For years, I’ve often felt like the outsider. Not one of the cool kids in school. Not part of the in crowd. The MBA graduate who’s definitely not pursuing the typical MBA path – and definitely, at least to this point, without the typical MBA paycheque and back account. Still not married at a much older age than most women in my community. Not yet a mother. An entrepreneur who dreamed of making a living from her own business now looking for a “real” job, taking a step back – for now – from her entrepreneurial dream.

And it’s recently been brought to my attention that this vision of how I see myself is exactly that – how I SEE myself. It’s my PERCEPTION, what I choose to focus on in my life, not necessarily an accurate picture of my actual life.

I could completely rewrite the opening paragraph, focusing on how I’ve been committed to staying true to my values, not giving up who I am just to fit in. The MBA graduate who’s following her dreams and her heart, meeting and connecting with amazing women who are following their life’s purpose to the best of their abilities. The woman growing in personal development all the time, preparing herself to meet the man who will love, appreciate and respect her for all she is and with whom she will, G-d willing, raise a family. The entrepreneur whose career path is full of twists and turns but who is always on the path of her dreams, even if it doesn’t always seem like it. The woman who sees the hand of G-d running her life for her ultimate good. The woman whose only responsibility is to do the best she can while having faith, all without evaluating herself by some expected or desired result.

But while this is sometimes how I feel, if I’m being completely honest I would have to say that this isn’t always my perception.

Sometimes I wallow in self-pity. I’ve worn the outsider label almost as a badge of honour while feeling sadness and loneliness at not being more included and feeling like I haven’t measured up to some external standard or timeline. It’s because I’m not like everyone else, I would tell myself, and I’m proud of it.

I’ve let the “lack” of external “results” weigh me down, making me question where I’ve gone wrong, what I’ve done wrong, where I’m still doing “wrong”. I sometimes question my decisions and second guess myself on choices I made years ago. I wonder what my life would be like “if only” I’d followed a different fork in the road. I subconsciously allow perceived slights from years ago impact me today.

I pursued a career in coaching to help women feeling a lot like what I’ve just described, and then I wondered who was I to think I could help when these feelings still sit within me. Then I think who better to understand than someone who’s been there herself?

I didn’t realize until recently how much impact this feeling was having on me and the choices I make.
I’ve been focusing more on what I feel I’ve been missing instead of focusing on the amazing women I’m blessed to be friends with, some new, some for years. I’ve subconsciously seemingly ignored all the groups I’m part of. I’ve focused on what hasn’t “worked” the way I would have liked instead of focusing on and being deeply grateful for the wonderful opportunities G-d has put in my path. I somehow discount their importance when, in fact, these people and opportunities are all SO important to me and make up a central part of my life.

Now let me ask you – What are you focusing on that leaves you feeling sad, lonely or disadvantaged in some way? What could you start focusing on instead to help fill you with more gratitude and energy to make more positive choices in the future?

Where are you making limiting choices out of fear or self-doubt? What impact is this having on your life as a whole and, more specifically, on how you feel about yourself deep within?

Where can you make emotionally healthier choices starting right now?

Author's Bio: 

Elizabeth Spevack is the founder of Heart and Soul Living. Elizabeth specializes in empowering women by helping them refocus on their strengths, dreams and goals instead of letting their anxiety and fear run the show. Her passion is helping women who long to be more realize they are more than enough even when they are not perfect and to help them dream big and take steps towards their unlikeliest of goals. Having lived with anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder for years, Elizabeth loves to connect deeply with others and help them break down the walls that have been keeping them stuck.