Updated: Dec 1, 2020
Have you ever felt like you weren’t free? I’m not talking about being physically confined, but the kind of confinement that you feel when you’re imprisoned on the inside. There are a lot of different reasons why someone may feel this way, maybe you feel trapped in an unfulfilling job or relationship. Perhaps you’ve felt obligated to do things that are in direct conflict with your morals and values or maybe you are burdened by your need to please others. Whatever it may be, when we are not honest with ourselves and others about who we are, what we value and what we need, we set ourselves up for an unhappy existence. We end up living lives without joy, where we are not fully free to be all that we are meant to be.
It took me a long time to identify the roots of my unhappiness. Once I invested the time into getting to the heart of my troubles, I found that I’ve had the power to change them all along. I just needed to have the faith and courage to do it.
One of my biggest struggles in life has been with people pleasing. I was taught very early in life that “you HAVE to be nice to people or they won’t like you” and “nobody likes a showoff”. Now, these things are true to a certain extent, and I know that my parents had the best of intentions when instilling these ideas in me, but I definitely think that I took them a bit too literally and didn’t have a clear understanding of what I was being taught. I went through the majority of my life, and clear into adulthood, walking on eggshells because I didn’t want anyone to dislike me and I didn’t want to hurt anyone. All the while I didn’t realize what the suppression of my true feelings was doing to my mind and spirit; as far as not being a showoff, I played down any talents that I may have possessed because I never wanted anyone to think that I was trying to outshine them or “boast”. As a result, I never really honed my creative skills, I abandoned them. I never even fathomed what that might mean for me later in life. I didn’t consider how unfulfilled and inexperienced I would one day feel or how I would negatively compare myself to others that did take the time to learn and excel at those same things that I once had an affinity to. I spent so much time in fear of alienating others that I lost focus of who I was becoming and what I thought about that person.
Trying to please everyone is a never-ending task. It is exhausting, frustrating and it’s absolutely impossible. You will inevitably disappoint people and when your self-worth is directly linked to your ability to keep everyone happy, you constantly feel like a failure. You never feel like you’re good enough or that you are worthy of your heart’s desires. At least I never used to. But let me tell you, I am grateful for the day when I finally saw the dysfunction in my ways and wised up to the fact that there are only two opinions that I need to live my life in accordance with; God’s and my own. I am not saying that you shouldn’t care about other people’s feelings or take into consideration the advice of those who love you, but don’t ever go against who you are to please anyone, it’s never worth it.
Once I let go of some of the fears I’d been clinging to and clung to my faith in God to lead me and help me work things out, everything started to change for the better. I had a sense of peace that I had been longing for. I stopped losing sleep. My heart didn’t feel heavy and broken. I didn’t feel worthless and undeserving of love and happiness. All that was weighing on me so heavily was lifted and I started to feel free! The fire in my eyes was reignited and I find myself laughing at the silliest things …or sometimes for no reason at all. I gained a joy that is sometimes hard to explain, and that’s why I’m sure that it comes from God.
These small snippets of my journey are just a pinch of insight into the some of the areas in my life where I felt I needed to change. As I mentioned earlier on, there are many different reasons why someone may feel discontented and in need of change. The point is that we are all capable of reinventing ourselves no matter how weak or hopeless we may sometimes feel. Though the idea of change can be anxiety inducing, especially if you are someone who is a born people pleaser like myself, you can do it. You may fear losing people that you love or have doubts about your ability to maintain the change but it can be done. There is so much beauty and power in the process of change. I challenge you to take some quiet time to yourself and ask yourself a few questions that will help you explore what you are feeling. Once you identify what you have been feeling, focus in on the feelings that are unpleasant, and ask yourself what is making you feel that way. Try your best to be completely honest with yourself about it, and if you feel like it’s too much, maybe you would benefit from speaking to a professional. Just don’t brush it under the rug and expect it to go away on its own. Once you determine what or who is causing your unpleasant feelings, start thinking of healthy changes you can make. Lastly, try not to focus on whether or not others will like or accept the changes that you make. Like Dr. Seuss said “Those who mind, don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”.
Take some time and ask yourself the following questions:
What am I feeling? (Once you identify what you have been feeling, focus in on the feelings that are unpleasant, and ask yourself what is making you feel that way.
Try your best to be completely honest with yourself about it, and if you feel like it’s too much, maybe you would benefit from speaking to a professional.
I hope you enjoyed this blog! Here at The Power of Change we will be discussing various topics on or related to self-reinvention and ideas on how one might go about their transformation. This is a personal blog. I am still very much on my own reinvention journey and the tips and ideas are my own and come from my personal experiences. I am not a life coach or psychologist, but it is my hope that in sharing my experiences I can help and encourage others to make their own positive changes. I hope that you’ll join me again! Please leave questions or comments below. I’d love to hear some of your thoughts as well.