I truly admire people who are themselves 100% of the time. You know the type of person who does NOT care what others think about them? The type of person who says, “This is who I am… take it or leave it.” The type of person who always, unapologetically lives their truth.
I’m definitely NOT one of those people, and to be honest, they tend to make me a little bit uncomfortable. Lol. I definitely DO care what people think of me and I have always been that way. I love getting praise from people, in fact, Words of Affirmation is my primary Love Language. I like that I am considered a “role-model” who others “coming behind can look-up to”.
I’m realizing however, that I might care a little TOO much.
This is probably why it takes a long time for people (and only a handful of them), outside of my family, to get close to me. Close enough to see my vulnerabilities.
I don’t know if it’s First Born Syndrome, Type A Personality, People-Pleasing or a combination of all of the above, but wanting to appear perfect is one thing I really want to change about myself.
And that’s a very difficult thing to admit.
The truth is, it is exhausting not being your authentic self.
On the other hand, sometimes being authentic may come across as selfish, rude, disrespectful, lazy, superficial, irresponsible… And who the heck wants to have any of these traits attached to their character?
So where do we find the balance of being true to who we are without disappointing others in the process?
I’ll give an example to show you how deep this thing is for me.
I had my right tragus pierced in my 3rd year of University… so approximately 14 years ago. I eventually took it out 4 years later, and I told myself it was because it bothered me whenever I had to put my stethoscope in my ears.
But a year ago, I made the decision to get it pierced again. However, I held back for a very long time – we are talking months, because I was worried about what my parents would think, what my in-laws would say, what my pastors would ask. As in… “Is Yewande backsliding?”
The stress surrounding this decision actually became a prayer-point with one of my girlfriends… it was that serious! Sad right?!
It wasn’t until I asked my husband his thoughts and he supported it that I went for it.
But why did it take prayers AND approval for me to do something that would make me happy? That can’t be a good thing especially over something as minor as a tragus piercing?
This is one superficial example, but the same thoughts cross my mind in more significant situations, especially when my opinion might be the “unpopular” one in the room.
How do I get over being a people-pleaser so I don’t burn out and live my life full of one regret after the other? How do I stay true to myself, my purpose and my happiness without offending or disappointing others? Or is this an inevitable consequence of being authentic?
This is something I’m working out, especially in this day and age where opinions and values can be “trendy”. I realize more and more that it is very important that I stay true to who I am, what I believe and what I stand for otherwise I will find myself wandering through life – lost.
I guess last, last, others will learn to take it or leave it. Everyone will eventually be alright.
P.S. I do love my tragus piercing! And for some reason it doesn’t affect my stethoscope this time around. Plus, those I thought would care, either don’t or have kept their disapproval to themselves!