Are all the “shoulds” taking over your life? You know, the ones that say:
- You should focus on becoming good at ONE thing — there’s no way you can follow all your passions.
- You should tone down your message, you don’t want to scare anyone away.
- You’re over 35. You should really think about having kids soon.
- You should be on social media more. You’re missing out on potential customers!
- You should lay off the mankinis, they might make some people uncomfortable.
That’s a lot — but they’re REAL “shoulds” people have either told me directly or I’ve felt myself through unspoken societal and cultural expectations.
That’s not to say all expectations are bad. Washing your hands after you use the bathroom is a smart “should” in my opinion.
[bctt tweet="Living for other people’s expectations guarantees you’ll fall short of your own. " username="marieforleo"]
But, in the broader sense, it’s easy to let external expectations and pressures sweep you away from your true self. Before you know it, you’re living life on autopilot, barely aware of the choices you’re making and the reasons behind them.
Signs You’re Disconnected From Your True Self
It’s a natural human desire to want to please the people around us. We’re social creatures who thrive in community. But you don’t have to suppress your true nature or ignore your deepest heart’s desire in order to be loved and accepted.
Your time here on earth is limited. Don’t waste it chasing approval and ignoring what you really want.
Here are some signs you’re not being true to yourself:
- You worry constantly about what people think.
- You feel resentful of all you have to do.
- You’re not sure if you’re bored, sad, or just exhausted.
- Your dreams seem silly, unreachable, or irrelevant now.
- You feel ‘selfish’ asking for what you want.
- You feel pulled in a million directions.
The Risks of Ignoring Your Inner Voice
Depending on what messages you heard growing up, it can feel downright wrong to break out of the conventional way of doing things. Being honest about what you really want can feel offensive, selfish, or just unimportant.
When you reach the end of your life, will you regret not listening to your heart?
Will you recall lost opportunities and dreams unfulfilled? Will you think of all the lies you told — to yourself and to others to stay safe, comfortable, and likeable?
My guess is yes. That’s not a risk not worth taking.
3 Questions to Help You Be More True To Yourself
In the video below, you’ll get a 3-part question that will help you create a life that’s more true to yourself. It’s inspired by the #1 regret from Bronnie Ware’s phenomenal book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.
Think of it as a gut check — a quick exercise you can go back to whenever you feel like your inner voice is being drowned out by society’s expectations.
Don’t just think your answers in your head, write them down. Seeing and reading your words gives you extra motivation to make change. If you don’t have a pen and paper handy, type them out in the comments below.