Opinions (Even Mine) Don’t Matter

So it occurred to me after having a conversation with a new friend that much of my (and others) paralysis comes from the desire to seek approval from others. It’s funny, I never thought of it that way, probably cause I want to be the strong, independent woman who has my shit together. And while sometimes I do, quite frankly sometimes I don’t. But what’s funny is I don’t want others to know I don’t. Or for the ones who do, I am constantly trying to prove to them I do.  I guess this is a habit we form out of the womb with wanting the approval of our parents. The seeking of approval continues with our teachers, friends, potential suitors, employers etc.


As I have grown and matured, I think I have been able to filter this some with my indignance to be a woman who does only what makes me happy. But quietly inside I am still that little girl who wants my mom to be proud of her daughter and can brag about me to her friends. I want my sister to have a role model to look up to and be willing to lead by my example. I want my niece to consider me one of her favorite aunties because I am always doing cool stuff and I bring her along for the experience. I want the guy (whoever he may be) to want me because I am pretty and I am smart. I want to stop being placed in the “you’re so awesome that someone will surely want you even though it’s not me” category. I want to have the job that makes me feel successful and accomplished; I no longer want to be embarrassed to see my fellow MBA grads.  I want to accomplish the goal of building generational wealth for the family I currently and someday hope to have.  I want the life of freedom, fun and adventure that everyone envies. Whew, that’s a lot of damn wants isn’t it.


The truth is if I wasn’t so freakin’ worried about what everyone else thought, then maybe I would have that life right?! I would have traveled the globe at 22 when I graduated college and maybe discovered the perfect career path for me along the way. I may have met the guy of my dreams who loves me and finds me to be quite pretty on the eyes. Then my family and friends would have been proud of me for being brave enough to live life’s adventures and do things they never may.  Even if not, what’s the worst that would have happened? At the least I could say I did exactly what I wanted to do and I am certain that I would have learned and experienced a lot along the way.  I am sure then I would have truly learned how to be independent, which for me is free of the concern of others opinion.


So 10 years later, here I am still learning the lesson. I have had a little bit more practice saying f* what you think, I am doing what I want. Unfortunately those attempts weren’t so successful (see recounts of the most recent in previous blog posts). And that scares me more than anything. That fear is what made me get the job I ended up hating and keeping it for 3 years.  I am so scared to fail and have to again come running home to mama explaining how I made yet another bad choice. My (progressive) friends tell me that I should not be so hard on myself because every foiled attempt is a learning lesson. They tell me that I should be proud for even attempting because that’s more than others are willing to do. But sometimes I feel guilty because I do not feel as strong as my friends think I am. Sometimes the truth is really that I didn’t try hard enough.  There is that something inside me that keeps me from going all the way.


This go ‘round, my friends and family are used to these wild dreams so who I am really afraid of disappointing? I have realized that my fear of failure is so harrowing that it keeps me in this cycle of inaction. At least I can’t fail if I don’t really try. I know this isn’t a conscious thought but I know it must be a latent one because in many situations I have had everything I needed to get started and furthermore succeed even.  How is it that I could be so afraid of my own opinions of myself. Is there somewhere deep inside where I don’t really believe that I can or will have all of the things that I desire?  I am just plain tired, tired of disappointing others but most importantly I am tired of disappointing myself.


Each time I look back at my dream boards I get mad at myself for sitting on the starting line. In many cases I don’t even truly get out of the blocks. I have found blocking out the voice of others has been easier than blocking out the negative voice of myself. I am determined not to fail myself this time. I feel like the turtle in this race sometimes but I will cross the finish line.  And if I remain true to myself what I know to be true is that the opinions of those I seek will indeed be favorable, including me.


I encourage you to learn from my mistakes and learn to drown out the noise, even if its coming from inside your own head.

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