I have a confession to make: I am a people pleaser.
It has been lessened as I grew older but the tendency is still there. This wonderful tendency results in me putting myself into some very interesting situations.
This makes saying “No” very difficult for me. I always feel like my “No’s” warrant an explanation. But in reality, they don’t. None do.
“No” does not require validation and your reasons are your own. In fact, “No” is essential to mental health.
Think about it. How many times have we spread ourselves paper-thin for fear of using “No” that we couldn’t take on any more? How many times have we been taken advantage of or sacrificed our sanity for the sake of doing more for others that we don’t have the time for ourselves?
You can not pour from an empty cup!
You can not give what you don’t have.
I like to remind myself of this before I put myself in these situations. I like to think that it will make saying “No” easier. Sometimes it does, sometimes I lose the battle. I tend to think in extremes, like black and white thinking. I think that “No” is for extreme cases but the little things matter too.
My recent encounter when I should have used the word “No” early on was on a date that I had. Nothing illegal happened but I definitely should have said no earlier. It was awkward and uncomfortable and I shouldn’t have sacrificed my comfort for his feelings.
You don’t have to spent emotionally or physically to use your “No”. The little “No’s” help build up the confidence for situations that require the big “No”. Then there are no people taking advantage of you and no way to be hurt.
Well, that’s the theory. In a perfect world that’s how pain would end. People wouldn’t be afraid to be vulnerable because when someone would step on a boundary a quick “No” would either end a relationship or the relationship would blossom into a healthy tree of respect. What an easy life that would be.
Never have I felt so inspired to write as I have in the last few weeks. Today I would like to tell you two very different stories.
There once was a woman, she had been through hell. She was battered, bruised, and broken. She had been wounded fatally left for dead. She didn’t have much family. She didn’t have many friends. She had been assaulted and violated in the worse way. She was an addict and tried to stay clean for her son. When no doctor or pill could end the pain, she surrendered.
But there was another woman
She had been through a lot. Her heart was worn out but she refused to let it stunt her ability to love. Her body was left for dead but she refused to die. She did have much support, but she cherished the support she did have. Although she had been hurt and violated, she guarded herself and pressed on. She was an addict in recovery and made the choice every day for her son. When no doctor or pill could end the pain, she set herself free. She didn’t need to be fixed, because she wasn’t broken. She healed herself.
I’m sure you figured by now that this is the same woman. The same story, a very abbreviated version of mine, just told from two very different perspectives. I watched a Ted Talk, that I will link it at the end of the post but it was very eye-opening. Basically, we as humans are unreliable narrators. That does not mean that what we feel and think isn’t valid. But it’s just that we can only tell the story from our perspective. When we only see something from our lens, we close ourselves off to other possibilities. The talk is amazing and I don’t do it justice so I highly recommend you check it out.
So here is my Call To Action…
Do not limit your perspective looking through your rose-colored lenses. Keep your mind open to all the possibilities. Even if you have to write out all the different possible ways other then what you are sure of. It will feel unnatural and unbearably unfair at times, but so are parts of life. Use this as a stepping stone to becoming a more multifaceted being.
I have been gone. I apologize for that. I know consistency is important and doing what you say you’re going to do is important. However, I can’t pour from an empty cup. I can’t write under duress and constraint. Well, I can but I can’t write well so, I’d rather disappear then produce crap. I am doing better now I hope you stick with me through this process.
So here are the thoughts that plague my mind.
Why do people feel the need to fit into a predesigned mold that doesn’t fit them to chase after success?
Here is the backstory. Because I have issues with consistency and sometimes have issues writing I have been looking up those generic “how to create popular blogs” and “Popular blog posts” type articles and videos. I got a bunch of the same generic, one size fits all type information. Then, I downloaded a PDF of 8,000+ blog ideas. Let me say first of all that these were not bad ideas. They just weren’t what I’m about. They were about writing blogs about food, crafts, how-tos, DIY’s, things of that nature. This is great for creative people, for mom bloggers, for people who have that audience. As much as I would like the popularity that comes with those topics, that’s unfortunately not where I am. I am not of the bright and shiny collective. I am more of the “cynical hopeless romantic” variety. That’s okay. Blogging, like America, should be a melting pot.
I say that to say this.
I would like to be a very popular and successful writer and author. I can’t however, sacrifice my voice or my identity for the sake of possible success. That’s just not me that’s anyone. I see it day in and day out. Talented people who sacrifice their individuality for a quick buck. Some call it “selling out”. I call it “giving in”. Some people don’t have the strength to stay true to themselves and sadly it’s soul-crushing to settle.
I’m no expert. I don’t have all or any answers really. I can’t offer any “fix it” advice. The only thing I can offer is perspective. I can offer ideas. I’d much rather exist as me tap dancing on the lines of obscurity, then a fabulous life in the spotlight that doesn’t coincide with my values. Think about it; who’s a better you than you?