Who Knows What's Best For Me?

Other people’s experiences and opinions belong only to them. They may not fit you and your circumstances at all. It’s time to practice ‘tuning in’ to your own gut feelings and instincts, and to trust yourself and ‘know’ what’s right for you … and your baby.

Go to the profile of Maxine Harley
Jan 30, 2017
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Q I never seem to know my own mind, and I get swayed by what other people say I should do. This caused me problems in my teens when I was always getting into trouble and taking the blame for other people so that they would like me and let me hang around with them.

I know that sounds pathetic and I really want to stop doing it because I’m expecting a baby now, and I don’t want my child to be like me.

I’m hearing different advice about what I should and shouldn’t do now that I’m pregnant, and for when the baby arrives, and I’m getting so confused and angry! I don’t know who I am or what I think is best for me. What can I do to stop being swayed by what everyone else says I should do?

A It can be hard to know what we want and harder still to assert that - if we aren't used to doing so.

I can’t help but wonder what your parents would say about what you ‘should do’. (Whether they are alive and in contact with you or not, you still carry something of them – and their likely responses – around inside your mind.)

The reason I say that is because I suspect that they may have dominated and suppressed you as a child, and were too intrusive and either did, or arranged, everything for you back then. If so they probably told you what you should be thinking, feeling and doing.

If not, perhaps they were negligent and didn't give you enough guidance and support to think and form opinions for yourself.

They may have been well-meaning but misguided.

Either way it seems that you haven’t (yet) developed your own clear identity and personal boundaries, or to ‘know your own mind’.

Instead you ‘tag along’ with what others do and say.

I can imagine that you felt a need to belong and to be accepted and allowed to join in with your peers – but that came at a personal cost to you… of not asserting yourself and your unique identity/opinions/likes/wants/preferences etc.

I’m guessing that you’ve become compliant due to your fear of being rejected by others and of then feeling isolated and disliked. No healthy-minded person wants to feel that.

Other people’s experiences and opinions belong only to them. They may not fit you and your circumstances at all. It’s time to practice ‘tuning in’ to your own gut feelings and instincts, and to trust yourself and ‘know’ what’s right for you … and your baby.

Your child will need for you to be a strong, reliable, predictable and stable adult… not an insecure child-adult who looks for someone else to think for them or tell them what to do.

Your child will grow up to idealise and copy you (assuming you do a good enough job – which isn’t too hard to do).

Keeping that in the forefront of your mind will, I hope, keep you focused and strong enough to take that ‘compliant little girl’ mask off ,and to show up as the more secure and grounded ‘grown up’ version of yourself.

I suspect the anger you feel includes some towards yourself. I hope you can now change that into compassion for the little girl you once were, who struggled to know her own mind, and what she wanted or needed for herself, and to be able to express that.

You may not have been taught or encouraged to stand up for yourself and assert your boundaries but that can change – from today.

A good starting point would be to practice saying these assertive phrases...

  • I hear what you’re saying and I’ll give it some thought
  • I haven’t made my own mind up yet
  • I’ll get back to you when I’ve decided what I want to do
  • Thanks for sharing your opinion with me, it helps me to focus upon what my own opinion is

Start with small steps and with the easiest person to assert yourself with, and build up from there.

If your parents are still alive and involved in your pregnancy and birth then tackling them may require that you build up your assertiveness muscles with other people first.

Our parents can be the hardest to have a different pattern of dialogue with!

YOU are the expert on you… and YOU know what’s best for you…take that from me!

Maxine Harley (MSc Psychotherapy) - MIND HEALER & MENTOR

www.maxineharley.com - where you will find lots of FREE resources (inc e-booklets and videos) to help you to grow beyond your childhood conditioning, and limiting beliefs and behaviours.

www.maxineharleymentoring.com - helping women to understand and manage their emotions, boundaries and behaviours...to FEEL better, so they can BE, DO and HAVE better in their lives.

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Maxine Harley


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