Saturday, January 28, 2012



Fulfilling your dream of being a professional writer can be especially difficult when you feel pressured to live up to other people’s expectations or desires. Well-intentioned parents and teachers often tell their children how to think, feel, and act in an effort to help kids fit in and avoid life’s disappointments. For example, youngsters are often told things such as “You are the pretty one and your sister is the athletic one.” As a result, the child who might have grown up to be an excellent basketball player instead focuses solely on maintaining her physical appearance. Or maybe your mother always wanted to be a lawyer but never seized the opportunity. As a result, mom relentlessly attempts to live her dream through you, even though you are now fifty years old and have no interest in attending law school. These unrealistic expectations that we feel pressured to live up to are frequent triggers for emotional paralysis, writer’s block, and life dissatisfaction. One of the first steps in fulfilling your inner writer is uncovering and releasing the expectations of others and reclaiming your own life.

We have tiny voices in our heads that repeat instructions and warnings we learned a long time ago. Some of these voices implore “Money does not grow on trees:” “Writers are poor and long suffering.” or “Nothing good comes easy.” Often times these old tapes play in our heads and prevent us from living spontaneously and learning new things. These voices may have served us at some point in our lives but often become ways that hold us back from living the inspired ,meaningful life we desire. This week, make a list of ten statements that you tell yourself that no longer serve you or support your writing goals. Replace each item on your list with a new belief that you want to incorporate into your life. For example, perhaps you were taught “People who are wealthy do dishonest and deceitful things to get rich.” Discard this old belief and replace it with a new one such as “When I am living my purpose, money flows easily and effortlessly into my life.”

Now take the list of the ten statements that no longer serve you and hold it in your hands. It is important that you remove this list from your life to make room for your writing project to unfold. A great way to do this is to bury the list or burn it in a safe manner. Or you may choose to attach the list to a helium balloon and release it into the sky. As you watch your list disappear from your life, feel the weight of other’s expectations being liberated from your soul.

Aileen McCabe-Maucher is a licensed clinical social worker/psychotherapist and registered nurse who has helped many people find inner peace and discover their unique life purpose. Aileen has fifteen years of experience providing individual and group counseling to a diverse client population. She is a graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania, Widener University, University of Delaware, and The Gestalt Therapy Institute of Philadelphia at Bryn Mawr College. Aileen studied yoga and the chakra system at The Yoga Lifestyle Center in Paoli, Pennsylvania. She is the author of the book, The Inner Peace Diet, which was published by Penguin/ Alpha Books and released nationwide on December 2, 2008. Aileen can be reached via email at

A sample of Aileen's first book,The Inner Peace Diet, can be found here:


Karen Cioffi said...

Great post, Aileen. I've read before that as parents we unknowingly pass down negative messages to our children. It's a difficult pattern to stop.

I like the idea of writing your negative expectations down and burying or burning them.

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Great suggestions. I think it's really important to post the ideas that are replacing your old thought patterns somewhere where you see them each day.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Aileen, so true. It is so hard to jettison all thos old learned beliefs. Got to keep trying.

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