When You Feel Trapped in Your Life and You Want to Escape

EscapeA few years ago, when I used to work in Corporate America, I often dreamed about going to some far-off place. Maybe I’d visit an ashram in India. Maybe I could backpack across Europe. I wanted to get away from the drama, the dread, the feeling that my life and my time was not my own. I thought I’d feel free and feel like myself again while being somewhere else.

While I was in Paris, France one summer, I got the breathing room I was looking for. My time was my own and I could decide how I wanted to spend it. I could connect with myself without the daily distractions of life and work. I wondered what it would be like to live there.

However, I know that all too well how problems tend to follow you. I moved a lot as a child and even though I had new experiences, new homes, new friends, and new schools with each new place, I was still the same person with the same habits, the same patterns, and the same set beliefs about myself and the world. For one, I desperately wanted people to like me. I wanted to be the coolest kid in class if I couldn’t be the smartest or best dressed.

So as an adult I encountered the same issues – looking for outside approval and validation from managers, co-workers, men. This set up a cycle of people-pleasing and perfectionism which became exhausting and led to burnout a few times. No wonder I wanted to escape to faraway places where no one knew me and wouldn’t expect anything from me, and I didn’t have to impress anyone… for a time anyway.

After many years of struggling with this, and many times when escaping even for a few minutes was not at all possible, I learned a few things that might help you if you’ve ever thought that running away was your only option:

Let go of people-pleasing. This is a suggestion that can be fraught with confusion and resistance because it kicks up all sorts of things around acceptance and fitting-in. And it will, that’s normal, because chances are you have a big heart and you’ve been socialized to believe you should be kind, helpful, a team player, and available to everyone at ALL times with no complaint or issue. But when you’re focused on pleasing others, you become drained and exhausted and think your next best option is to run away.

When you take your power back and prioritize your needs instead, you’ll feel more energized and better able to enjoy your life from where you are now. You’ll have more internal resources to be there for others… should you choose to.

Detach from other’s stories and expectations. My husband recently shared an article about office happy hours and whether or not one should attend. Some said no, they’d just like to do their work and go home, thank you very much. Others said you should attend so that everyone sees you as sociable and a team player.

Since we are introverts, we’re on the side of saying “No” and letting that be okay. There is no one “right” answer, but consider this: whether you go or not, do the stories people make up about you really matter? You’ll need to decide for yourself. I believe it’s best to detach from what others might think, then make choices from that place. Otherwise you’re spinning your wheels by trying to impress others and putting your needs on the back burner, which will ultimately lead to resentment and burnout… especially if you don’t get what you want.

Detaching from others stories, opinions, or beliefs gives you the space to honor and respect your valuable time and energy so that you can contribute to the world in the ways that you want to.

Speaking of space (no, not that vast thing out there with all the stars and planets and such that with a lot of money and training you could also escape to), ask yourself “What do I really need?” An answer for me was, in fact, space. I wanted space from everyone’s demands. I wanted a minute or an hour or a few days (or weeks, or years) of solitude. In our very social go go go society, it can be challenging to find that space. You might have picked up a belief that you can’t “ask” for that because that would be selfish.

But you’re not selfish. Far from it. You’re a kind and generous soul who loves to give, and you deserve to give yourself the space to reflect on what you need, and how you can create it in each moment.

If you spend your life energy putting others needs ahead of your own so that they like you and think you’re amazing and wonderful, eventually you’ll feel like escaping to a far-off place and never coming back. Even if you get the glorious opportunity to do so, sooner or later you’ll burn out and wish you could be somewhere else. I recommend starting where you are now and step into the whole and strong person you are. From that place you can create a life that allows you the freedom to be the best self you can be.

And if you need support with that, I’m here to help. Simply go to my website at www.marchtoyourowndrum.com to schedule a private complimentary call with me.

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Felicia Baucom About Felicia Baucom

Felicia Baucom specializes in empowering women to create their own unique path to happiness. As a former child of the military, she’s very familiar with dealing with transitions and stepping out of her comfort zone. Felicia enjoys helping women who want to figure out the next chapter of their lives.

Visit www.marchtoyourowndrum.com for inspiration and to claim your 5 Ways to Create a Life You Love eGuide.