Being Honest and True to Yourself
How many times have your lips deceived you by saying, “Yes” when your heart meant NO?
How many times have you taken on more – when your plate was already overflowing?
How often have you bit your tongue, held onto your own opinion, let things go, or put your own personal ambitions, passions, and desires aside simply to please other people?
How many times have you just given in to the kids, or the significant other, or a friend or family member just because it seemed ‘easier' than arguing or sticking up for yourself?
As women, mothers – humans – life can take off so quickly that it is easy to lose yourself along the way.
Then one day you wake up and when someone asks you where you want to go out to dinner all you can say is, “I don’t know!” Because you really don't. You have become so accustomed to your opinion or feelings or emotions or thoughts not mattering compared to those of other people in your life, that you become robotic.
I am guilty of this. Fairly recently, I was told that my ‘life lesson' involved developing a backbone. I am the world's worst at standing up to other people, have a strong dislike for confrontation of any kind, and am often left with feelings of regret that I didn’t speak up, be honest, or stay true to myself or my needs in the ridiculous effort to save face with others or not make waves.
Hundreds of times over I have walked away from a situation, avoided something, given in, not spoken up, cowered – only to be left angry at myself for being such a freaking wimp. Even at 42 years old, although articulate and strong minded, I too quickly become subservient to others just to ‘keep the peace.'
The problem is that while the top of the ocean may seem calm and still, the tidal pools and riptides underneath the surface – and inside myself – are raging when I deny my own feelings and keep my lips sealed out of fear that I might ‘upset' someone. And then, I enter the cycle of beating myself up for not being honest, not saying what I mean, not standing up to others, not saying NO, and being victimized by my own inner weakness that makes me feel like I am responsible for pleasing everyone.
Guess what!? I am not responsible for YOUR happiness. I am not responsible for my children's happiness. I am not responsible for making sure the world around me revolves in perfect synchronicity. If someone's feelings get hurt along the way – so be it. If someone steps on my toes, or someone disrespects me – then in order to stay true to myself, I need to be honest and true to the perhaps silent, but persistent dialogue in my head.
Sure, there is sometimes a fine line between being selfish, egotistical, and argumentative and being a person with self-respect who is committed to her own happiness. But take it from me – the sooner you find the way to be the latter, the better off you will be. At first, sticking up for yourself, showing your kids and loved ones that you mean what you say, and deciding that you will no longer be someone else's doormat is uncomfortable. Just like a child learning to walk, you will have to take baby steps to find yourself again. But with each step, you will walk away a little happier, and more closely aligned with your own happiness. You will also have to get used to the fact that others around you – your children included – may not like this ‘authentic you,' quite as much as they did the doormat version of yourself. However, in the long run – you will be better off.
At the end of the day – at the end of our lives, the only person’s happiness that we have control over is our own. Making others happy IN SPITE of yourself, and living with angry riptides is not just unhealthy for you, but also a bad example for your children.
Have you learned to be true to yourself?