What holds you back?
This quote by Eleanor Roosevelt was my inspiration back in January of this year. This year was meant to be a year of authority for me. A year of giving myself permission to finally live my life.
It’s not that this year is no longer about that. It is. Next year probably will be too. Every year of my life from this year forward will probably have that theme.
It’s just that sometimes I lose track. I forget that I am worth giving permission to.
So what holds me back in this place of lack of permission and fear?
Here’s a short list:
- A desire to please everyone, especially the people I love.
- Fear of not being accepted.
- Failure – it’s easy to never fail when you never begin.
- Convincing myself I have to get all of the small stuff done before I can begin anything else – and that can vary from cleaning the house, to paying the bills, to doing laundry, to grocery shopping…just any time-eater.
- Having to explain what I’m doing and meeting blank looks or, worse, opinions about why I’m wrong combined with suggestions on what I could do better.
Looking at this list, I realize that they aren’t reasons. Reasons are usually grounded in fact. These bullet points are excuses, or just things I tell myself to keep myself from moving.
So enough about them! It’s good to have them written out so I can see and acknowledge them for what they are, but now that I see them I have to let them go.
I have started on that path, actually. And it was me starting on that path that has forced me to confront what was holding me back…because the minute I set out on a new path, everyone had an opinion about it and everyone else knew better than me. And of course I know most of these people aren’t trying to bring me down. They give their opinion out of a helpful heart. But sometimes – a lot of the time – when it comes to a major life decision, the less people whose opinion you have, the better.
If you’re listening to what everyone else wants for you, how will you ever hear what you want for yourself?
My big decision I have recently made is to back to school for my Master’s degree. This is a very personal decision for me, and a little bit emotional as well. I don’t expect anyone to understand that or even care. The story behind the emotion centers on my grandpa. One thing he emphasized over and over again was how important education is; that it is something you can never have taken away from you. He was saying this as someone who never even graduated from high school, but stayed a lifelong learner. He was one of the smartest men I knew, with such varied knowledge and interests.
Anyway, he always told me to go as far as I could go with my education. He passed away in 2006 and I was filled with several regrets after his passing…things I wished I had done or said. One way for me to cope with this was to vow that I would take his advice as a maxim and truly take my education as far as I could. But after graduating in 2006 with two Bachelor’s degrees, I got married and life happened.
Grandpa and my great-grandma (his mom)
Recently, I have really been reconnecting with an old part of myself. I’ve pulled out old CDs that I used to love, have re-read old journals and letters, looked at pictures… It’s made me nostalgic, but it’s also made me realize that I let go of big parts of myself for some inexplicable reason other than I just forgot how important they were. Or took them for granted. So I’m trying to get back to that and this thing with my grandpa and my education is a big part of it.
I majored in English and history. English literature, however, has always been my true love. It’s so funny how hard people will try to convince you you don’t know yourself as well as you think you do…that you would do better doing something else.
So the decision I’ve made is to get my MA in English literature. It isn’t a popular decision, which I’m kind of surprised about but that’s okay. I’m not doing this for anyone else except me. After I complete that degree, it will be on to get a PhD in Rhetoric & Communication. I’m so excited about this new path that I’m nervous to even talk about the excitement because I don’t want it to lessen at all.
And that is probably the biggest lesson I’m learning in all of this. There is going to be resistance regardless of the decision I make for my future. Someone will always know better. That’s even more reason to protect what I love, and for you to protect what you love. If you don’t protect it, you’re saying it isn’t worth protecting and you’re opening it up to get trampled on by people who don’t understand and don’t care about it the way you do. So I’m going to protect this excitement and this plan I have. And I’m going to go confidently into it.
Do you need to give yourself permission to live a dream you’ve been hiding or to recover one you’ve set aside? Click the image below, save it and print it – hang it up somewhere where you’ll see it often to remind yourself that the first step to getting the life you want is to own the dreams you have. You can do it!