A friend and colleague of mine, Elly Jolly of JollyLife Coaching, recently posted a video on the topic of puppets on her Facebook page. She talked about how puppets are figures that appear to be real or moving on their own, yet in reality, are controlled by someone who holds the strings.
Elly gave examples of how our emotions and self esteem are often determined by how others relate to us. For example, if someone tells me that I look lovely or that the top I have chosen to wear really suits me, I tend to feel good about myself and my self-confidence increases. Yet, if someone tells me how tired and exhausted, I look, my energy levels and self-confidence go down and I can even start to question myself.
Elly also made a point about so many of us working for companies or organisations that may pay us well, but also demand long hours, absolute dedication to the company’s values and goals and consistent meeting or exceeding of targets. And how difficult it can be to break free from this cycle, especially when we have families to feed and mortgages or rents to pay.
As I listened to Elly’s recording, I started to wonder how my strings were being pulled. Whilst I no longer work for someone else, I realised that for much of life, I have allowed other people’s opinions of me control how I show up in the world. I have let the fear of being criticised or laughed at – or being called crazy – stop me from fulfilling my dreams and truly speaking my truth and walking my path.
I have kept myself small for fear of perceived repercussions, many of which stem from beliefs taken on early on in my childhood (‘I am not good enough’, ‘my voice does not matter’ etc.), and many of which have been taken on from my parents or grandparents (or beyond).
I have also become increasingly aware of the collective experience of women all around the world, in which standing strong in our power, speaking our minds and staying true to our feminine essence, have been dangerous and often had serious consequences (think about the witch hunts, for example!).
So, my strings have been pulled and controlled by perceived (or in many cases real) opinions of other people about me! And the funny thing is, I have no control over those opinions – no matter what I do or how ever much I try to please those people. The only thing I can control is how I relate to others and to what extent I allow other people’s opinions to influence me.
Learning to let go of the need to please others and to be liked by everyone has been a hugely transformational experience for me and it has allowed me to step up and start to share what is important to me on a larger scale than ever before.
How does this relate to your life? How are you being a puppet? Who or what controls your strings?