An area of weakness within my DNA and core of who I am is the tendency to believe that all people are good and they have your back. Time and time again I have found that not to be the case. We meet people along the path of life whether they be work colleagues, family or friends that can turn on you without warning. Way back in my younger days I was always worried about being liked. It held too much of a focus. I don’t think I was really aware at that age of how hard it can be to please and impress everyone. The need to keep everyone happy OR to be liked had me under a lot of pressure. It had me being someone I wasn’t at different times. I would have to go with the flow, speak as others speak, do as they say OR else be judged, be left behind, be hated OR ignored. I couldn’t stand the idea of others not liking me when I was young.
When you are young and trying to impress others or trying to keep the peace you hold back on who you really are. Others don’t get to know you as YOU. As my young self it felt like such a RISK to be me. FEAR kept me bound, it was about the risk of losing, the risk of failure which had my thoughts, opinions and words locked up inside of me. I would hide them with a smile. Little did others know how painful it really was to keep my mouth closed from speaking, holding in what I really thought about something, pretending to like it, pretending to be happy when I was in fact hurting, angry, sad etc.
As a 52 year old looking back on my young self always gives me clear answers as to how I managed to get into situations that were not good for me. It was always about fitting in, about not upsetting anyone and as mentioned before “going with the flow”. … Blending in, not being different, not having a voice, invisible, silent, careful, on edge, pretending, lonely and sad. In a way I was like a robot doing as others do or being as they wanted me to be. Holding onto the desperate need to please everyone I fought to stay on their good side. People liked me because I didn’t challenge them. I was easy to manipulate, control OR disregard.
The idea that people always have your back was smashed many times over in my life and even now I experience what people can be like. As we all do of course. We all have our experiences with people. Probably one of the most biggest challenges I have given myself since my life changed drastically in 2016 was to never stop being myself. It was about choosing not to be a people pleaser, not allowing myself opportunities to fall into any traps for others to control my life. As I have been there and done that. I paid the ultimate price back in 2016 when I walked away leaving 4 adult children behind. To this day I still cant quite comprehend how I did that, as my children have always been the love of my life. I can only say that it was desperation to save myself that kept me strong. The pain and heartache I went through during that period I wouldn’t even be able to describe unless you are someone that has gone through the same experience. The one thing that has kept me sane is the knowledge that had I not left I would probably not even be half of who I am today. I would have gone to the next level of serious mental health crisis.
Having been through the ultimate sacrifice as a mother I am unable to tolerate certain behaviours from others where once upon a time I would have just smiled and pretended I was ok with it. In my life now I don’t allow others to dictate who I should be. I won’t let anyone no matter who they are, to think they can treat me whichever way they like and think is OK.
Its not OK….
The older me is learning to say NO. I am learning to have boundaries I should have had years ago. I am also learning that as I have been setting boundaries there are people that don’t like me. I am facing the exact situation that I was trying to avoid as a young person. I can no longer please and impress people. I believe that if any person genuinely wants you in their life they will not push you away. If they truly like you then they won’t treat you poorly. I am learning to be OK with people not liking me.
When others don’t like me I remind myself of all the amazing people in my world that do like me and even love me. Having had healthy people in my life over the recent years as given me the opportunity to safely discover who I really am. The people that love me allow me to use my words, to speak my thoughts and share my opinions. They don’t get angry with me for opening up. They want to know how I am and what I think. They don’t treat me terribly. It’s a wonderful feeling to have safe people in my life. I hold onto the people in my life that have shown me they are there for the long haul. I thank them for allowing me to grow into who I am today 🙂