Thirty four. It has been a journey. I feel like the first seventeen years were 80% bliss and 20% pain. The last seventeen are a bit different. I can’t say that they were baaaaad so different will do.
I am definitely not the person I was for the first half of my life. I have matured and learnt so much. I have been affected by the hurt as much as the joy, sometimes even more. Hurt is inevitable in life but it’s how we deal with it that makes a difference. For the majority of my teenage years and early twenties, I held a lot of emotions in. I started speaking out more after a while and now I’m labeled emotional. Usually I cringe but honestly, I don’t mind being emotional. I am passionate about things like my family, my close friends, my business and more, so it’s only normal to feel things deeply. When I am disappointed or hurt, I feel that deeply too because I try my best not to hurt or disappoint others.
I have even gone as far as putting my needs and wants aside for others because I cared about their needs more. This is definitely not where it is at. Although you should try to help others when/ if you can, you shouldn’t put their well being before yours. That’s a sure way of being disappointed. Another side effect of people pleasing is not actually knowing what you like. Before the birth of my son, I had a pretty decent list of things I liked. But now with two kids, it’s harder to find time for myself and the things I like. Plus COVID altered the world as we know it.
One of the challenges I have had since last year was the establishment of boundaries. Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits. Certain boundaries are easy to maintain, but there are so many little things that affect those boundaries. You may think it’s not a big deal to make an exception but then you may realize that the other person has taken the exception to be the rule and you have to reinforce the boundary again. Boundaries are there to protect us. There may be times when you set a boundary and someone gets upset. That’s not your problem.
As a people pleaser, you may think it’s not a big deal. But every time you push a boundary back for someone else, you are telling yourself that you are not worthy. Little by little, your self- worth will diminish and ultimately lead to making wrong choices. One way to remember your worth is to set healthy boundaries AND enforce them. People make mistakes and it may be that the person didn’t intentionally mean to hurt you but you should not be afraid to cut that person off if they continue to disregard your boundaries. Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself.
You set the standard for how others should treat you by how you treat and respect yourself. In life, there will be disagreements, some you will be able to resolve and others you won’t be able to. Ultimately every person has to remain true to themselves and their values. We can agree to disagree without it being an issue.
Be sure to take time to find yourself, understand who you are, what you like, dislike, what your triggers are and how to heal your trauma wounds. Make lists. Set boundaries. Honor yourself. And don’t be afraid to dig deep. Remember, you got this!