An Invitation to Joy (to all people-pleasers)
You could be the juiciest, sweetest, and ripest peach in the world, and there will still always be someone who still does not like peaches.
Someone else may be a bitter strawberry, yet there will always be someone who prefers strawberries over peaches.
You may be the hero in someone else’s narrative, but the greatest villain in someone else’s.
No one knows who you exactly are, except yourself. These are the lessons I had to learn as I unknowingly grew up to become a people-pleaser.
To put others’ needs before oneself, to take responsibility for other people’s happiness over your own, and to prioritize everyone’s peace above yours, is a violation of self-respect. You are allowed to take up space. You are allowed to disappoint others.
I am now aware that my people-pleasing tendencies stem from a childhood where many of my emotional needs were unmet. I was not cared for in the way that I truly needed to be to establish a clear sense of self, as I was taught that boundaries were inherently selfish. It became normalized for me to think that what I needed and what I wanted, were not as valid as my elders’ desires.
I was no longer an independent individual that practiced beneficial interdependence — I became codependent.
My codependency was founded upon the idea that making others happy, was the key to making myself happy. Even though this seems selfless on the outside, I now see that this is a selfish way to live.
To be of service for others fulfills my purpose as a giving person. However, when it overwhelms my sense of self and inherent value, people-pleasing became my weakness that restricted me from kindly giving. When acts of service affected my mental state of being, it no longer became a kind service for myself.
I became rigid with expectations.
To attach onto the idea that you must change how others perceive you in order to achieve joy, is a narrow-minded and limiting belief. But to release others’ perceptions about you, and to be unapologetically yourself — these are the avenues where potential lies.
I have been through plentiful experiences that have made me feel unlovable, inadequate, and incapable with who I am; there has been a crucial period of my life where I thought that conditional love was genuine love.
In believing that the way I am and how I lived were not allowed, I became attached with the expectation that if I could make others’ feel better, then I would simply be more accepted.
As I internalized these beliefs during the development of my sense of self throughout high school, my WORTH thus became dependent on the opinions’ of those around me.
I tried searching for everything I desired, outside of myself. When all along, those cravings would have been met if I had searched for everything within me.
I attached, I expected, and I tried to control outcomes. We all require self-control to healthily regulate, but when it excessively extends to other people, that is where it can easily get messy.
My attachments built up inner tension and resistance, as it clouded my thoughts with others’ perceptions instead of mine. It caused me to judge myself as my own worst critic. Perfectionistic patterns overwhelmed my joy.
Attachment and expectation are forms of condition, which love is not. Love is kind, patient, gentle, selfless, and unconditional.
As I have reflected on all my past experiences, I am still working on emotional boundaries, as I feel that it is the next to step for me to feel more empowered and confident. It is that balance of being selfless, while also being assertive, that I strive to be. Now, I know that I have it within me.
Although my upbringing left me feeling unassured of myself, today is the day that I can feel a bit more sure. Today, and beyond.
Roughly a month from now, I will be turning 20. TWO decades old. Although I am still young, I still feel old. I see every single day as one that I cannot ever take back.
So why live for others, instead of living for myself?
Rock bottom had me living for others. But I had to reach my rock bottom, to climb my mountain. Whenever I find myself resentful of my past traumatic times, I realize what it had me learn:
If you live without ever experiencing rock bottom, how are you ever going to experience profound appreciation of your mountain’s grand view?
If that upwards angled view at your bottom never entered your arena of awareness, then you would never be able to see how far you have come. Gratitude would not be felt as easily as it can be now.
To everyone who was minimized, belittled, negatively criticized, judges, and/or bullied, you deserve to live to your full potential. But first, may we meet the fear and shame that hurts us.
We don’t face fear; fear faces us. Why? Because we are stronger than we think.
To get up each day and to just go through the motions is already an amazing start, that can only grow into more beautiful outcomes, that ultimately result into the life that YOU have.
But first, let us be accepting of ALL our feelings. (Since feeling is healing.)
By allowing space to invite the wide spectrum of ALL emotions into your inner world, a comfortable sense of ease will settle. The house of where your mind and body resides, will then transform into a home of calmness. And calm minds are strong minds, to create powerful choices. <3
I recently wrote an apology letter to myself, as an exercise for my insecurities to talk to my future, more secure self. It cleared my guilt, to pave way for my peace.
And I encourage you to do the same, as your apology letter can be an invitation to your joy.
***(Disclaimer: this writing exercise will make you feel, as triggering experiences may arise. Please do so only when you feel ready. My apology letter below can be read for insight, if you also feel ready.)***
An Apology Letter for Myself:
I’m sorry that I constantly blame you for not knowing any better.
I’m sorry for making you feel guilty of things that you didn’t do.
I’m sorry for making you feel overly responsible for things you have no control over.
I’m sorry for thinking that your boundaries were selfish and that it made you a mean person.
I’m sorry that I searched for love in all the wrong places.
I’m sorry that I often measure your worth off of other people’s validation.
I’m sorry for being unfair and unrealistic whenever I compare you to more “beautiful” and “perfect” people.
I’m sorry for being impatient and bitter when you felt lost and hopeless.
I’m sorry I couldn’t comfort you when you couldn’t manage your breaths with teary eyes, as drops trickled down your cheeks.
I’m sorry for creating painful scenarios that have not even happened, solely to fulfill the unhealed parts of me.
I’m sorry for all the times I made you feel like a failure, an embarrassment, or someone who is too weak for this world.
I’m sorry for hurting you by repressing your emotions.
I’m sorry for being oppressive, by suppressing your happiness.
I’m sorry for not realizing how important you are in this world.
I’m sorry for my habitual judgements that make you feel little, small, and weak, when really, you are the opposite: infinite, grand, and strong.
I’m sorry for hating you.
Months ago from now, I wasn’t ready yet to pick you up from rock bottom.
Well, I’m ready now.
I’m ready to hear you, without harsh judgement and with pure acceptance.
I will see you as you wonderfully are. It will be better this time.
This time, I will focus on you as my priority.
You deserve all the peace and clarity that this life has to offer.
And you can be anything that this world has to offer.
You are everything.
(~ To feel your feelings and invite your thoughts readily without judgement, is strong, brave, gracious, and powerful. Your potential lies in this awareness. Sending much love to all. ~)