To Think For Yourself
Monday July 18, 2011

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“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.”
~Carol Burnett

Have you ever behaved in a way or made a decision that in hindsight you asked yourself, “Why did I do that, that’s not who I am or what I believe”? Or maybe you simply did something because it was without resistance, but for some reason it didn’t sit well with your gut. If this has ever happened to you, and I would imagine almost everyone will admit it has – either as a child or an adult, or both, it is not something to beat yourself up about, but instead an opportunity to listen to that quiet whisper that is trying to tell you a truth about yourself regarding what direction to proceed in to achieve your very own fulfillment.

One of the major premises of The Simply Luxurious Life is to live a life that is void of simply following or being led around by the nose. As humans, our experiences mold us into who we are today, how we perceive things, how we understand and interpret things, but to live consciously is to recognize when we are thinking for ourselves and when we are acting based on early influences in our lives or other manipulations and impressions left upon us by others or society.

This is not an easy thing to decipher as each one of us is the only witness to our life’s experiences; however, I suggest that you take some time to be with yourself and ask yourself what you believe and why you believe it, and why you live the way you do and what caused you to desire or create such a life.  To help you out, here is a list of potential influencers, most of which you will notice come from your childhood, but they certainly continue into adulthood.

Potential Influencers:

  • female figures in your early adolescents for women and vice versa for men
  • siblings – their behavior, their treatment of you, your interactions with them
  • how you interacted with men and women as a child
  • how you allowed yourself to be treated
  • what you did to receive praise
  • what you did to receive punishment
  • religious beliefs/traditions
  • the community you grew up in (what was acceptable, what was frowned upon)
  • the tone or mood that permeated your household
  • how problems were addressed
  • the media you watch
  • significant events in your life (good and bad)
  • books you read
  • images in magazines you regularly were exposed to
  • mentors in your professional field
  • interactions with peers as a child/teenager and as an adult

Once you have nailed down why you are more inclined to be guarded, positive, resilient, outgoing – however you describe yourself, then ask if you feel such behavior is helping or hurting you live your most fulfilled life.

For example, being compassionate and hopeful are clearly two attributes that would help build a sound foundation and future, while others may not such as cynicism and passive aggressiveness. Dig within yourself, be honest with yourself and be willing to ask yourself the tough questions.

Now I am no therapist and will not pretend to be, but sometimes we can transform our own lives rather easily by taking the time to look inward, be honest with ourselves and then finding the strength to make the change that is necessary.

Below is a list of a few ways to take back the control and cut the strings from the influences you might have realized are not serving to better your life:

How to Take Back Control:

*Have a positive attitude.

*Explore on your own without outsider dialogue – What are you drawn to? What captures your attention?

*Choose to surround yourself with like minded people.

*If a tradition doesn’t work for you, let it go. Or if you’re on the fence, ask yourself why.

*Family doesn’t have to be blood – if they aren’t supportive and respectful of you, give yourself some space.

*Respect your feelings – simply by you feeling them is the only reason you need.

*Educate yourself. Remember knowledge is power. You can’t be manipulated and lied to if you know the truth.

*When someone asks for something, instead of agreeing immediately, respond with, “I’ll get back to you.” This gives you time to think rationally about what it is they want and why, and whether or not you should get involved or not.

*Listen to your own voice – learn to trust it.

*Do something for someone just because – not expecting anything in return, otherwise you’re giving them another headache.

*Same goes for when someone does something for you just because. You are not obligated to do something in return. A thank you note is all. Pay it forward to someone else in need instead.

*Believe in yourself, so that other’s can as well.

*Stop whining and start doing.

*Get a journal and write your thoughts, worries and woes down. Feel those feelings fully (good or bad) and then let them go.  Move forward.

*You are capable of more than you believe.

*Be brave.

“You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.”
~Anthony Robbins | The Simply Luxurious Life

13 thoughts on “To Think For Yourself

  1. I routinely review these inspiring articles over lunch, when I have time to think for myself. This is especially wonderful, Shannon, thanks for sharing. Terrific!
    Warmly, Kay

  2. “if a tradtion doesn’t work for you let it go”…yes, yes, yes. Ask yourself why it is a tradition in the first place…sometimes the answers might surprise you!

  3. An invaluable post that digs deep into why we do the things we do. So much of our present is filtered through our past and unless we take time to really examine our motives, we can get stuck in the same patterns. After a series of unhealthy relationships, I decided to take a year out to get to know myself better and the hiatus is almost over and I am so glad I did it! I have learned to set boundaries with men and created some distance between myself and people who are less than supportive.

  4. Shannon, I discovered your blog only a few week ago through a friend. To her I am grateful. To you I am even more so. I have been pouring through your posts and cannot begin to tell you how much inspiration I have felt thus far – and I’ve only scratched the surface. I just wanted to you know that you have gained another loyal follower who is incredibly appreciative of your astoundingly fabulous blog!

  5. I don’t know how I found this blog, but whatever led me here, I am so grateful. I can tell from reading this first post that I need to be here. Thanks.

  6. I found your blog cause I bought a Parisian Chic book last month, when I checked the website. Amazing…, I really can’t wait for your next newsletter, and classy advise…Thanks.

  7. I love this as I do most of your blogs…. I have a recovery based business and find your blog posts so inspirational I often send them on to my clients…

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