Do you ever feel weighed down by what other people want from you? This is what happens when your expectations are at odds with that of those around you. In this article, we will discuss some common problems people face when managing differing opinions and give you some tips on how to take your life back into your own hands and start living full out.

Often, when two people have different, but unspoken, ideas about the way things should work, it leads to conflict. For example, perhaps you’ve just moved in with your lover and you seem to be constantly getting into arguments over things you thought were obvious, like who does what household chore or what way to hang a new roll of toilet paper. Maybe at work, you’re assigned to work on a project with a coworker, but the two of you keep running into roadblocks because you disagree on the best way to approach the job. Within your immediate family, you may fight with a parent about ways to dress or act in various social settings, your generation’s ideals clashing with theirs. All of these struggles are based in little assumptions you adopted from the environment you grew up in. Everyone has these predetermined ideas about the world, but you may be unaware of them until you meet someone with a different viewpoint.

The best thing to do in these sorts of situations is prevent them by making sure to be open about your intentions from the start and encouraging the other person to do the same. However, sometimes these sorts of misunderstandings happen before you get the chance to set clear expectations or before you realize you and your friend have different points of view. In that case, your priority is to mend the relationship. Contact your friend, coworker, spouse, or whoever it may be, and tell them how you feel. Make sure to be considerate, though; instead of monopolizing the conversation, ask for their viewpoint and listen attentively to what they have to say. Work to come up with a compromise that both of you are happy with.

For these conversations, you may want to make sure to use a mode of contact both parties are comfortable with. This may be face-to-face, over the phone, by email, etc.—whatever way you think is best, though we would recommend that for important interactions like this one, you avoid sending them via text or social media. It’s normally better to opt for more personal modes of communication when it comes to serious conversations. 

In most situations, talking it out is effective, but sometimes you will run into problems that are difficult or impossible to resolve with conversation alone. Suggestions may be coming from so many different people that you are unable to find an adequate compromise, leaving you feeling powerless. For example, maybe you’ve been in a relationship with the same person for a while now and your friends and family have started asking you when you’re going to get married. Or it might be the opposite, that you’ve been single for a long time and people are pressuring you to find someone. It could be that your workload is becoming unmanageable, your boss continuing to pile more and more responsibilities on your shoulders. Or perhaps you’re burdened by the weight of societal expectations, pushing you to be smarter, prettier, bolder, more athletic, and you’re starting to lose sight of your personal desires. In the face of all that pressure, it’s easy to feel paralyzed. 

The first step to getting past this fear is by accepting that it is impossible to please everyone. Instead, focus on doing what makes you happy. After all, it’s your life, and those around you have their own lives to live. Worrying about people disliking your decisions is wasting time that you could be spending on activities you enjoy. 

With everything you do in life, you will have naysayers and supporters, but that is out of your control. Your power is over your own actions and thoughts. When you’re doing something because you want to rather than because you think it’s what the world expects from you, you’ll be happier and feel more fulfilled.

So maybe you’ve accepted the futility of trying to please everyone. You’ve decided to focus on yourself instead, but you still fret about how society will view your actions. Perhaps you try to ignore those concerns, but they keep coming back. That’s because when you push thoughts away, you’re sending them into hiding rather than releasing them. Each time you evade a pessimistic idea, the pile of negativity in your brain gets taller, until eventually, in the most inopportune of moments, it topples over and mixes with all the other thought piles in your head.

Our advice is whenever those worries come, take a mental step back. Ask yourself what you want. Then objectively consider whether that would be a positive and productive addition to your own life. If it is, then let the uncertainty slide away. By doing this, you are acknowledging that the concern is there without letting it send you into a spiral of self-doubt. Avoiding the things that make you anxious will lead to bigger problems down the road. It’s better to be mindful of your feelings, consider them seriously for a moment, and let the harmful ones go.

Presumptions can be a huge weight in our lives, causing problems in our relationships and leaving us to feel like we are useless. Today we’ve given you tips on how to rise above those issues. Remember, by being mindful and proactive in dealing with others’ ideas for your life, you can set yourself on the path to success and live full out.

Contributing Author: Ariel Zinkan