Quite a few parents tell their children, “We will support you in whatever you want to do.” Few of them really mean it. In reality, most parents want what they want for their children. Kids are often torn between learning how to please their parents and figuring out what they really want. The same may have been true for you. Mom and Dad had specific dreams for you. They may have communicated them directly or they may have been more covert by discouraging anything that wasn’t a part of their plan. Teachers, clergy, siblings, and peers all influenced the decisions you made as you matured. Now as adults, your spouse, your children, your relatives, and your friends all have opinions about who and what you should be, what you can have, and what you should do with your life.
All these opinions, either expressed or latent, influence who you are and how you show up, making it difficult for you to change any aspect of your life. Each one has a voice inside your head. Any time you want to make a change that voice of Mom or Brother or Friend will fire off, “No! Stop! You are making a mistake.”
It is even more confusing if those you looked up to said one thing, but meant something else. When Dad says, “Pick your college, son,” but bemoans how much your choice will cost, you choose a lesser school to make it easier on Dad. Your mind learned that you could have your choice as long as it didn’t rock the financial boat or exceed expectations. That became your yard stick. Any choice outside of those boundaries creates that same voice, “No! Stop! You can’t have that…You can’t do that…You aren’t worth that!”
When you pause to consider that NO voice in your head, you may find that it speaks more than is necessary. The voice may be trying to keep you safe or keep you from making change or keep you from pushing beyond the level of someone you love. Just notice when that NO voice is speaking. Take time now to journal about your NO voice and ask yourself, “What is this NO really saying to me? Is it still helpful in my life?” “Have I outgrown this NO?"