Here's an interesting thing. As we clear up the habits of thought that have kept us stuck, many clients will get to a point where they know exactly what it is that they need to do to be happier.
Quit that job. Leave that girlfriend. Move to the country. Quit that toxic friendship. Retrain as a nurse. Downsize the house. Start a new business.
They get to a point of clarity where they just know it's the right move. They can feel it in their bones. They are ready for that new shiny life. Yes! And then, at the moment of leaping, sometimes they just don't. They stay stalled, teetering on the edge.
"What's stopping you?" I say "Is this not what you want?"
"Oh yes, absolutely, I know it's 110 per cent what I want. I know it's the right next thing for me. I've put all the plans in place, the finances are sorted, everything's ready to go."
"Right. So, what's stopping you?"
"Well ... I don't think my parents will approve."
I can't tell you how many people stay in a situation that is not right for them because they don't want to lose the approval of their parents. From students doing a degree they hate, to professionals slogging up a career ladder that is high in following in familial footsteps but low in personal satisfaction, right through to people in their 60s with grown-up children choosing not to make the retirement move that they want because of what mother might say. This fear of losing love because we may not get approval is very, very real and it can stop us in our tracks.
Of course we want approval and of course life is easier that way. As grown adults, however, we can choose to move past the outdated habit of thought that may no longer be serving us, keeping us trapped in a situation that is not right for us.
Viewing parental approval as a "nice to have" rather than a "mandatory" requirement for change is a step towards freedom and our happiest life.
After all, we cannot control someone else's reaction to what we choose to do.
Their reaction is theirs, they can choose to approve, or not. That's actually their business and we should leave it to them. It doesn't mean they don't love us, or us them.
The important thing is that YOU love and approve of the choices you are making in your life. Choose with clarity and conviction no matter how incomprehensible that might seem to others. Because here's the thing: when you truly love the choices you make, you find you need others to approve a whole lot less.
Are there choices you are avoiding making because of fear of lack of parental approval? Make a list. You are a grown adult, so start viewing approval as a "nice to have" rather than "must have" and start opening up the possibilities.
Louise Thompson is a life coach, yoga teacher and corporate escapee. For more from Louise visit positivebalance.co.nz