There’s an eerie feeling when you wake up at the age of 36 and realize you just have no idea what you want or what you like.
You were an overly anxious, people pleasing child turned into a mother at 18.
Someone who was already predisposed to make the people around them happy, had a kid. And the thought of trying to figure out what it is that I liked, needed, wanted, never even occurred to me.
When I was in therapy for the PTSD, my therapist compared me to Julia Roberts in runaway bride. A grown woman who had no idea what kind of eggs I liked. And honestly the comparison is pretty spot on.
Because I genuinely try to immerse myself in other peoples lives and hobbies and interests and, to be fair, I feel happy. But the reality is, because they are happy and I feel like I have pleased them in some kind of twisted way, that’s what’s giving me those fake happy emotions.
So what are you supposed do with that? How do you break that habit? And also, how at 36 do you start to make the attempt to figure it out?
I try really hard to be self-aware, but sometimes my self-awareness leads me to these type of realizations.
Sometimes waiting around on friends or partners in my relationship to decide what WE like and decide what WE’RE doing with our lives that day or that weekend makes me feel anxious. I’m a planner and I don’t want to sit around, but I end up sitting around waiting on someone to tell me what that plan is. And then when they don’t make plans for me or make plans without me, I feel lost. I feel like I’m floundering… like I have no idea what to do with myself. Crazy, I know!
And, if we’re being honest here, it’s a lot of pressure on them that they don’t even realize is there.
I put a lot of pressure on others without meaning to. Mostly because I expect people to respond to what I want the same way I do for them. But the reality is, there are very few people in life who will give up their needs for yours. Most people have developed healthy boundaries and the ability to say no where I’m really lacking. So those rare occasions when our type (people pleasers 🖐)ask for something specific, we have these high expectations that others will jump at the idea of forgoing what they want for what we want and that’s just not how most people are built. And it’s an unrealistic expectation that only leaves me feeling neglected which is not their intent at all. But how do you move past that and on to a new mindset?
I read through posts on socials and listen to conversations and I think there are so many of us out there struggling through this as adults. Those of us, who for one reason or another, developed this unhealthy need to please and very few boundaries.
Let’s talk about the solutions. There are real hard realizations you have to come to in order to move forward. Some of these solutions feel “wrong”. Like down to your core kinda wrong. Because you’ve built a life based around this concept and breaking it just isn’t your instinct.
TAKE BACK CONTROL
You control your life. You.
Find your voice. Set your boundaries and get control over your life. At the end of the day, it’s you. Worry about how to make yourself happy and the people who are meant to be in your life, will stay.
DO NOT ANSWER IMMEDIATELY
We sign up for and agree to so many things we don’t really want to do. Because of our inability to say no. In therapy, I was told over and over to practice the word and learn to say it, but it just never came. So, recently, I heard the phrase “I’ll get back to you”
That phrase is so freeing. It serves two purposes.
- Delays the answer for us to think it through. Most of us are also perfectionists who want to make sure we are saying the right thing. This gives time to give a thought out response without the guilt of a no.
- This let’s you figure out if it’s something YOU want. Do you want to go? Do you want to participate? We automatically respond with a yes and immediately regret it. This gives you the delay to really contemplate how you feel about it.
Yeah yeah yeah..I heard it too. That one was for me. You’re/we’re going to apologize our life away. We literally apologize for so much that we are essentially saying we are sorry for our existence. Yeah. That’s what it sounds like.
Prioritize you and your life and stop apologizing for it. Next time you say no, don’t follow up with I’m sorry. Just say no. Because that holds the only explanation needed.
STOP RELYING ON EXTERNAL VALIDATION
Most of us are in search of acceptance and validation from an outside source. We thrive on knowing that we’ve said yes and someone else is pleased by that, regardless of how we feel in the process. We need them to accept us. Let’s just throw that mindset right out the window and focus on internal validation. A source within you that lets you know you’re enough.
Let’s all take a step back, meditate on it and really get to the core of ourselves. There’s an evolution that can happen within you. If you’ll listen to it and follow that push for personal growth then you can discover so much more about yourself that you’ve buried in order to dull yourself down for the ones around you. Be bold. Be brave. Own your life.