“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” ― Bruce Lee
Personal development is about growing in our understanding of our selves, taking on new challenges and loving ourselves enough to want to live our best lives. Starting a journey to make positive changes in our lives can be exhilarating, exciting and sometimes even a little scary.
Sometimes it means stepping outside of our known comfort zones and exploring new ways to think.
Sometimes it means setting goals for ourselves that we're not sure we can achieve.
When our own aspirations are in sync with the high expectations others have for us it can result in a wonderful synergy. Knowing that other people have faith in us can be the wind beneath our sails in times of self-doubt.
But, when we submerge our own needs and desires to fulfill the expectations of others, it starts to feel suffocating and exhausting.
We begin to live our lives through a distorted lens.
Everything becomes focused on the person we want to be seen as, the person we are expected to be, and the person we are trying to become.
We start to lose sight of, and appreciation for, the person we actually are.
Instead of striving to make changes that will make us happy, we begin to make changes to make other people happy.
And that’s when we need to stop. Step back. Refocus. And remember two little words: “it’s okay.”
It’s okay to not be always be happy
If a smile, a laugh, a light-hearted approach to a difficult situation makes YOU feel better, then smile, laugh and take a light-hearted approach. In fact, in many situations, you will feel better by simply projecting a positive outlook.
But, that doesn’t mean you don’t own the right to never feel sad. And no one owns the right to dictate that you should always feel - or pretend to feel - happy.
It’s okay to love the body you are in
It’s YOUR body and you get the right to love it, and care for it, and be proud of it. If you want to eat healthier, lose weight, start an exercise program because doing those things will enhance your life - go for it! If you want to dye your hair every color of the rainbow, chop it all of or wear it natural - your scalp, your rules. Take a make-up class and "Glow up" or ditch your foundation and greet the day with a bare face and a smile.
You are under no obligation to entertain anyone’s opinion or expectations on the shape, size, height, color or individual features or physical abilities of your body.
It’s okay to seek professional help if you have a mental health concern
If you have a problem that is beyond your ability to deal with, there is nothing wrong with enlisting the help of a trained professional.
There is zero difference in consulting an attorney to deal with a legal problem, hiring an accountant to deal with a financial problem and enlisting a mental health professional to deal with a mental health problem. See how that works?
It’s okay to expect others to respect and love the person you are - not who they want you to be
You don’t become more worthy of love, more deserving of respect, or more valuable as a human only after you reach whatever goals you (and others) have set for yourself.
It’s okay to expect people to respect your choices - even when they don’t agree
Even though we may ask for advice, we are not obligated to follow it.
Sometimes we just need to hear a different perspective before we make a final decision. And, it might not be the best decision. In fact, even with the best advice, we won't always make the right choice. We may actually need to learn from our mistakes.
Yea, it’s okay to be human.
It’s okay to change direction in life
There are times we jump out of bed in the morning excited about working to build a specific vision of our future. And there are times when we can question, alter or completely abandon a particular goal.
Whether we are pursuing a goal or discarding it, we need to make sure we're doing it for the right reasons.
And there’s one more “okay” - the most important one of all. The person you are today, right here and now, is all that you can be at this exact moment, and that really, really is okay.
The people who love you already know that.
Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves.