Puppet on a string

If you were asked who knows you best, who can tell you who you are, who knows how to make you feel good, and who can tell you what’s right and wrong for you, what would your answer be? If it doesn’t start and end with you, it’s saying that you have designated someone, possibly even a few or many people, to be the expert(s) on you.

They are your thought leader, opinion maker, instruction manual, personal mission statement, evaluator, coach, quality assurer, armchair psychologist, consultant, and authority on you. They are your designated expert.

It’s good to have people in your life that you have mutually fulfilling relationships with that you can bounce ideas back and forth with, seek advice, listen to feedback, and feel a high level of trust in that what they say is with careful consideration and thought that has you and your best interests at the heart of it – but they can’t live your life for you. They can’t make you ‘whole’, tell you how to be ‘good enough’, and do all the hard work of figuring out your life for you and making it all right. Even if they can help on this front, you still have to do the grunt work.

You can of course pay people for their expertise or find authorities on certain aspects of your life such as career, interests etc, but even then, aside from ensuring that they are qualified, authoritative and capable of their role, they still can’t create your life for you because you are the one who has to reflect their guidance in your actions and mentality plus you would still have the right to tweak and customise to suit you.

When couples assume that they know it all, they become complacent, forgetting that while it won’t be at the same rate as it was in the early days, that there’s always new things to be learned about our partners.

When individuals assume that others know it all, they become helpless and dependent on external sources of validation, which is like living your life hooked up to a ventilator or life support – you’re letting other people do your functioning for you. Lose them, lose your purpose, lose your identity.

What I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt is that only someone who is shady would be happy occupying the expert role in your life on a full time basis – for everyone else it starts to feel exhausting, draining and even suffocating. People who genuinely love, care about, and respect you, will want you to make up your own mind and for you to be you…not them.

Ironically, some of the very people that you seek ‘expertise’ from are not even experts in their own lives. There’s a disconnect between their actions, words, and values they profess to have and they’re possibly even deluded about who they really are – they may think that the sun shines out of their ass, possibly because you’ve stuck a pump up there and keep inflating them into someone who they’re not, which will only be exacerbated by you anointing them as an expert. It’s also why you won’t see through their bullshit because you’ll be too busy idolising them and imagining being a ‘better’ person by proxy.

There’s nothing more uncertain than a life based on the whims, opinions and agendas of other people.

If you offload the highest ranking expert role to other people, you immediately communicate that your own mind and opinion has no value. If you offload the responsibility to people who are actually under-qualified to be an expert on you in the first place, you also communicate that you’re malleable and an ideal ‘mark’ for being taken advantage of, or even abused.

I have people around me that know me very well and who I trust, but I know me and my own mind and have a final say on who I am and what I do. Any choices I make, any perception I have of me, is rooted in what I have learned about me. People can tell me things, but I’m not so desperate to offload my interior that I can be told something and then shelve my own thoughts to replace them with someone else’s.

Who are you giving the final say on who you are and what you do to? If you are in unhealthy relationships and are unhappy, you are giving everyone else but yourself the final say. You are not making your decisions and you’re not validating you.

Bearing in mind how caught up we all are in ourselves, it’s also important to remember that often, people who struggle with empathy, will tell you what to be and do based on their own insecurities instead of thinking of you.

If you don’t know who you are, and you’d be amazed at the sheer volume of people that admit this to me, it’s time you found out. Fast. Many people when given the chance to sit with their own thoughts and spend time in their own company, get ‘itchy’ and have to seek out something external to scratch it…and wind up in problems again.

If you can’t take the time to spend 3, 6 or even 12 months making a positive investment in you by getting to know you and building upon what you learn, you have no business chasing a relationship – it’s the equivalent of chasing someone to mould you. It’s also desperate.

Show up as a fully formed person instead of someone with a person shaped hole. Be the lead expert on you.

Open up your mind and become acquainted with all of your feelings, good, bad, and indifferent. Discover what you want to be, where you want to go, what you want to do, and how you’re going to get there. What are your values? Find out and then look at the ways in which you can live a life that reflects those values. Boundaries?

What makes you happy? What makes you sad? What doesn’t work for you? You have a life resume to work from to give you some vital clues. Think of times that you’ve been really happy for more than a few moments – write them down. Why were you happy? Are there other times that you’ve felt similarly? Do you have hobbies, interests, ambitions, plans, goals? Have you forgotten these while chasing tail and validation? If you have none of these, get them.

What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? We all have them – accepting that you have them and working with them to lessen the impact and even improve them is pivotal instead of writing yourself off. Learn how to make a decision. Find out what your ‘hooks’ are so that you recognise where you need to be extra self-aware.

Ask yourself:

What have I done for me lately?

What do I think, need and want? You do know that it’s not just about what others think, need, and want…don’t you?

Be committed to you because being an expert at anything requires commitment, which is all the more reason why you should never allow someone who isn’t a committed, loving, caring, trustworthy stakeholder in a relationship with you, whether it’s in a friendly, familial, or romantic relationship capacity, have any expertise and decision making responsibilities in your life, unless they’re going to give you the down low on how to get rid of them out of your life…

If you’re trying to have relationships without your own life in hand, you’re effectively looking around for someone to make your life for you – that’s just too much to expect. Become the expert on you and stop letting everyone else pull your strings – if anyone is going to have their hand up the backside of your life and be behind the controls, it’s got to be you.

Your thoughts?
Check out my book and ebook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl in my bookshop.

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