Out of all the years on this earth, I would say 2017 is truly the one that forced me to face several of my fears and insecurities in the face and really get to the root of why. For years I have battled with the ability to say what’s on my mind & express how I felt authentically. If I expressed anything, it came with downplaying my true feelings, worrying about how it would make the other person feel, mincing words or completely feeling riddled with guilt. My insecurity with communication has been a battle I finally decided to face & conquer.
Let me clarify: not the ability to speak words – communicating my true feelings when they needed to be expressed. There are times in my life where I have truly expressed my feelings, but only in extreme situations (i.e. a breakup, a misunderstanding, etc.) OR jokingly or through sarcasm. Now that I think about it, I found myself fluent in the language of sarcasm. But just to truly communicate that I don’t like something straight out and straight forward – NEVER!
It stems back to the mere age of 3 years old. For time’s sake, I won’t go into it. Let’s just say I’ve nailed down the actual & factual reasons why I took responsibility in cutting off my ability to communicate my feelings effectively. In a span of 30 years, you can bet that burden is so deeply interwoven in every aspect of my life to the point where I found myself beating myself over situations where I should have communicated better to hopefully get a better outcome.
Then in 2017, I faced that beast, got over myself, put on some lipgloss, and kept it moving.
2017 has been the year that made me FINALLY wake up, forgive myself, and show myself more grace and mercy.
Since this realization, I found myself truly paying attention to how I reacted when I had a feeling about something. Then I asked myself WHY and allowed myself time to figure out the answer. Sounds simple to most, but I have never done that before. I always believed in truly trying to understand other people and their feelings without delving into my own. “Oh. My feelings are there, but they don’t matter. How are you feeling?” Anything where I could take the focus off of myself and not face what ugly feelings I had inside made me the ultimate people pleaser. I wanted to be liked. I never wanted to give someone something negative to say about me. I wanted for people to know that someone understood them…even though I’ve gone almost my entire life feeling completely misunderstood. Whenever my feelings came into play, I had to downplay them. Defend them. Apologize for them. Feel guilty about them.
2017 has been the year that made me FINALLY wake up, forgive myself, and show myself more grace and mercy in this area. To not feel guilty about asking for what I want. For not explaining or apologizing for not wanting to spend time with vibes I don’t want to be around. Throwing out the excuse that I’m a mom and I’m “so busy” doing mom and wifely things that “I can’t come and hang” to “I won’t be able to make it. You all have a nice time” – and that’s a statement. I don’t owe anyone an explanation. Period.
In this article 30 Things People Don’t Realize You’re Doing Because You Actually Have Self-Respect Now, it gives phenomenal list of this and other things I can shout “Amen, girl!” to all day. But this one really hit home:
Breaking other people’s expectations. You owe nothing to what other people want and expect you to be. Their perspectives of you are limited, and they are narrow. Conforming to them keeps you small.
One of my favorite authors, Cara Alwill Leyba has a podcast called “Style Your Mind” which I L.O.V.E. because she is just everything & screams authenticity! But one of her episodes spoke to this narrative of being unapologetic! It’s episode 62 if you’re interested in hearing it, but it essentially talks about how she overcame being a people pleaser & learned how to be unapologetic in every aspect of her life. Standing up for yourself & standing in your power doesn’t mean you have to be combative, conniving, mean or a bitch. It just means that you can be assertive and still be a kind soul, but you’re not apologizing for what you want. Also, to stop feeling guilty about asking for what you want.
This article outlines, “A survey has found that more than 96 per cent of women feel guilty at least once a day, while for almost half, the feeling strikes up to four times a day. When a woman feels she is not putting another first, she quickly feels like she’s doing something bad, then guilt rushes in.”
2017 found me on the opposite end of the spectrum than I’m used to with some. It was uncomfortable as ever, but you know what? Growth isn’t always uncomfortable AND growth isn’t for them – it’s for me! No apologies for it, not feeling guilty for it, no explanations needed. Sorry, not sorry.