To be who you are is a journey that begins with self-doubt but ends in embracing oneself. A beautiful story of self acceptance.
(This post is part of a special series on #FreedomToBe where people shared their heart felt stories about one’s relationship status and the judgement that often comes with it.)
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”
– Jim Morrison
While going up the staircase, of my Paying Guest (PG) one afternoon after lunch, I overhear one of the residents declaring, “Oh, she is one snob I have come across, extremely arrogant and doesn’t speak to anyone other than her roommates.”
Having lived in a hostel for almost half of my life, I knew exactly what people thought of me. And it wasn’t the first time that I was being judged and passed off as an ‘extremely arrogant person’; I have been there before.
I remember the first time I heard a comment of a similar nature. It took me a while to get a grip of the situation and realise that the subject of discussion was ‘Me’. I was more surprised than angry. But as time went on and similar comments made their way into my life, the feeling of insecurity and the urge to appease everyone around me started slithering in. I used to try hard to strike a conversation and try harder to keep the conversation going. But to make others happy you have to be happy within; you should be doing things not to please others but yourself.
The most amazing part of growing older and wiser is that you don’t sweat on the small stuff anymore.
The most amazing part of growing older and wiser is that you don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. Things like ‘What others will think’ do not matter to you any longer. You start doing stuff which gives you the freedom of being yourself; being what you are and what you find happiness in. Old clichés like, “I wish I knew these things when I was in my 20’s, things that I know now…” grow actively redundant with each passing day because wisdom comes only with age.
I think that most of us who habitually people please are mindful of the fact that it makes us vulnerable to mean, controlling people; people who might have a hidden agenda. But to hear it said so matter-of-factly was a real a-ha moment for me.
People-pleasing doesn’t just drain you and prevent you from getting your true needs met. It erects a neon light flashing a ‘Target’ sign over your head.
People-pleasing is a habit that has been ingrained within us. First we try pleasing our parents, then our friends, then our boyfriends/girlfriends, husband/wives, in-laws etc. The list goes on. But in our vehement attempt at accommodating the need of others we often forget to please ourselves or let go of things that please us. It kind of comes with the offer; please others and please yourselves.
I tried hard to please people around me so that they would have kind and appreciating words for me.
I tried hard to please people around me so that they would have kind and appreciative words for me; words that would give an invisible moral boost and depreciate the feeling of insecurity that bad words or the passing of false judgements on my persona would bring. I would cower down in front of the false and untrue judgements and the people passing those would stand tall and up their antennas for further judgements to-be-passed.
There were days when I tried hard to stop people-pleasing but it was tough to let go; it was like it had become my whole identity. If I could manage to perceive that they were happy with what I had done or said, for just a minute, I felt good about myself. And if I managed to get into a groove of pleasing others, well then, I could be happy for a longer period of time. But, of course, this is much harder to do, because we never really know what other people want. We have only our own perceptions and their facial expressions and the words to go by. And, they could be and often are lying, especially if they are also people pleasers or have some other agenda to further.
Today I do things that make me happy; connect and be friends with people whom I think will connect with me. I live life on my own terms and not on the rules set by others. If I am in a group with whom I do not connect with or I think they do not connect with my ideas and perceptions then I prefer to remain quiet or just walk out on them. I do not care what they say behind my back or what judgements they pass on me. It doesn’t matter at all. Because that is the way I am and if you cannot accept it – then it is your problem not mine.
(This was published on Women’s Web. Thanks a ton Jyotishree Mohanty for sharing your story! Three of the published entries including this one, will receive a Papilio glass table clock with old world charm from SoulCafe.)