Being a seasoned wallflower, for me at least, comes from having an incredulous inner voice that never seems to let up. It’s right there, just as I am about to make a decision. “How is this going to look?” Or, “Is this going to seem like I don’t care?”, or my favorite, “I don’t want to seem like a bitch.” I personally have been guilty of overthinking and overanalyzing a few decisions in my life, big and small. 

Most of the time, it’s in my professional capacity, but sometimes, I’ll have the occasional tap on the shoulder from my inner voice when it comes to something as simple as adding highlights to my hair. 

Absurd, right? 

Yes…and it’s time to be done with that.

This influential inner chatter is very common for many middle-aged women that I see in my coaching practice. It seems to stop them dead in their tracks and cause them to fall back on the status-quo in quiet passivity.

Here are some reasons why you might be a practicing wallflower.

You were raised that way

There’s a generation of people out there that were raised by parents with a very different mindset. Their beliefs centered around the idea that it would be better in the long run to be a person that followed the rules didn’t rock the boat, and for God’s sake, didn’t try to be different. Those beliefs framed everything from standing up for yourself to the importance of having money and what money meant. 

When you are raised to believe that the status quo is what you need to strive for, it creates limiting beliefs at best, and at worst, stunts your growth. It’s like having training wheels on your behaviors, which isn’t all bad, but those training wheels eventually reshape how you think about your own value as well.

One day, you wake up and realize, “why don’t I fight for myself and the things I want instead of accepting everything as it is?” The answer to that is that you likely learned that it wasn’t necessary to do so.

Keyword: necessary. 

When you are bumped back into balance as soon as you slightly stray, eventually you learn that deviating feels scary, so why not just let those little wheels bump you straight again? This creates limitations in your thoughts, your interest in questioning things, and ultimately changes how you live your life. Many times, it’s where limiting beliefs about who you can be and what you can do begin.

Once you realize this about yourself, it’s time to take some baby steps to confidence building. That is what is at the root of it all.

Be aware when you find yourself holding back something of value, and start letting yourself speak without fear. Baby steps.

You convinced yourself that it was your job

We know that it’s only a matter of time before a repeated action becomes a habit. That’s because good or bad, it’s what we need-routine. We all like patterns and we sometimes fall into lockstep without even knowing it.

Once you are the one who “doesn’t rock the boat” or is “so agreeable”, you start to wear it like a crown. So much so, you convince yourself it’s a compliment. How could it not be? You’re never the one that starts the argument, amplifies the tenor of a conversation, or jams your opinion down anyone’s throat.

That means you’re the wise, controlled, and reasonable one, right? Yes. And how’s that working for you? Many times, you become that person at the expense of your well-being because you’ve tamped your feelings down so much that one day, you blow a gasket over a broken fingernail.

The best way to reframe this is to realize that you can state your opinion, ask for what you want, or challenge the status quo without being a tyrant. It’s something you will have to start to ease into, one situation at a time. It will get easier and it will be liberating.

Irrational Insecurity

There it is again. Like the Lockness monster, coming out when you least expect it. Whenever anything in our lives leads us to feel insecure, we get stuck . And by the way, it’s magnetic. If you’ve ever thought of yourself as less than others, not as competent or deserving because of something you can’t let go of, those feelings only attract other self defeating ideas because, simply put, that’s familiar to you.

The more you devalue yourself over something you haven’t resolved, the more likely you are to believe that your mired feelings of self-doubt are where you are destined to live. 

You may even begin to believe that living confidently and in complete bliss is reserved for those that have lived perfect lives and have nothing to feel bad about. Those confident souls that have it done it all right. Truth is, no one is out there living perfect lives, so if you see them jump into life with both feet, speak their mind, and share their joy, it’s because of only one thing. They believe they deserve it and they have found the grace needed to get out of the quicksand. 

None of this treading into new territory and becoming more vocal is easy for someone that has spent a lifetime doing the old wallflower routine, but it can be done. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, however, so be patient. 

Someone out there needs what you have, so holding it in is a losing proposition.

It’s time to release that spirit of yours, ditch that fear, speak up, and be the badass you are.