I have spent a lifetime unknowingly letting people walk all over me. I’ve spent almost every day of my life trying to do what made others happy or anything to make them like me.
I wasted years trying to act in a way that was socially acceptable to avoid judgement. Whether it was at special events or reaching big milestones. I wouldn’t celebrate occasions such as my birthday or buying my first car the way I wanted to because I felt I’d be viewed as entitled, childish, or overdramatic. Even though I was beyond excited and proud of myself for achieving it.
But after years of being a people pleaser, I’ve decided to focus on creating my own happiness. I simply felt overwhelmed with the demands of other people and couldn’t cave into the pressure any longer. Plus, I felt it was time to make a lifestyle change and focus more on myself.
At first, I really feared what other people would think about me putting myself first. I anticipated people calling me names and labels such as selfish, rude, heartless, inconsiderate, and a bitch. But I didn’t feel it. To be honest, most of my closest friends and family (aka the ones I genuinely value and care about) are praising me for finally doing this.
For example, I used to drag myself to family functions I didn’t really want to go to. I did it simply in order to please other family members who judged the ones who didn’t show up. Now, I am more selective of the events I go to. And I don’t feel bad or guilty if I miss one. I know more will come, and I know which people I value more than others in my life. I’ll always prioritize those and will be the first to arrive and entirely present.
I still feel guilty at times, don’t get me wrong. But prioritizing myself has been one of the most empowering things I could have ever done. My parents and friends really want me to date because I’ve been chronically single since forever, but I still have no desire to do so and am enjoying this selfish time. I love being selfish right now. There I said it. It feels good and feels like the right time for me to do so.
I don’t really feel the need to make excuses for my behavior as I anticipated either. If I don’t want to spend time with someone, then I don’t. If I want to cut people out of my life, I still do it tearfully, as I hate hurting people. But I’ve learned to recognize when I need to do it to benefit myself. I should never have to justify my actions to others because I’m only doing it for myself.
I am also following the belief that you should surround yourself with those who help you flourish, encourage you, and are similar to you. In my experience with this process, I’ve noticed that I am slightly conforming and inspiring my friends to do the same. So, now we have a support group for when we do experience conflicting feelings or are feeling overwhelmed.
Having that support from people really encourages you to do better and keep up the progress you’ve made. It also helped make me feel less judged when I got the feeling that people were offended or upset that I said no to them for once. Although I’m determined to make this change, I’m really happy that I have been able to keep it up, even when I feel guilty. Or like I’m pushing the wrong people away for no reason at all.
For those who are also going through this transition, I don’t want you to view yourself as a monster. Just because you say no, it doesn’t mean you are cutting them off. You’re just being honest and are trying to prioritize what and who is important to you. You will soon learn who is a genuine friend and who is someone who tries using you over time and before you know it, you’ll already have cut them out. You will simply stop giving a shit as time goes by and learn that you don’t owe anything to anyone and it’ll feel wonderful!
Featured image via Unsplash