Everyday should be an opportunity to learn something new! What have I learned lately?
I’ve experienced life on the poor side of the tracks. Parts of my life were spent living on welfare. For the majority of my youth I can recall going to Houchens with literal food stamps in my hand, going to the public department for peanut butter, getting vouchers for milk and other odds and ends.
I’ve also lived in apartments that might be considered one step up from the ‘projects’. I’ve also been homeless in which I spent time living with friends, family, friends of the family, in the car, and in motels. (I am grateful I was never on the streets literally but I know the fear that comes with being so close to it.
I wore hand me downs, and since I was the oldest those were from other families. In fact any brand name shoes were also given to me by someone who had grown out of them. My first set of Nike shoes were bought for me brand new when I was 18, by my husband when we were still in ‘dating’ mode.
For all that, I am grateful for what I had. Today, I pride myself on not taking for granted that which I have and that which I am given. But even the prideful must and will eventually fall.
Today was that day.
Not in a very bad way or anything. It could have been so very much worse I guess. Let me explain in a method that offers vagueness and still enough detail to give you the information.
Imagine you meet someone, you fall in love, and you learn that there are some quirks about yourself that the one you love just doesn’t really like. Let’s say you smoke and your new love doesn’t smoke. This is quite common, right? So, because you love that person you want to make them happy and so you decide you’re going to quit smoking. Yay! Everyone is happy (and healthy).
Years later you realize that you never really quit smoking for yourself, but for that person you love (and still do love). Now, you know that the change was a good change for yourself. You are living a better, healthier life, right? Sure! But there is that nagging thought inside that you did it for the significant other and not for yourself. So what if you want to have another cigarette? You don’t because you want to please that other person, continue pleasing them I mean. But you start feeling like, well if I want to do it, I should be free to do it. I want to be myself. Why do I need to not do something just because someone else would not like it. It becomes something of a bitter aftertaste inside my mind. Are you are now living and making choices for someone else? It’s your life, yes? Ugh..now what to do???
So…back to me. I kinda realized today that I was assuming I had to make certain choices to please someone who I care about. I wanted them to be happy and I was experiencing a sourness for it. Does that make sense? After talking with them we somehow got around to the conversation of how I felt like I was living my life in certain ways to please that person. I refrained from certain behaviors, didn’t talk a certain way, and essentially felt like I was suppressing the person I was so that they would be comfortable…but in doing so I was totally uncomfortable.
They were like…girl, let your hair loose…be yourself!
I was assuming I had to be, do, think, act, and live a certain way around them. When all it took was a conversation to realize that they would like me however. They wanted me to be myself. If they didn’t agree with something so what! They would still love me!
And this felt good.
So as much as I prided myself on never taking for granted the things I have, including the relationships, friends, and family…I was making some strong assumptions that were causing me to be unhappy and uncomfortable. And again, all it took was a little conversation to realize I never had to be like that and I would still be accepted and loved.
Are you acting a certain way or doing something or not doing something because you feel you won’t be accepted? Is it causing frigidness, constricting your true self? This is not healthy and you will eventually begin to resent that person for your own actions and behaviors. Take a note from me…or at least ponder on it. Be yourself. You only got one life to do so! Make it the best YOU that you can. And don’t worry about people accepting you or liking or disliking you because if they truly love you…they’ll look past your quirkiness and bad habits.