I may not have experienced leaps and bounds of growth with my therapist over the past year (and as you know, I have cut her loose anyway), but she did say one thing that has definitely been an issue in my life: I squelch myself in order to please others and let them have their way as a way of maintaining peace.
This past week, I have been experiencing emotional hardship on three different fronts in my life — career, family, and my extra-curricular commitment. I am really ready for growth and change (and had been seeking growth and change) in all of these areas, but it’s simply not time yet.
I spoke to someone about all three of these areas, where it pertained to them, and I’m still really frustrated about all three areas. One area is somewhat resolved, so there is some peace to that issue for now.
In another area, though, I stood up for myself and received mixed reviews. Some applauded me for standing up for myself, some basically thought it was the worst way I could have handled the situation, and others have yet to weigh in. The issue aside, I find it revealing how these different parties reacted to my strongly-worded request for help. I can’t take it back at this point and am still waffling on whether I did the right thing. I am leaning toward thinking that I absolutely did the right thing thanks to the support of those closest to me. My inner circle thinks I should not squelch myself in this situtaion, and I am buffering up myself with their support.
There was a time during my late teens that I was obsessed with quotations. A potential love interest from Governor’s School, a boy who lived 3 hours away, started a chain of ever-thickening letters with me. While some of the contents of these letters described the usual stuff we now all write over email, a large portion of our “maybe I like you” letters included quotations from a multitude of sources, but mostly music quotations as we were both into then-current alternative and musicals. Oh, how receiving those notes and then replying to them made me swoon! I would work really hard on my replies to him, seeking the very lines that could tell him how I felt about him without actually telling him.
After that time, and after nothing eventually happened between us, I didn’t lose my interest in finding quotations that spoke a truth that was in my heart. One that I came across junior year of college was an Arabian proverb which stated, “Action may not bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”
This is the truth in my heart. My need to speak up on my own behalf — and actually doing it — may not make my situation better and bring me the happiness I seek, but it moves me toward some really important decision making I’ve been contemplating.
I generally don’t stick up for myself, which I am finding more and more ridiculous. I really didn’t ask for anything that I wasn’t already entitled to, and I didn’t call anyone bad names, and I didn’t act like a spoiled brat doing it. I sought advice from two trusted people before taking action and they both encouraged me to go through with it. This is why I can’t feel badly about my action.
We have just returned from three weeks of vacation. That time was spent walking a lot, looking at beautiful places in Europe, riding in trains, and resting. That made room for a lot of thinking. I think I also gained a measure of ownership over the events of my life, including the three areas I mentioned where I have struggled since our return. It’s going to take a while to be happy with these areas, but at least I am actively addressing these areas. My usual wait-and-see approach is just not going to work for me anymore.