There are people who read “Designing Your Ideal Life,” who write to me asking how they can cut the ties with negative people in our lives or even with people who have long left their life or even passed away!

It is not all that surprising from my perspective. The strong influences on our lives, positive and negative, have the ability to lift us or to fill us with shame and feelings of failure.

It is essential to break the negative ties and to understand we can get by in better shape by ourselves than it is to keep negative people we are “beholden to” in our lives.

To break the ties, it is often our responsibility to push through the conditioning we have experienced from our families, old friends and other influences that made sure we always fit in, and got along with everyone else, rather than realizing our own power.

You are unique

We are all unique individuals and each of us has something important to say and something important to contribute. However, we often don’t realize that we are that way, or we look for past influences to blame, rather than examining on our own choices.

We have numerous choices to make in life and who we are today, does not have to define us for the rest of our lives, no matter our age.

I know people who blame their dead-end jobs on the political party in power. I know people who blame their relationships, their salaries or their attitude on parents who died decades ago. I would urge those people to stop feeling beholden to others. The voices of the past can only hurt you if you let them.

Suppose in your last job you were terminated for any number of reasons, or left by “mutual agreement.” Perhaps you made some mistakes, said the wrong things or committed an infraction of company policy. The shame and humiliation of that termination haunt you; the people who terminated you, or made it uncomfortable for you, “whisper” into your ear nearly every day, and “tell you” that you can never succeed again.

Let’s say you were raised by good, well-meaning but frightened people, you convinced you that success was for “other people” with “better education” and with “more money and class.”

In both, very different cases, you may be feeling that you cannot succeed or could never succeed again. I would disagree on both counts.

If you made some mistakes in a prior employment situation, learn from them, overcome them, and don’t let that situation define you for the rest of your life. Virtually every successful person I have ever met has been terminated from a job at one point or another. It’s not fun, it’s painful, but don’t be beholden to the feelings that you could never succeed again. Think instead that it was a learning experience and a growth experience.

If you were raised by decent people who never asked for much and never wanted much, acknowledge all that was good and kind about them, but don’t be beholden to the thought that you cannot have what they never wanted. They lived their lives, now you must live yours.

Go out and design your ideal life!

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