How Do You Know When It’s Time to Make a Change?
When you’re a mom, other people really like to have opinions about what you’re doing with your life. If you work outside the home, people wonder — sometimes out loud — Why aren’t you staying home and doing what’s best for your children? If you stay at home with your kids, people wonder — also out loud — Why aren’t you working and contributing to society?
If you’re anything like me, these judgments can sometimes get to you.
It can be easy to fall into extreme reactions, making it either all about us — I must be making terrible life choices! — or all about them — They’re just projecting their own hang-ups!
But the truth might lie somewhere in the middle.
Other people do sometimes project their own values and insecurities onto us. And since we care about what other people think of us, we feel bad when they judge, even when it’s not about us. So, when we feel bad in response to others’ comments, we need to consider the possibility that this feeling is more a reflection of our aversion to being judged than a reflection of our poor life choices. Sometimes it’s not about us; it’s just about them.
But, sometimes it is about us. And if we direct all of our attention on the other person, we might miss an important opportunity to discover what we really want.
So, before we just push our negative feelings off onto the other person, we should look more closely at these feelings. Do these negative feelings run deeper than social criticism? Do we also feel unsettled about the choices that they’re judging? If so, we shouldn’t ignore these feelings.
Because here’s the thing:
This doesn’t mean that we initially made a bad choice. It could mean that our circumstances have changed and what was originally a good choice just doesn’t work for us anymore.
So, it’s time to ask yourself:
- Have your circumstances changed?
- Do you have more or fewer or different obligations than you had before?
- Do you have new interests or skills you can apply?
- Are you still benefiting others?
- Are you still being fulfilled by your current role?
- Do you need a new challenge?
As painful and unnerving as it can be to question our life choices, these feelings can be key to knowing when it’s time for a change.
So, next time you find yourself feeling bad when someone comments on your life choices, think carefully about whether it’s about you or about them. Take advantage of the opportunity to look closely at your feelings. They just might tell you that you are ready for a change.
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