There are many ways to improve your life, but none of them can happen without you taking charge of the direction it is headed. Many of us, especially women, are raised to be compliant, which can cause us to be led by other people’s opinions of how we should live. This can influence our educational choices, clothing, career, housing, and even whether to marry or not.
It can sound harsh, but the only way to get out from under the thrall of letting others influence your life is to stop, evaluate, and take charge. Do you want a different career? Apply for it at an entry level and work your way up. If you can afford it, go back to school to retrain. If you want to get married but do not have time to pursue dating, hire a matchmaking agency. Wear what you want. If the way someone treats you changes based on your clothing, that person only cares about you in the context of their likes and dislikes.
You deserve to be admired and cared for on your own merit. Do not let people tell you who you should be or what you should do. You decide.
You will never know what you are capable of till you try. So, bring back all the dreams that you let go in favor of a safe life. Evaluate them based on ability, physicality, and assign priorities to them. Do what you can to achieve your dreams, and if one does not work out, you can switch to the other. The idea that you have to choose one path and stick to it forever is no longer as valid as it was several generations ago. People can and do switch jobs, careers, and countries based on their interests.
Start Saying No
Say no if you do not want to do something. Say it politely at work and with more conviction with your friends. The only people who will object to you choosing to take on exactly what you can manage are people who benefited from your lack of self-actualization. These are not good people for you. Weed them out by saying no more active, and you will be left with people who genuinely like you for who you are and not for what you give them.
Visualize a Happy Future
Some people visualize a perfect future. They imagine who they could be if everything had gone right in their lives. But it is your imperfections that made you into the nuanced and complex person you are today. Visualize yourself being content and pleased with where you are in life. This will help you to reach for that realistically. Seeing an idealized vision of yourself will cause you to question if you can become that person. Be proud to be you and trust your journey to allow you to grow the way you need to grow.
Accountability Is Your Saving Grace
We hide behind our imagined weaknesses. There are indeed nepotism and favoritism within workplaces. But, talent, hard work, and strategic moves can still get you where you need to go. This can only happen if you are willing to confront your weak areas and do the work to make them stronger.
If you are not good with people, then take a public speaking course or an acting class to learn the skills that make it easier for you to relate to people. Take classes or training seminars to become better in your field. If you do fail, do not despair or give up. Question why you failed, identify where you went wrong. Work to address these shortcomings. You will see a major difference in your quality of life once you become accountable and start living more actively.
Once in a while, take a break. Vacation benefits are just as much your right as proper financial compensation. You need to rest; it refreshes your mind and body. Rest allows you to keep working at a high level of proficiency and achievement. Working beyond your physical and mental capabilities leads to burnout and questionable choices.
Success is not guaranteed if you work yourself into an early grave. Burning out only shows that you can be determined but do not have the ability to prioritize. Bad employers will take advantage of that. Taking care of yourself, taking regular breaks, and having a hobby outside of work help make you a more well-rounded person. Well-rounded people receive better opportunities because the people in charge realize that they know how to achieve a work-life balance.