How can you win when you keep playing small?
You stay too long. You allow too much. You don’t insist on anything. You compromise all the time… in relationships, marriages and jobs.
You say "yes" when you want to say "no". You bend over backwards for others who never do the same in return. You invest so much and receive so little. You make excuses. You lie about how things really are to yourself… and everyone around you.
You tell yourself that you don’t deserve anything better. You tell yourself that it’s selfish to receive. You constantly worry about what other people think of you. You wonder why you aren’t doing better… at work, in your relationships, at life.
You let your fear and self-limiting beliefs keep you stuck in this place… stuck in toxic relationships and jobs that don’t serve you. There’s no space here. No movement. No growth. And most importantly, no breath. How are you living if you can’t even breathe?
The common element here is you… or the lack thereof. Where are YOU? How did you become so minimized in your own life? I know how. You listen to your fear. And by listening to your fear, you’re feeding it… and manifesting the life you DON’T want.
You can change that though and regain your lost self-esteem… if you want to. Focus on these four steps to shift your perspective… and your life.
1. Put yourself first.
Somewhere down deep is your inner wisdom… your courage… your authentic self. You’ve been afraid to listen to it. Why? Are you afraid you won’t be like everyone else? Or worried that you’ll stand out too much? How is that possible?
Those are the very characteristics that make you unique and different in this world. Those are the very qualities that make you shine in your life. Why dim your own light?
By celebrating yourself, you are modeling how to live life for your children, your friends and your family. Worrying about what others will think will never serve you. Firstly, how do you even know what they think? Isn’t it all unfounded assumptions?
And why not let them surprise you with their admiration and respect? And honestly, they’re so wrapped up in worrying about what YOU think about THEM that they’re not even seeing you for who you really are.
Stop using the old excuse that you have to do what everyone else does. That excuse is just a story distracting you from yourself. Be bold. Be brave. Live life by your own rules. Create clear boundaries for what you want and don’t want.
What do you have to lose, besides regret? And what else are you gaining when you embrace your inner power?
2. Stop thinking it's all about you.
We all walk different paths in life. Every individual’s experience is personal and unique. And yet, your ego tells you differently. Your ego misinterprets and internalizes the words and actions of everyone around you as being about YOU.
It usually isn’t. It is, however, ALWAYS about the experience of the other person walking their path. You overhear some work colleagues complaining about an employee… and you assume they’re talking about you.
Why? Your ego wants to make you the center of attention, even when it’s negative attention and even when it’s untrue. What would happen if you reacted to that situation as if it WAS about you? You’d be walking their path all of a sudden, instead of yours.
What good can come from that? Or what about when people are critical of you in subtle or not so subtle ways, and you assume what they are saying is true?
Realize, in this case, that they are critical because you have the exact qualities and strengths that they want, but lack. They project their weakness on to you in the hope that you’ll be minimized by it… and you are.
You’ve allowed them to hijack your path. You see a friend struggling with life issues, and your ego tells you that you can fix it for them. You can’t. You will fail and be minimized by the experience. Only your friend can fix it… if he or she wants to.
By trying to fix other people, you are depriving them of a valuable opportunity to learn how to fix it for themselves. Assumptions will never serve you. You will always be powerless on someone else’s path. Stick to yours and lead by example.
3. Honor your values.
Everyone has values. They are our unwritten rule book for how we think and behave in our world. Most people know they have values — like love, family, friendship, achievement — but often can’t tell you what they are because our values live deep in the subconscious.
And your values are unique to YOU. Everyone else has a completely different rule book. So, don’t assume that everyone around you values what you do. You need to know what your values are for multiple reasons.
Firstly, you will feel great about yourself when you INTENTIONALLY honor your values every day. Secondly, you eliminate all self-doubt when you make decisions based on your values. And lastly, it becomes really clear when your values aren’t being honored in a relationship, family or work environment.
Again, not everyone values what you do. Most relationships fail based on misaligned values. You might be honoring your value around love with your partner by doing things for them… and yet, your gestures are unnoticed, unacknowledged, ignored.
It hurts when your values aren’t reflected back at you. And yet, it isn’t personal. Your partner doesn’t value love in the same way you do. When it comes to values, it means you’re speaking two different languages.
The relationship just won’t work when values are being compromised on both sides and there isn’t any hope for real communication. Honoring your values is also much more than what you choose to give to others.
It is also about what you give to yourself. If you value love and respect, you will honor those values in everything you do. You will love and respect those around you, but also give that to yourself.
What shifts for you when you give yourself those gifts? What shifts for you when you stop expecting it from others?
4. Dream big,
The only guarantee in life is death… and the only constant is change. So, why not dream big? What do you have to lose in the big picture? And isn’t there value in having powerful dreams, even if they don’t or can’t come true?
Most people are so attached to the outcome, they won’t allow themselves to even think about or visualize what they want for fear of not getting it. It becomes a big opportunity for your saboteurs to tell you that you failed.
What is failure though, but practice? Didn’t you fail thousands of times as a toddler learning how to walk? What’s different now? Thomas Edison famously said that he discovered a thousand and one ways how NOT to make a light bulb.
And part of your journey is about finding what doesn’t work, as well as what does. You can’t achieve great things until you can visualize them though. It's the first step in creating what you want.
Professional athletes visualize successful scenarios in their minds over and over again. Why? Science has proven that our minds can’t distinguish between what is real and what is imagined. So, trick your mind into believing what you want through visualization.
Fake it until you make it. See what happens. Ditch attachment, put on your explorer hat, dream big and move forward through life like the grand adventure it is. Be prepared to be surprised around every corner. And see yourself shining on your journey every step of the way!
Laura Miolla is a certified divorce coach and mediator helping professional women WIN before, during and after divorce by developing, tapping into and leveraging leadership.
This article was originally published at Unlocked Magazine. Reprinted with permission from the author.