When it comes time to send our kiddos off to college, I feel like I speak for most parents when I say that we always have an input or two. The location, distance, or majors that are offered - whatever it may be. Like most families, we went through the process with my daughter of choosing which college she wanted to go to, attended campus tours, and did just about everything we could to ensure she was making the best decision for herself. My husband had suggested a school to her that he really thought would be a good fit for her, and in the end, that was the college she chose. She said she genuinely wanted to go, and we were rooting for her all the way!
Now here comes the twist…
Whether she made the decision to attend this college in haste or by the unnoticed pressure of wanting to make a decision based on someone else’s opinion whom she admired, things, unfortunately, did not pan out for her in the way that any of us had hoped. After a while, she became miserable, and it started taking a toll on her mental health. Try as she might, she kept trying to sit in the ‘muck,’ as I like to call it, but nothing about the situation ever became positive. She didn’t enjoy the atmosphere or how she had to travel the entire day to get home, which eventually manifested into her wanting to transfer to a school back home. In short, before that last decision, she didn’t listen to herself well.
After our conversation, the idea dawned on me that many times, in whatever we do, we make decisions based on the pressure we feel from someone else’s opinions or journey. I’m sure you’re pinpointing a scenario just like this that has influenced your life somehow. Often, we don’t even realize that we’re doing it! We also fail to listen to ourselves.
There are many ways we can begin to listen to ourselves better, but the first step is to self- evaluate. Self-evaluation is the ability to examine yourself to find out how much progress you have made by monitoring your own abilities to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses while being in charge of your own development. As human beings, we have to be able to listen to ourselves before we can actively listen to those around us, whether that’s in the workplace or at home with our family.
So ask yourself:
- Am I in the right place right now?
- Am I happy with where I’m at?
- Am I satisfied with my job or current role?
- Am I feeling shame for wanting to leave or change pace?
- Am I allowing others to influence my decisions?
This is the time to dig deep to decide whether you’re happy where you’re at or if you’re just staying because you think you should. First, it’s important to recognize why you’re deciding on what it is you’re deciding. Meaning, are you making those decisions based upon the opinions of others or because it’s the more ‘popular’ thing to do? Self-evaluating will help you pinpoint if you’re making these choices because it’s what YOU genuinely want or due to the influence of another party.
After you’ve evaluated, check your gut and tune into your self awareness. How aware are you of where you’re currently at? How do you feel about your current environment? If you can’t seem to find an answer to these questions, take some time to meditate or be in a quiet place. Finding the time to quiet ourselves and remove the noise that can manipulate our decision-making skills will help you find a better solution to moving from where you’re at to where you want to be.
Don’t Do It Alone
Another option is to consider getting an accountability coach. This is a great objective way to help you make decisions based on logic and facts by removing the emotion. Similar to making a pros and cons list (which you just may do with a coach), this will help you be able to look at both sides of the coin with an unbiased opinion.
The Wrap Up
Like always, my children teach me just as much as I teach them - in this case listening to ourselves and creating the solutions within ourselves. So when my daughter came to me and said that she needed to listen to herself and make her own decision about finding a new school to attend, we fully supported her. I was proud that she listened to herself and assessed her situation to know that instead of staying the course, she needed to move into an area where she could succeed instead of believing she had failed. There is always success to be found inside of us. We just have to be willing to listen closely to understand ourselves and act on it.
2 thoughts on “What My Teenage Daughter Taught Me About Listening to Ourselves”
Thank you for sharing! Very helpful as I self-reflect and emotionally prepare for life to change with daughter heading to college in the Fall. What resonates with me in this piece, applicable to my love of leadership of a team I am so grateful to have, is below. If you believe in the trickle down effect of leaders then this piece of advice is something many should seriously consider:
“Finding the time to quiet ourselves and remove the noise that can manipulate our decision-making skills will help you find a better solution to moving from where you’re at to where you want to be.”
It’s always my pleasure! I love being able to share my personal stories with you all, with the hopes it’ll help at least one person. Wishing you the best of luck!