Calling All People-Pleasers
There have been so many times that I've wanted to just say, "Fuck It".
Image: Creative Commons License
Do you know how much it gives me anxiety to start a post like that? I've written and deleted it at least 3 times.
Do you know how much my husband would laugh if he thought I was anxious to share a term that I probably use 3 times a day at home?
There is a bigger disconnect between my personal life and my shared life than I realized. And it's time to be honest.
Why This Matters
First of all, let me be clear that I'm not writing a post just to be more comfortable with saying fuck.
This chasm between who I am when I'm completely comfortable and who I am when I'm concerned by what others are (or might be) thinking of me goes far beyond a few language gaps.
At BeingBreath, I always say that, "It Begins With Awareness".
Being aware of how different I am at home, in social situations, and online, is extremely important to note. It isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the questions behind these differences are crucial to ask - both for me and for yourself.
For example: Why do I choose to behave one way with one person and a different way with another?
We all do this. Again, it isn't necessarily a negative thing. It could just be that we are responding to the energy of the person, to the moment, to their mood or our own mood.
But - as you can guess from the words above - asking that question led me to an important answer. 90% of the time, I behave differently because I'm responding to my perception of what the other person (standing in front of me or reading my words on a computer screen) will think.
For me, the question was crucial. Becoming aware of this gap was the first step. Understanding why I do it was the second. The third step? Exploring:
When you lose ignorance over a certain topic, you are then faced with the responsibility of what to do about that.
It might be discovering that your child isn't actually sleeping, but is reading underneath the covers. It could be finding out that your spouse is cheating, that those diet cokes really are killing you, that you had more money in the bank than you thought....or that there was far less.
*sigh* (or *shit*). Now What?
Ignorance is only bliss because it relieves you of the responsibility of examining your own life.
If, however, you are ever going to find true well-being and peacefulness with your days, you must accept that responsibility. It ain't easy. But it's definitely worth it.
Losing my ignorance over who I portray and who I am is a tough one.
(People-pleasers, let's all send up an Amen here)
If I were on any other path in life, this discrepancy might not matter as much. But I practice and teach mindful well-being. Being who I say I am, to the best of my ability, is what I wish to radiate - so that I give YOU the permission to do the same.
Now I know.
And Now comes the responsibility to do something about it.
I'm not going to start spewing all of my personal business on social media. There is a line I feel that could (and for me, should) be kept between "personal" and "public".
My path is about constantly asking the questions:
Begin with awareness. Move forward with conscious responsibility.
If I'm being someone who is overly-friendly or a Yes woman because I'm afraid of angering the other person, I'm not being who I want to be.
If I'm being kind to the waiter even though I'm hangry and super pissed inside, I'm being who I want to be.
If I'm yelling at my husband because I've spent an entire day keeping my emotions inside, I'm not being who I want to be.
If I'm not saying, "fuck" online because I'm anxious that someone will think I'm not the mindful, peaceful person I try to be, I'm not being who I want to be.
If I'm not saying, "fuck" online because another word will perfectly suit the situation, I'm being who I want to be.
Who I am and what I share because of that depends on my ongoing awareness and my willingness to take responsibility for what I discover.
If I'm not being who I want to be, it is my responsibility to do something about that .... no matter how uncomfortable that might be.
I extend the same invitation to you.
Who are you being right now? Is this who you want to be? What are you going to do about it?
A Final Challenge
Lest I leave you thinking the practice might be as simple as three little questions, let me share with you one of my favorite quotes.
All of us are this large. Some of us know it, some of us don't. I am fully aware that I am often hypocritical.
I care deeply about our environment, and yet I've driven to the top of our street before just to drop off our child at the bus stop (when it's been nearing 0 degrees and neither of us wants to stand outside).
I promote and try to practice healthy and local food choices. Yet as I type this, I'm sipping on my venti iced non-fat Oprah chai from Starbucks.
I get it.
But what I also know is fear of being judged (as hypocritical) has left me sitting on the fence for far too long.
From my perch on the fence, I can see SO MANY conflicting points of view. I can understand them. But that doesn't mean I choose to believe or practice them.
Hopping down means grounding myself in my truths. It means taking responsibility for walking the path of my own life, even if it means leaving those on the other side of the fence.
So here we are, you and I.
Aware that we might hold more truths within ourselves that we even imagine possible. Needing to decide which truths to share, when to share them, and what to do with those that seemingly conflict with one another.
This is our path.
I'm changing course - not in the truths that I hold, but in the ways in which I will share them. A bit more honestly, freely, and with a (practiced) lessening concern of how others will react to those truths.
Here's to the fucking journey.