All too often I run across women (and men) who are lost inside themselves.  I try to have a conversation with them and all they talk about is the other person - be it their spouse, child, boss or friend.  They don't know what they want to eat, where they want to go, and have no opinion on any topic  that is raised.  These people (although they may be oblivious) matter, too and they deserve to take back their power.

If you’ve been totally focused on keeping everyone in your circle content and happy, putting their needs before yours, over a long period of time, you may have forgotten who you are. I know that sounds strange to some, but it does happen. Because you want to please others, you might never voice your true opinion or honestly express yourself, so you eventually lose your true voice. You go along with everyone else's preferences so as to not make waves and ensure you keep the peace. Sound familiar? I know it does for a lot of people, especially women.  It seems we are so eager to please others that we often lose ourselves.  Then, we get to the point that we take on the thoughts, and even behaviors of others.

At some point, you stop and ask yourself - how did I get here?  Who am I? Where are my opinions, desires and dreams?  I can remember being so engrossed in a relationship that I could read the other person's facial expressions to know what he thought and then I would do my best to say or do what I thought he wanted.  That is pure co-dependency (dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person's poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement, etc.)!

  How do you get free from this co-dependent behavior?  The first step to take is to rediscover who you are.  Recognizing you have an opinion or preference on a topic under discussion is a giant step forward - you don’t have to say it out loud - just think it and that is the start to making a difference.

Another way to show that you matter is to take some time for yourself; enjoy the things that make you happy. Read a book, watch your favorite movie, take a walk or call an old friend.  These are the beginning of slowly making your wishes known to yourself, and then to others. Start small. Where you want to eat dinner. What you believe is the best course of action for a project at work. Where you want to go on vacation. What you want to watch on TV.  Once you feel safe pronouncing these opinions, step up to the next level until you can speak your truth on every topic without fear.

I know this sounds so easy for some people and that is great for you.  However, there are others who are struggling everyday to be themselves, to matter to themselves.  They have become lost in a maze of 'otherlings', people who they have given too much power in their lives.    It's time to stop!  It's time to take back your power and start by taking baby steps.  Each time you do, you will gain a sense of accomplishment and strength.  This will carry you to the next level until you are where you deserve to be - whole and free!  You can do this - I believe in you!

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