As I do this work, I have started to see the same thoughts come up for so many women, friends and colleagues, and even those I don’t know well who have shared their deep sadness.
Women who have gotten to a point in life where by all objective measures the world tells them they should be “happy”, and yet, despite all the good things they have in life, they are left wondering why they don’t feel more fulfilled. Why they aren’t filled with joy. Why they can’t find peace.
There is the deep yearning for something else, something different, but not knowing quite what.
Despite all your best efforts to do everything right and check all the boxes, there is a nagging feeling of discomfort, maybe even depression, unhealthy behaviors, illness.
Somehow, something just seems “off”.
(Read about my experiences with these challenges in my About page.)
Caught in Expectations:
Based on my life experience so far, I believe that this feeling is the result of years of trying to fit into a “box” that others have defined, of trying to meet a set of expectations that were structured based on the standards and norms for someone else entirely. The result of molding yourself, changing who you are in order to conform, to meet expectations. Agreeing to someone else’s terms without even really realizing it.
And after 10, 20, 30 or more years, something within you begins to awaken, to have more than enough data regarding the mis-fit to start really putting up a fight – this doesn’t feel good, this isn’t me, this is not what I want. This conflict can show up in a lot of ways, many external manifestations, and tremendous internal turmoil. And it seems that the conflict gets worse the longer we try to ignore it.
And yet, all we’ve ever known is what we’ve done to date, how life has been before, and so despite the conviction that something is quite wrong, we can’t name it exactly and we don’t know what to change.
So, we tell ourselves that we should be grateful, we have an amazing life, we are so lucky. Who could possibly be dissatisfied with such a life? And the depression, the misery, the constant wondering; who on earth are we to feel that way amidst such success?
I know why, and I know the answer. It’s not an easy answer, or rather, it’s more complex than it seems. Free yourself from the expectations. Live as your true self.
Stop morphing yourself into the person that the world wants you to be, for purposes of getting or keeping a job, or a relationship, or something else in life. Let yourself be released from the restrictions. Get free.
The hard part is the how. First, how to see the situation for what it is, then how to see the way out. How to take the first big steps to leave the expectations of others and our inner critic behind and move into the wild of your own future freedom. You don’t have to do this alone.
Start with asking for help. You need support. You deserve support. You need community, others who see and feel or felt the same way. There are lots of us. You are not alone. You need to be welcomed into the wild, by those who want to share the freedom with you. By sharing the freedom, and welcoming each other into the wild, we open the space for all of us to be free.
Because we truly can’t do this alone. Too much is stacked against us, from inside and outside alike. But we can do it together. A few at first, then more and more, until we have a whole community of freedom.
Those who walked the path first, led by others before them, can open the door and welcome you out, to freedom.
If you resonate with these feelings, click here to learn how I can support you.
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