Being a people pleaser
I have been a people pleaser for most of my life which means that not only do I want everyone to like me, but I worry constantly about what they think of me. I would spend too much time wondering what someone thought about me, and I would replay conversations to see if I said something wrong.
Making a change
In the past year, I had a liberating revelation that has changed my life. I finally realized that I am happy the way I am, and no matter what I do there will be those who approve and others who don’t. Just because someone wants to judge me doesn’t mean I have to let it bother me. I can let it be that person’s issue and not mine. Let me give you two examples.
I write for a news publication where the comments can be hurtful. Although I want to interact with my readers there are times when I cannot make myself read the comments. The solution came because of an article I did about Christmas lights. You would think the comments would all be jolly and bright, but they were all over the place. Some were hateful, racist, political, and generally crazy with a few that talked about the actual topic. I used those comments to prove to myself, and my daughters that those comments don’t really matter. I wish you could have seen my youngest daughter’s face as I read them. She said, “Mom, this is about Christmas lights??!!”
The second example involves a comment that my daughter’s boyfriend made in jest, but for a brief second I went into the old mode of wondering if I was being judged before I decided that I didn’t care. We were shopping when he said to me, “If you buy any more clothes you will need a third closet.” I do love clothes, the colors, and the textures, but I am a thrifter, so although I have a full closet, I am not breaking the bank to have them. If something makes you happy and it’s not hurtful or illegal, don’t worry about what someone else thinks.
The benefits of being yourself
Being different is beautiful, and often more interesting. Don’t worry if you don’t fit a mold for what’s considered normal. Find others who are like you. Being unique can be wonderful. When my son was born he had a bleeding blood vessel in his brain. He needed brain surgery a week after he was born and for many months after the side of his head was swollen like a large ball. I appreciated the people who asked about it more than those who averted their eyes. Even when the swelling went down, the skull protruded a bit. There is also an impressive scar. Instead of hiding all of that, Tyler often cuts his hair back enough so that it is visible. He does it to start a conversation.
Being content with who you are can bring you a sense of peace. Don’t live your life to make other people happy, make your own happiness and the result will be contagious.