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Your Life Belongs to You

Will was happy, living in rural Arizona on a couple of acres with a garden and some chickens. He enjoyed his job as a surveyor with the county because it allowed him to be active and work outside.

The problem was that his older brother, an attorney in LA, couldn't accept Will's choices. Whenever they would talk, his brother would pressure Will to move to LA and get a job with a private firm as a civil engineer. It would pay more and be indoors, which is what his brother thought Will should want.

His brother couldn't understand why Will enjoyed the life he'd chosen. Even though they grew up in the same family, they had completely different values and tastes. While Will hated city life, with its crowds and unending pavement, his brother hated the rural environment of few restaurants and no nightlife. Will's brother simply could not accept that they were completely different people.

Do you have someone in your life who tries to control you and your choices? If you're lucky, after you state your case, they'll accept your life and leave you alone. Unfortunately, there may be times when friends or loved ones try to bully you to live your life their way. Or they'll try to shame you for your choices. And no matter how you explain your reasons, they don't understand or let it go. They just keep drilling on the subject.

They could feel uncomfortable because you won't comply with their standards. Many religions and cultures try to convince others to accept their doctrine and traditions. They use guilt, shame, hate speech and sometimes even lethal force to ensure that others submit to their beliefs. By using this kind of coercion, they show that their main motive is fear of anything different.

Or maybe there's some benefit for those close to you if you conform to the way they want you to live. If you did, you could provide support services or fulfill their fantasy of your relationship with them. No matter what the reason for their intimidation, they don't view you as a separate individual, with your own ideas, desires and values.

If you have someone in your life who has been trying to dominate you, stop trying to explain yourself. It won't do any good. Understanding your position isn't their priority. Controlling your life is their purpose, no matter how much you love them and they love you.

Stand in your power, and refuse to justify your position. When you're not defensive, it deflates their attempt to control you. They have no authority over you or your choices. And you don't need their approval. You have your own approval, which is most important to you.

Realize that they can't understand why you've made your choices. Not that they won't understand, they can't. Although they may think they know what's best for you, they're not you. They haven't had your experiences, the ones that caused you to think differently and make the life you now have. Even if they'd had the same situations, they could have made decisions other than yours. Their perception of events could have been contrary to yours.

To them, it's like you're speaking a different language. In a way, you are. Their need to be right ensures they won't be able to comprehend you. You have to be strong enough to stand up to them, not only for yourself, but for the relationship. Unless you do, you'll develop an aversion to spending any time with them.

The best thing you can do for yourself, and for them, is to give yourself permission to live the life that's right for you. As long as you're not doing harm to yourself or others (besides not acceding to their authority over you), you're fine living your life your way. It's your life. Not theirs. If there are any consequences, then you'll learn from them and do better.

Just as they have no right to dictate how you should live, you have no right to try to control their life. Their life is as appropriate for them, as yours is for you. Don't try to change them. They have their own lessons and situations to learn from.

Will understood this. When his brother would try to convince him to change his life, he ignored it and changed the subject. He loved his brother and knew that there couldn't be reasonable communication on the subject. He accepted himself, his choices, as well as his brother's choices. You have the power and the right to do the same.

Copyright © 2009-2023 Linda Ann Stewart
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As a focus coach, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart motivates women to focus and transform their business through deliberate actions that break through distraction and overwhelm to greater success, freedom, wellbeing and prosperity. Register for her FREE Design Your Best Day guide and guided meditation at You can contact her at or 928-600-0452.


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