Ever known anyone who you can truthfully say made such an impact on you that the decisions you make in your life from then on are made with more forethought and precision so as not to make their mistakes in your in world?
In psychology, they call this “priming”. It is what it is called when we are exposed to something that influences the behaviour of an individual in decision making later on, without that individual being aware that there was some influence guiding their behaviour when they make their choice.
I believe most of us know someone who has made a lasting impression on us to such a degree as to rewrite our story that we might very well have chosen, but we will never know now, will we?
I knew a woman, long gone now and rarely thought of these days, some 18 years later. She was an exotic looking woman, a rare and natural beauty as a young woman. Hair long and flowing down her back, so jet black it had a sheen of blue to it! Her peachy, soft olive skin never had a blemish would tan beautifully within minutes when caressed by the sun and I remember her complexion still today with envy. In her youth, in the setting of a Caribbean sea-salt sprayed mist of tropical paradise, she began her life. As she grew into a woman, she draped herself in fabrics and colours that very attractive and turned heads. She was tall for a woman and walked with poise. When the mood struck her she would throw back her head and laughed a laugh that was contagious and you found yourself chuckling also.
She was a beauty.
Everyone thought so.
That was a heavy cross for her to bear. Or so it seemed.
In the days gone by, the way the whole world used to see the role women played in it, there were fewer choices of what a woman could do with her life. Women were expected to finish their education but do nothing with it in exchange for getting married and having children to ensure the survival of society. Now with women not just in the workplace these days, but rising to the rung of leadership, there are more women opting out of the old paradigm and leaving impressions on much younger women.
I don’t just mean the obvious ones like Oprah.
I mean ALL the women who create their lives from choice.
With guys like Victor Hugo saying things like “entrepreneurship is a powerful idea whose time has come” but not adding for “men” to that quote, women are hearing that and Yes he is right. There is this whole other “Me too” movement going on right now!
More and more women are making the decision to choose career over family and become entrepreneurs, for example. They see the end goal as possibly more easily obtainable without the distraction and responsibility of raising a family. That is if they listen to the inner guidance that steers them along the path of their choosing and do not follow the expectations of society.
Times have changed from the social and economic structures that used to be in place and a whole personal skills mastery market has opened up for women who were not offered that opportunity just a few short decades ago.
Women had more of an “I can’t do that” belief system as opposed to the “if she can do it, so can I” arena we find significantly different about these current times. It takes some women more time and patience than others to figure out how their personal skill set can be enhanced and utilized in a profitable and useful way, but often with courage and the faith to persevere they can become very well established in the business sector and find the passion for their life purpose residing within their hearts.
So, back to the psychology of priming and the woman I mentioned at the beginning.
What was it about this woman that influenced my choice to have a family but still pursue a career that nourishes my soul and makes me happy?
That woman was my mother.
She died alone and unhappy with strained relations with all her children. She wrestled her whole life with the desire to create a career for herself and show all her talents but with the societal pressure to marry and have children, she grew resentful and miserable.
She wanted more for her life but had no clue how to find that fulfillment while weighted down with a lot of responsibilities.
She was beautiful in her youth (I have the photos to prove it) but I watched it all fade and the lines of resignation and bitterness appear in that peachy soft skin of hers. I learned that beauty from within is skin deep and the beautiful light from within will dissipate as the heart withers also.
When I learned of her sudden death, while away celebrating my birthday, I remember sitting down hard, taking stock of my life and slowly it dawned on me. I had a choice, her life or one of my own choosing! I think I chose the wiser.
What would you choose?