#6 Lifeskills - I’m Free to Be Me!

These lifeskills are based on an article in Psychology Today, “Lessons You Won’t Learn in School” by Jena Pincott. 

Today’s lifeskill is maintaining your values despite other’s expectations of you. The author gives an example of someone that is expected to take over the family business but the person really desires to join the Peace Corps. How do they decide which to do? 

Organizational psychologist Tasha Eurich wrote that this is a “tug of war” between your self awareness and what others expect of you. She wrote that you are in control. I know it may not feel like you are in control during those times! We can glean some direction from others that have successfully navigated these waters. 

One key is having high self awareness. Knowing yourself. Do you know what your desires and passions are?

Sitting down and brainstorming simple words/answers to this question can be easier than you think. What gets you passionate? What would you work for - for free (hypothetically)? What do you dislike? 

If we use the example of the person trying to make this family business or volunteer decision - what do you think would be desirable about the Peace Corps? Adventure. Helping others. Excitement. 

What might be some drawbacks to working for a family business? Feeling constricted by family and rules. Routine. Boring. 

If you can pinpoint the values you have and the qualities of life that you want and do not want, you can narrow down the path of your life. 

Once you are aware of these things, then you can feel the “authenticity and integrity” in yourself. It just feels true and right to embrace those values or characteristics of the life you want. Eurich discovered that those that know what they want to do may ask for feedback from others but they are very choosy about who they talk to. They choose someone they trust. They do not ask everyone they know. I think that seeking someone that you feel is wise, unbiased and open to possibilities is a good choice. 

Since you are going out on a limb and asking yourself these questions, I will use myself as an example. Obviously I am a counselor and I arrived here after many years of making every attempt to trying to be true to myself and my values. I have a family and that inherently requires a good bit of sacrifice of self. I haven’t always gotten to do what I want to do but my value of family was served well. When I considered what I love to do, helping others was high on my list. Having real, honest, vulnerable conversations with others really makes me feel like I am living. I am not in an office by myself crunching numbers. I would literally wilt away if I was an Accountant (God bless them!). I am not managing 100 people on a daily basis. I like peace and calm. Do you see that some of these “values” I have could fall under the category of skills, preferences, and desires but it all fits into who I am and how I was made and what my purpose is.

Now back to you!

What you want to avoid is trying to be a people pleaser. Overly caring about how others think about you or your life choices may not end well for you. They may not care or even be aware of how uniquely made you are or what your skills and gifts are. What if you have a mission to accomplish but the opinions or fears of others are holding you back? That would be tragic. 

Ask your self some “what” questions. What do I want to do? What do I not want to do? What do I need to learn in order to figure out what to do next?

Stay true to yourself. Consider right now how it would feel to be free to be you! You won’t regret being your authentic self.