Do you ever find yourself doing things or simply being a certain way, not because you want to, but because you want to please others? You could be doing it for your parents, family, spouse, or even to fit in a certain circle of friends. To be honest, it is exhausting, and I have come to the realization that I have spent the better part of my life falling into this trap. But why…and how do you break the cycle?
What got me thinking about all of this recently is the fact that the mister and I are renovating our home. We bought a home that needed a lot of updating a few years ago, and to save money, we are doing a lot of the work ourselves. It gives us the satisfaction of doing something, but it is also a huge headache in that we don’t always know what we are doing. Our last home was a beautiful three-story house. It was about twice the size of our home now. It had this gold wallpaper and details that cried fancy, and over the years I found myself making it look fancy too. In the beginning, I think I started doing it because I wanted our families to be proud of us, as if to say, “Look at Prissy and the Mister. They sure do have their shit together.” Then I found myself wanting to conform as a way to fit in with others better. I carried that attitude here once we moved. However, this house is making me realize that I really don’t want to do that anymore…not with my home and not with my life in general.
I think the one thing that hurt the most with being chronically ill the past few years is that I assumed all the times I bent over backwards for others or tried to please family and friends, only to have some of those same people abandon me when I needed their support or talk about me behind my back, telling others that I have been faking illness. Believe me, there really isn’t a way to fake it, and there are lots of medical bills and statements that would say otherwise. The people who stayed, the ones that had my back, I quickly realized were the ones that I didn’t have to please. I didn’t have to act a certain way or put on airs for their approval. They loved me for me.
I think the pain from all of this made me start to realize that I would be much happier if I just lived life for me and not others, if I wasn’t a doormat or a yes person all the time. At 39, I realized it was time to stop caring what others thought of me and to stop trying to please everyone. The people I was trying to please don’t really care anyways. This leads me back to the house. After a lot of discussion about how we should paint, decorate, and renovate, we decided to go bold. We decided to go against the HGTV version of house renovation where everything looks sterile, and we are adding color! Lots and lots of color! We needed to re-do some of the trim around the house. It was all blue and cream. I didn’t want to try to match the blue, so we went with pink, bubblegum pink to be exact. The Mister finished the front last week, and I squealed so loud pulling into the drive, you could probably have heard me from miles away!
It is bright and bold, but not tacky. It is the perfect color for a little home built in the 1930’s. My neighbors said they like it, but honestly, I wouldn’t have cared if they didn’t. I picked that color for me.
That attitude hasn’t just been present in my home though. I have found that I don’t volunteer for things I don’t really want to do anymore. I say “no” a lot more, especially when I know it means I won’t be overloaded. I need rest still, and I am not giving that up. I am not bending like I used to do. I am not being a doormat. I am dressing how I want to dress. Someone says a fat girl can’t wear a crop top…well guess who is wearing ALL the crops tops? Yes, this girl. Finding my style and doing things for me is wonderful. It makes me happier as a person.
Is it scary?
Oh hell yes, it is scary! The whole idea that people might not like you when you are used to valuing your worth based on what others think of you is a scary new process. Is it worth it? For my sanity and happiness…most definitely.
I think we all get to that breaking point where we have this AHA type moment. If you are not there yet, then maybe it is time to have a long talk with yourself. You don’t have to start off big. You don’t even have to be disrespectful. You just need to start saying no to people that don’t treat you with the love and respect you give them. You need to remove the toxicity from your life and start filling that void with others that love and respect you. Do things with those people. Seek out opportunities that put you with like minded people.
This past year, I have been doing that. I have been finding people in the pin up community, burlesque community, LGBTQIA community, and BOPO community. I have been filling my cup with the love that pours from them, and it has been healing. It is empowering me to be more authentic in what I do.
I am ending this with a question: who is the person you want to be and what do you need to do to become her? I would love to hear your story, so feel free to share in the comments below!