This was the latest question posed in Psychologies Magazine with the usual ten questions to choose responses from. One question put was “When you have to make a big decision, you tend to…” the answer options were:
- Ask other people’s advice
- Put it off if you can
- Worry about it
- Do what’s expected of you
I chose “Do what’s expected of you” as the response that most resonated with me. I often don’t necessarily do or respond the way I’d like to but go with what I think others want, or expect of me. I go along with what everyone else wants, even if it really isn’t what I want to do, out of a sense of duty, out of a sense of not wanting to rock the boat, or it’s just less drama to do what the other person wants rather than what I want. There is plenty, in all walks of life, that I would have rather done or not done, or said, that I’ve just kept quiet about. Sometimes to the point where it has emotionally hurt me to go against what I would rather do.
The results from my answers to the ten questions suggested:
Try to think about how you feel.
There’s no doubt a stoic approach to life – ‘putting up and shutting up’ – can help you stick at things. There are lots of upsides to having a high tolerance for discomfort, boredom or feeling ‘not quite right’, but the pay-off is often weeks and months spent ‘just getting on with it’, which can drift into years. When your feelings come way down your list of priorities, it’s hard to justify making changes that might impact on others. And, in a busy life, it’s easy to operate in ‘doing mode’, getting on with everyday commitments whilst switching off from how you feel.
Journaling may help you pin down your emotions and gain insight into your feelings. At the end of each day, rate a list of categories of your choice out of 10 (achievement; happiness; peace of mind’ wellbeing’ purpose; sense of connection..) If your scores are consistently lower than five, you have proof that the way you are living is not working for you. There is much to be learned from being curious about your feelings, instated of burying anything that is difficult.
Through the work I’m doing to get to know myself better, I am starting to find that I have a wider range of emotional responses. In the past, I would just shrug something off and try to ignore it. I had been accused of being uncaring in the past, when actually I did care, I just didn’t dramatise it.
What I have found so far is that I am responding more openly about things that upset me, usually by crying (often shut away somewhere or in the dark). I am becoming more decisive about things I don’t want to do, and vocalising it. Sometimes I still have to do it but at least I can now say that I’m doing it under duress. What I still haven’t really got to grips with is vocalising my emotions and feeling confident enough to tell other people exactly how I feel, or how they have made me feel.
I think some of that comes from the fear of being ridiculed about feeling that way. Some it from not wanting to come across as needy, pathetic, “over emotional” or even as hormonal being a woman of a certain age.
Some of those around me are not great at sharing emotions either, so most of the time these things go unsaid. I don’t think they necessarily go unnoticed, they are just not commented on or discussed, in the hope that it’ll blow over in a day or so. If I get grumpy about something someone has or hasn’t done, I usually just go into quiet mode, don’t say much. Nothing is said back and it’s a case of leaving be until I get over it. But that doesn’t resolve the issue. It’s still sitting there in the dark waiting to surface again another time.
I know what I’m feeling, so I don’t think I need to keep a journal about it and score it. For me it’s about being able to communicate that with someone in a confident and supportive way. I am definitely in the ‘putting up and shutting up’ role, getting on with ‘doing mode’ rather than acknowledging how I feel, verbalising it and acting on it.
Something to work on.
One thought on “What do you need to take control of your future?”
I think a lot of us keep our thoughts and emotions to ourselves for fear of ridicule. Sometimes leads to almost physical strain trying to keep a lid on it. Not sure what the answers are, unless there is one person you can open up to that makes you feel safe, saying what you want. Difficulty becomes finding that person, 🤷♀️