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Episode 43 – The #1 Thing That Will Keep You Stuck And Unable To Move Forward In Midlife

The #1 Thing That Will Keep You Stuck And Unable To Move Forward In Midlife

How will you get yourself unstuck from believing in other people's opinions of you?

Hey there Beautiful!

Today I’m going to tell you the tale of the ugly duckling. This tale begins as the ugly duckling enters her eighth year of her life which up until then had been swimming in happiness and love.

She attended Catholic school in her green and white plaid dress with a Peter Pan collared white shirt underneath. She wore her royal blue Zips sneakers with white ankle socks trimmed with lace that she believed helped her run faster out on the playground.

She was in the third grade at school and during the week of Christmas, the ugly duckling had two devastating events occur in her young life.

She got braces on her teeth and prescription glasses for her eyes. She went from blending in with the rest of the ducklings to being different.

She was teased for this difference constantly by the boy ducklings: “Brace Face!” “Metal Mouth!” “Four Eyes!”

These chants could be heard on the playground as well as in the classroom. The ugly duckling began to believe that she must be truly ugly since nothing she did to blend back in with the other ducklings worked. The unstoppable teasing continued.

The ugly duckling continues to try and fit in with those around her.

She left that Catholic school a few years later when her family decided to buy a house in another part of town, 20 minutes away. She attended junior high and again tried to blend in and make friends.

One day in class, a boy duckling asked her to take off her glasses to see what she looked like. She decided that there would be no harm and after she lowered the lens from her face, the boy duckling said to her,” Wow you look so much better with them off.” The ugly duckling quickly put them back on her face and murmured her thanks to the boy because what else could she have said in her stunned silence.

Once again her fear was confirmed by another duckling’s opinion; she was only pretty with her glasses off her face.

The ugly duckling begged her mother to allow her to get contact lenses. She pestered and pestered until one day her mother finally relented to allow her to get them. The ugly duckling couldn’t do anything about the braces since she still would have them for a few more years.

But maybe contact lens would help the ugly duckling fit in?

The ugly duckling got the contact lens during the summer before her eighth grade year of school. She was able to practice putting them in her eyes so she would be ready by the first day of school.

When she showed up on the first day, her confidence soared since so many other ducklings told her how much better she looked without her glasses.

Shockingly, even a male duck teacher told her how pretty she looked without her glasses. She made a vow to herself that day that she would ONLY wear her glasses at home with family or in front of female friends.

Her contact lens would be worn at all times, at school, at parties, going shopping, but especially around boys.

The ugly duckling finally believed she was beautiful.

But the self doubt was ALWAYS there!

Why didn’t boys ask her out in high school?

Why didn’t the boys that she like never like her back?

Why did the boys that did have the courage to ask her out were always the shy, nerdy ones that she didn’t like?

She kept not wearing her glasses at school just in case. Maybe it would get better once her braces came off her junior year?

Nope! No difference.

And the books that she was reading, especially the “Sweet Valley High” series did not help the matter since no boys acted like the ones in the books. In “Sweet Valley High” everyone seemed to be dating or had boyfriends but that definitely was not happening at her high school.

She made a promise to herself to never be seen in public with her glasses on but things changed in college.

This promise she made to herself held true until college when late nights and early morning classes clashed, only allowing her a few minutes to get ready in the morning. She began to wear her glasses more frequently and slowly realized that other ducks would talk to her even with her glasses on.

They didn’t seem to care one way or the other.

Male ducks talked to her and even asked her out. They didn’t make fun of her or call her names.

She slowly changed how she saw herself for the better.

And now at the age of 47 the once ugly duckling wears her glasses a major part of every day since the curse of dry eyes doesn’t allow her to wear contact lens while staring at a computer for too long.

Reading books is easier with glasses and not wearing contacts in the shower has allowed her to not worry if the tiles are entirely clean since her vision is so out of focus, she can’t see if they are clean or not!

Yes I can't fool you! The ugly duckling is me.

So if you haven’t already guessed, yes I was that ugly duckling.

The taunts that the boys, especially one boy in particular, made towards me and my metal mouth can still be recalled with startling accuracy.

I can’t remember where I parked by car in the Target parking lot 30 minutes ago but his voice, I can remember. I know that’s long term versus short term memory but you understand my frustration.

When did you believe that someone’s opinion turned into the truth?

What are the things that you hold onto?

What’s the thing that someone said to you that made you believe something that was untrue about you?

When did you believe that someone’s opinion turned into the truth?

When you look in the mirror are you truly seeing yourself for the wonderful person you are?

Or are you evaluating yourself based on the many, many opinions of other people that you have picked up over the years and are carrying around as absolute truths?

It just takes one time.

When you hang onto other people’s opinions as the absolute truth you are unable to move forward.

You won’t go out and do what you were meant to do because of a truth you chose to believe.

It just takes one time.

Just one time for another person’s opinion to be ingrained into your way of being that when you are presented with the opposite truth you won’t believe it.

You will waste so much time believing in their opinion that you will eventually feel frozen in place.

Imagine if J.K. Rowling decided to stop writing Harry Potter books after one rejection letter?

J.K. Rowling received dozens of rejection letters when she was trying to get her book published. One publishing executive wrote to her, “Children just aren't interested in Witches and Wizards anymore.”

Being told no is someone’s opinion.

It just takes one person to say yes.

Can you imagine if she gave up after receiving all of those rejection opinions? No Harry Potter? No Hermione? No Ron?

Imagine if Barbra Streisand decided to get her nose fixed and it changed her voice?

Barbra Streisand was constantly told she wasn’t pretty and to fix her nose because of the bump. I know I believed that since I was young when I first saw her in “Hello Dolly!” and unsure of my own beauty I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t fix it. I found out later that she didn’t fix it because she was too scared of the pain that would be involved.

Her mother on different occasions criticized her. When she came to see Barbra sing she said to her, “Your voice is very thin.“ Can you imagine if Barbra listened to her mother? If she listened to all the critics about her nose?

How we would have missed out on the movie “Hello Dolly?”

How we would have missed out on all of her music?

Be aware of when you're listening to someone's opinion and dissect it to uncover what is the truth.

You need to evaluate every thought you are having about yourself and then search your memories to see if there was that one time.

That one time in math class where the teacher told you that he had done everything that he could to help you but you just weren’t good at math.

That one time on the playground that the girl said to you that you looked funny when you ran.

That one time that you spoke up during a meeting and your boss pulled you aside afterwards to say that you don’t know how to make a good argument and come across as too abrasive.

That one time that your mother told you that you weren’t good at cooking and to stay out of the kitchen.

All of these examples are just someone’s opinion that you took as truth. You chose to believe in them and make them a part of who you are.

And now you tell people: I’m no good at math, I’m not a runner, I won’t speak up because I always get it wrong, I’m not a good cook, because you accepted it as fact it that then made it real to you.

Search through your memories to uncover the one time you chose to believe in someone's opinion.

As you start running through your memories and find a particular moment that changed everything, you will be able to free yourself from that belief and create new positive ones to help you move forward.

Ask yourself, am I 100% that way 100% of the time.

Am I 100% no good at math 100% of the time?

Am I 100% a bad speaker 100% of the time?

If you answer yes then you're wrong.

No one is 100% good or not good at a particular subject 100% of the time.

That’s impossible!

Because there’s always one time.

There are multiple times that you are really good at something that others have criticized you for but unless you take notice, you believe that you're bad at it 100% of the time.

You know what's coming next, right? Yes you have to forgive them.

Once you’ve identified that one time that someone gave you their opinion that you turned into a fact, you will need to figure out how to forgive that other person.

You will release the resentment because holding onto how they made you feel will hold you back from moving forward.

She was only seven years old when she told you that you looked funny when you ran. She has NO idea that what she said to you impacted you so much that you stopped running and made sure to never participate in sports where you had to run.

That teacher that told you math was not for you. He was tired and frustrated and has no idea how his words would become your truth that you never believe in yourself when it comes to keeping track of money since you’re “bad” at math.

Your boss was a jerk but because he was your boss, you automatically assumed he knew what he was talking about. But because he was a jerk about that and so many other things about the way he managed the department, he was a terrible boss. It’s only now you can see him for what he was since you no longer work for him and have a great boss to compare him to.

And yes, sometimes moms make mistakes. Some people are not good teachers and your mother telling you that you’re not a good cook DOES NOT mean you’re a bad cook. Maybe she was tired? Maybe she was a neat freak and can’t stand when other people make a mess of her kitchen. Or maybe, you were becoming a better cook than her and didn’t want you to share her spotlight.

You have to let go of any resentment you’re feeling towards that person.

And now you have to forgive yourself.

You will also forgive yourself for believing in their opinion for so long that it became your truth.

It’s easier to believe the ugly opinions about ourselves from other people than the beautiful truths that we know in our hearts.

You are the only one who can choose what to believe.

Your brain will always show you examples of when you messed up because it’s trying to protect you from possibly having to go through the pain again. But that does not give you the right to then avoid all things that you perceive may make you uncomfortable.

Being uncomfortable just means you are about to learn some great stuff about yourself and grow in a whole new way. As you get better at recognizing other people’s opinions as just opinions and not truths you will feel empowered. Those criticisms will just roll off your back as you keep taking steps to reach your goals.

The most important thing is to love and believe in yourself because if you don’t, a little part of you will always believe in the other person’s opinion and take it as a criticism.

When someone tells you no, you can't do something, that is the worst sort of criticism.

And watch out for those people that tell you no. Being told no is definitely someone’s opinion.

No, you shouldn’t go back to school because you’re too old.

No, you will never open your own boutique clothing store because what do you know about fashion?

No, the world doesn’t need you to write another cookbook. There’s already so many cookbooks out there to choose from.

No, you shouldn’t travel by yourself because it’s dangerous.

Watch out for the speed I will use to prove someone else wrong for telling me no!

When someone tells me no I can’t do something because of their opinion based on their personal experience, and it’s something that I really, really want to do, I imagine the word “NO!” in my head.

The “NO!” is in shouty capital letters with an exclamation point to further look intimidating to me.

I then say to myself, “Get out of the way because I’m either going over, under, around, or right through their “NO!” opinion and show them.

Hearing “NO!” gets me more determined to prove to myself that I can do it.

So remember, don’t turn other people’s opinions into what you believe about yourself and become your truth. You will be limiting yourself from new opportunities and possibilities.

Now if you haven’t done it yet. Be sure to join my Facebook Group, the Kids Are Grown, NOW WHAT? Community to give and take support from a group of wonderful women. And after you join, if you feel like sharing, no pressure to do so, tell us one thing you discovered that you accepted as truth that originally was someone else’s opinion. And then tell us what you’re going to do about it!

I’ll talk to you later Beautiful!

This page contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation from the sale of certain items.

Thanks for listening!

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Alice Agnello, Lifestyle and Success Coach

I'm Alice Agnello.

I’m a California raised, incurable romantic who was too snarky for the corporate world. I love show tunes, chai tea, and all things British. My mission? To help women rediscover who they are, after their kids have grown.

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Download the FREE guide to 5 Things You Can Do This Week To Help Find Yourself. You are ready to take this next step now that the kids have grown.

The guide will help you:

→  Work on your mindset so you can recognize negative thoughts and work to quiet them.

→  Help figure out what’s bothering you and know it’s okay to go at your own pace.

→ Understand that taking care of yourself is the most important person in your life and to release the guilt.

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Before you go, get the Guide!

Download the FREE guide to 5 Things You Can Do This Week To Help Find Yourself. You are ready to take this next step now that the kids have grown.

The guide will help you:

→  Work on your mindset so you can recognize negative thoughts and work to quiet them.

→  Help figure out what’s bothering you and know it’s okay to go at your own pace.

→ Understand that taking care of yourself is the most important person in your life and to release the guilt.

Sign up to receive my whitty newsletters, tips & tricks, promotions, & other emails, & receive this free guide!