Before I get into the heart of today’s post, I’d really like to discuss something that Kyle and I stumbled upon last night during some late night TV watching. It was something we turned on accidentally, but could not peel our eyes away from, even though I felt like my pupils were burning. I have also never laughed so hysterically about the concept of a TV show in my life. The tears were flowing. So what is said show? “Dating Naked: Playing for Keeps.” This, my friends, is not a joke. It’s real television. It’s like “Bachelor in Paradise,” only everyone is naked. Seriously. I’ll just let that resonate with you for a second.
Moving on and away from the antics of VH1…and on to the antics of my resolution for this season.
My resolution is this: “No.”
I have a difficult time with this word. It’s hard for me to say it because I am a severe people-pleaser. I never want anyone to not like me or to be upset with me. I’m horrified of inconveniencing anyone to the point where I will greatly inconvenience my own self, and even my family, for another’s benefit. While this is okay sometimes, it’s something that is slowly becoming a problem.
I genuinely enjoy helping others. If you’re sick, I’d be happy to cook you a meal. If you need someone to watch your kids while you run a few errands, take a meeting, or just need a sanity check, I’m your girl. Plus, I also think it’s ridiculous to pay for someone to do that, so I’m also always free. Just know I expect the same in return 😉 When I’m working, I want to do my best, to make sure everyone is benefiting from the job being done, not just to collect a paycheck.
I dislike conflict. My husband is pretty confrontational in nature, and the ability he has to stand up for himself sometimes makes my stomach queasy. The idea that a person could disagree with what I say or be a little annoyed with me for a while is just unnerving. However, the older I get, the more I’m realizing it’s getting me into trouble.
I’ve recently felt a bit taken advantage of, and I think that this may be more my fault than anyone else’s. No that’s not the people-pleasing talking, it’s the reality of the impact my people-pleasing tendency is having. It’s not just in one area specifically, but in general. I’m smart, and maybe not confident enough to say “no,” but confident enough to admit that I am one intelligent woman. I learn things quickly and I’m a hard worker. Whatever is in front of me gets my full attention, often to a fault, as my husband can attest to.
Because I fear any type of conflict, no matter how small, I often place myself in situations that bring me great stress. I rush around and alter my schedule because someone needs a favor. I agree to working on something I have no knowledge or passion for because I want to be helpful. I love on other people’s kids when I’ve barely had time to play with my own. I accept a low payment for something because I think, well, “I guess it didn’t take me that long to write that article,” or “I’m sure it would really help them out.” I’ve allowed people to speak opinions into my life when they have no grounds to do so, all the while, I walk away feeling self-conscious and bitter.
I’ve also failed to stand up for things that I think are inappropriate. For example, I was part of a meeting in which my superior was discussing the difference in the ways men and women work with each other. While reviewing how “easy going” men are with one another by often quickly moving on from a conflict or difference of opinion, he went on to say the exact opposite about women stating instead that, “girls give each other eating disorders.” Being someone who not only found that statement highly sexist, but also a person who has directly struggled with an eating disorder, I felt this so distasteful. Especially coming from someone who was my superior, and supposedly professional. However, in my nature to not want to create any upheaval, I never said anything. To this day, I still regret not speaking up.
I’ve endured disrespect of my time, whether people are continually late to meetings with me or late to show up when they say they will when there is nothing unexpected interfering with their time (I am constantly at least 5 mins late, so I’m not talking anything petty like that…I’m meaning 20-30 mins plus.) I’ve also endured finding out that ideas I’ve spent time on, or even content I have written has been taken by others multiple times, and still I smile and say, “oh that’s okay.”
I’ve also had people talk about me behind my back, accuse me of something I didn’t do, and question my character, only for me to roll over and apologize to them saying, “oh no, the misunderstanding was all my fault,” when in reality I had nothing to be sorry for. What I was really apologizing for was the fact that for whatever moment in time, they didn’t see me in the best light possible. By apologizing, I justified their actions against me and allowed them to feel okay about questioning who I was.
So why am I writing about this? One, because I just need to get it off my chest. Two, because I need to be accountable somehow. I feel that by putting it out there, I can’t just sit back and silently take it any longer. Luckily, I have found myself within a community of families who love me, care for me, and will ensure that I am always appreciated. Not to mention, I have a pretty freaking fantastic husband who is not afraid to stand up for his family. Three, for my kids. As time ticks away on my pregnancy and as Judah grows older, it’s becoming increasingly important to me to set the absolute best example for my children that I can. I want them to know the importance of serving and loving others. I also want them to know the value of family and the value of themselves. I want them to be strong and confident, comfortable enough to speak up for themselves, and loving enough to put others before them. I want them to serve people out of love, not an obligatory feeling because they are afraid of being disliked.
So, pardon me if I say “no” a little more frequently. The people pleaser in me is screaming at you to understand and not be annoyed if I turn something down, but I think this challenge and change in my life has been a long time coming, and if you don’t like it, I think I’ll eventually be okay with that 🙂