Amy Beth O'Brien's friends think she watches a few too many movies, but she just may be on to something.
In her book Stuck with Mr. Wrong? Ten Steps to Starring in your own Life Story, O'Brien shares her secret to avoiding bad relationships by looking at life from the audience's perspective.
"Everyone loves the movies," says O'Brien. "We get to lose ourselves in a story and live vicariously through the main character. I encourage women to be the main character in their own life story by stepping into their starring role as leading lady and stop playing extra or best supporting actress to someone else."
Her lessons are taught through movie analogies that help women take control of their lives and help them avoid the mistakes that often lead to good women putting up with bad male behavior. We asked O'Brien for some of her top tips and here's what she had to say!
Every woman has some version of the story they want to live. We can write our script based on fears of what would happen if we made any changes, or we can take control of our lives. Being our most authentic selves is the best story we could ever write.
While the screenwriter spins the yarn, the director delivers the vision to guide the story. When the players are acting out of character or the story seems to take a wrong turn, the director guides us to make the best choices to put us back on track. Listening to your director means understanding that our intuition is our best friend and guide.
If we looked at our life as a movie, would we see ourselves as the leading role in our own movie or an extra or supporting player in the lives of those around us? We all have family and friends we support and for whom we make sacrifices. But how much of our time is spent on those responsibilities and obligations, and how much is dedicated to living the scripts of our own lives? Many of us live with the guilt-ridden thesis that if we spend time on our own goals, we are somehow neglecting others. That's patently false and we need to ensure that we don't spend our lives playing roles in other people's movies, to the extent that we're unable to star in our own.
"Your dreams, values, passions and creativity are meant to be expressed," O'Brien adds. "Relationships may challenge us, but they should never turn us into people we are not, suppress our talents or squelch our dreams and desires. I encourage women to stop acting – to stop conforming to another person's tastes, keeping silent when they have something to say, compromising their spirit or staying in a bad situation out of fear. Move forward with faith toward the life of your dreams."
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