The best advice I’ve ever given is this: Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken and if people don’t like you, that is ok. It hasn’t been until recently that I’ve been able to live this motto in my own life. I’ve always been so concerned by what others might say or think about me that it controlled my actions. I would try to be the person I thought they’d like to be around. Doing this only managed to cause me to resent those around me because I was always putting on a show.
I think I first started this as a kid. We were taught to be flexible and not make waves. I know now that mom didn’t mean for us to be wishy-washy, but as a kid, it just meant that I should keep my thoughts and opinions to myself. So, as a result, I let others make the decisions for me and let myself blend into the background being complacent with the choices they made for me.
This thought process carried through into my relationships as I got older. I became a chameleon. Listening to the music they liked. Doing the activities they wanted to. Eating or cooking the things they picked. As I look back, I think to myself – “But what about the music I like, or the activities I want to do, or the foods I prefer?” I rarely spoke up for myself and let my wants or wishes be known.
There is one thing that really springs to mind when I think about how I used to handle things and that is when someone would ask me “What can I do to make you happy?” and I could never give them an answer because for so long, I had conditioned myself that the things I wanted didn’t matter and I could only identify myself by who I was with.
Now that I’m on my own, I’ve allowed myself to have a voice and I’m learning to be my true self. It’s taken a long time to get to this point and I wish I could’ve done this sooner. If someone/something is bothering me, I’ll address it. If I don’t like a situation, I try to change it or at least voice my displeasure. I’ve put aside the passive aggressive actions/talk in favor of being straight forward – Most of the time. I do still fall back into my old habits, but I’m trying.
What’s the age-old saying – You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Well – this old dog is working magic!