“What you allow is what will continue.” – Unknown
I’ve spent a great part of my life trying to make other people happy. I suppose it’s in my DNA to help people feel better, despite the current circumstances they may be facing. I even learned through a company training that my personal worldview is that most people want to do the right thing, which further supports my “why” for helping others and offering second and fifth chances, even when they seem undeserving.
To a degree this will probably never stop, and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, but ever so often we need to re-evaluate how we are treating ourselves. Do “we” more often than not, find ourselves taking the back seat on life, sacrificing our well being for what we believe is the greater good (and maybe it’s not), or allowing our voice to be diffused by sympathetic emotions that haven’t been validated or proven? Sound familiar? To me it does.
So after allowing myself to be taken advantage of, (key word allowing) I’ve learned that taking a stand for myself is not only okay, but a prerequisite for peace in my personal life. In the past, I was quick to feel bad for others, excuse their bad behavior and search to find an excuse or remedy for them. Of course they welcomed it and even came to expect it from me, and of course I was more than willing to oblige them and continue to perpetuate the poor behavior.
How did I get here, and what was I trying to prove? Honestly I can’t answer the first question, at least right now. It would require many layers of my life to be unfolded, however the second one I can make and attempt to grasp my arms around. I believe we all have an inherent desire to be accepted and liked by others. It’s a normal part of life, but for some it can become lopsided or imbalanced. I believe as a child I somehow lost that part of me. That part that truly understood I was created to have a voice. That part that embraced my own well being, truth and self respect.
I don’t blame my parents, however I do relate some of it with the lack of relationship I had with my father. I probably spent more time being afraid of him and trying to please him, than I did recognizing my own personal development, self worth and importance. So my life became more about serving others (him) than myself. Perhaps that seems honorable, and it is when there is balance and love connected to it. But my early story had minimal balance to it. It was one way or the other, completely. So much so, that my life’s purpose became more about discovering ways to make others happy, even when it meant stepping over my own well being.
Then one day, I begin to see patterns in myself. Patterns that marginalized my voice, my thoughts and often my heart’s desire. I said “yes” just to get along, fall suit to what was acceptable at the time and align my life in such a way that fostered the that “thing”, which I opposed in every way. However, I learned to smile, agree (on the outside) and simply accept what was. It was a miserable way to live, but after a while you learn how to numb the suffering with more counterfeit agreements.
Ultimately, that one day opened my eyes to my own self worth and voice. It wasn’t just learning the word no, but understanding what the word “no” meant. For me, it meant that I mattered, my voice mattered, my personal time mattered and my choice to choose another way was not only okay, but a valid and viable option that I could make anytime I wanted to.
The Bible says, “how can two walk together, unless they agree?” My understanding of this scripture is that the agreement must not only come from what we convey with our mouths, but what resonates from our hearts as well. Simply holding hands does not necessarily demonstrate agreement. Sometimes it requires a searching of the soul, time in prayer or quiet time just trying to figure it all out.
So as you examine your life and the most important decisions you have to make, make no apology for placing yourself first. Some may be disappointed or become angry with you, but they will get over it. Live your life, your best life and take the back seat only when you choose to. After all, it’s your car, it’s your life.