Who Is Controlling Your Life?
As children, we looked at adults and thought, “I can’t wait to be a grown up! I’ll be able to do whatever I want!” What a shock to grow up and find out that our lives are much more regimented than they were when we were children. As a result, it’s almost inevitable that we will go through periods where we may feel trapped by it all.
It often leads us to wonder, “How did I get here?” or “Why don’t I get to do more of what I want to do?” It is a worthwhile pursuit to question our priorities in life and who we are really aiming to satisfy.
Are you still reacting to people who have hurt you, either in the past or present? When we allow voices of criticism to reside in our minds, they can drive much of what we do and the choices we make. As we examine our lives, we may see many choices that were made, not because it was what we wanted, but because it was an attempt to prove that voice in our head wrong. The problem is that those voices are almost never satisfied with our accomplishments.
Often, those voices we hear are telling us we are not worthy or capable. They insist that when we dare stand up for ourselves and place limits on how others treat us that we should feel guilty for being too self-centered. We may find ourselves daily faced with the choice of allowing others to manipulate us or of berating ourselves with the guilt that comes from denying someone’s request. When we have a habit of giving in to others to avoid guilt, we usually attract those who are happy to take advantage of our inability to say, “No”.
So, who are you allowing to control your decisions? Taking back control involves becoming aware of how much of your decision making is driven by those critical messages from your past and your current beliefs about your self-worth. Once you become aware of them, you can recognize and challenge those self-destructive beliefs.
Through consistency and focus, you can begin to take back that control and silence at least some of those messages from the past. It all comes down to your personal determination, but you can do it!
Larry Deavers is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and Executive Director of Family Counseling Service of West Alabama.