal responsibility.”Barbara Jacoby
Well, after going through a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, I realized that I was tired of being told what to do. I was tired of being shamed, cajoled, teased, pushed, rammed, etc. into doing things that I didn’t want to do or not comfortable doing. Therefore, I decided to officially declare my independence and learned that it is okay to say “no” if that is what I need to do for myself.
I acknowledge my part in allowing others to control me. I know that I constantly worked to achieve perfection even though I was aware that there is no such thing and if I fell short of expectations, I saw only the part where I felt I failed. There were some people who had the ability to make me feel so badly about myself when I was not in agreement with what they wanted me to do but here again, I had allowed it. And I found that I got particularly upset whenever someone succeeded in turning things on me by finding a justification for their own behavior that is so contrary to the reality of the situation.
But most importantly, after people making decisions about my cancer treatment and what I should do without any knowledge of what would work for me and not allowing my input or questions, I reached the point of no return on this matter and decided that on a going forward basis, I will not allow myself to accept such behavior from others and I invite others to join me.
I know it is not easy. After so many years of accepting being pushed around in so many ways, it is habit to respond in the same old way. But, it will be so worthwhile in the long run when we find that we are doing what we want to do and doing so in a way that works for us. The benefit is that if we do what we want, on the terms that works for us, we become so vested in the project, or whatever it may be, that we give it all of our efforts and dedication and regardless of the work involved, it will actually produce a better outcome for us.
The opportunity to be an active participant in doing something in which we have a buy-in always changes everything. I don’t think that there is a thing in the world that we can’t accomplish if we are given a chance to add our efforts to a successful outcome. Life becomes so much better by allowing us to make our own choices and decisions regardless of the outcome because we will learn that our choices have consequences for which we must take personal responsibility. Now that sure sounds like a much better quality of life to me for every single one of us.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.