Be Your Own Life’s Storyteller!
Falling in love is a wonderful thing! And being in love is potentially even better. Making the decision to commit to a person you love can be exhilarating. Couples are full of anticipation and joy when they decide to get married. Unfortunately, getting engaged or, more specifically, planning a wedding can be filled with anxiety, frustration, and turmoil.
My friend Ben from the YMCA recently got engaged. Naturally, I congratulated him and felt genuine joy for them. When we hear someone just got engaged, we immediately dive into a list of questions. I asked him if he and his fiancé had decided on a date for their big day and if they decided where the wedding might take place. These questions are quite normal for our society. Ben shared that there were many decisions that he and his fiancé would be facing together in the coming months. So I gave him my one piece of advice: create the kind of day that the two of them want to experience and not to worry about pleasing anyone else. He smiled and seemed to appreciate this information. As Ben nodded, a woman stated my advice was wrong and that he should try to please his mother at all costs. Then, another woman chimed in and stated, “No, you should simply do whatever the mother of the bride wants!” I stated that I couldn’t disagree more with both statements and walked away. It was clear that Ben did not need to hear from any outside sources whatsoever.
I find it fascinating that when people get engaged and start planning their big day, everyone has an opinion as to what the wedding should look and be like (down to the very smallest of details). There are two amazing things about getting married in our society. The first is that many people feel absolutely comfortable diving into the couple’s business. Secondly, many times, couples begin to sense such tremendous pressure from outside sources that they attempt to please everyone attending the wedding. This becomes such a source of anxiety, resentment, and bitterness that many couples cave to the pressure and get to the point where the big day is something to get through as opposed to a day to enjoy.
This is precisely what happened to Kim and me. Thinking that we wanted to share our joy with others, Kim and I immediately began to plan a wedding where our loved ones could join us in the celebration. However, the next two weeks were filled with anxiety, apprehension, and worry. Truth be told, it happened more to me than Kim. I was so worried about pleasing everyone that I stopped listening to my essential self. Doubt set in. Now, you need to know that this goes against every behavior I had changed since I began life coaching. All of a sudden, it was more important to me to make everyone else happy as opposed to how to make myself happy. This is the syndrome we call the generalized everybody. (I wrote about this very issue in the article “Balancing Your Life: Fire Your Board of Directors.”)
As it turns out, supporting people to listen to their inner voice as opposed to their “everybody” is some of the most difficult work that my clients and I do. We are so accustomed to trying to please people. We do this in so many aspects of our lives. This phenomena gets heightened with wedding planning, but we try to please our everybody when we choose what to study in school, where to live, who to date, how to raise our children, and many other life-changing decisions. Pleasing our everybody is second nature to us. And let’s be honest, when we put our everybody first and ignore our desires, we take on the impossible task of attempting to please everyone. Simply put, it’s impossible to please everyone. It just can’t be done. Yet, we drive ourselves crazy trying. Additionally, we wind up not making ourselves happy because we are so crazed with trying to be everything to everyone that we lose ourselves in the process. In other words, many of us find it odd to simply put ourselves first and to listen, trust, and honor our essential selves. Yet, when we do this, it makes all the difference in the world.
In my situation, Kim and I decided after two weeks of hell to not have a wedding celebration at all! People were disappointed because they wanted to rejoice with us that we were finally able to legally marry in the state of Indiana, which we had already done when it first became legal. (However, that’s a whole other topic entirely.) While our families were disappointed, we were happier than two people who had just won the lottery. Although, we didn’t win money, we won our lives back by simply listening to our inner voices.
Start 2016 by giving yourself the gift that keeps on giving. Give yourself the gift of putting yourself first with all decisions in your life.
Parenting is another time when people invest in others’ business. Wow! Do we all have a lot of opinions as to how to raise a child, and we are not shy about sharing our incredible information. New parents or young parents tend to feel compelled to measure up to everyone else’s standards that they stop listening to their innate inner voice as they attempt to raise their child. Yikes!
My friend Anne, who is a new parent, recommended a phenomenal book, which she read prior to giving birth to her darling daughter. She explained that this book helped her listen and trust herself as she embarked on the new journey of parenthood. I encourage everyone to give Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman a read. It’s great. Pamela shows that we as a culture could learn a lot from the French on childrearing.
I also wanted to remind you that my eBook is for sale, and you can find it here. It will also help you in listening to your inner self.
Click on the image above to purchase the book
Here’s a little inspiration from the poet, Mary Oliver to help you listen to your essential self as you begin a brand-new year. Remember, the key to your own happiness is listening and honoring your inner voice. Happy New Year to each and every one of you!
Until next time,
Safe Space Life Coaching