My very first blog post in 2016 was about learning the power of saying no. I had agreed to dog sit for a friend even though I knew in my gut that my health was probably not up to it. Of course I was right. I suffered, my family suffered and I am no longer friends with that person…all because I felt obligated to say yes. I did learn my lesson. I keep that situation in mind and trust my inner voice much better these days when it comes to overextending myself and going above and beyond to please others. If I appear selfish by saying no, then so be it. If my health limitations are not obvious to people and they take my ‘no’ personally, then they probably aren’t really my friends anyway. That was my new year resolution, and I do believe I have successfully learned the art of saying no!
Reflecting back on 2016, I have decided that much of my discontent throughout, was rooted in not being true to myself, or what they call these days, not living authentically. Again, the people pleasing is the culprit. For me, I feel like my fibromyalgia has made me a more selfish person in general because I am often consumed with my health. To counter that self absorption, I have become more of a people pleaser. Actually, I should say I reverted back to being a people pleaser, as that was always my role as a child.
Slowly, over the last decade or so, I have lost touch with my authentic self. Much of it has to do with life changes and chronic illness. My understanding of who I am in the world has shifted. The identity that I held for so long, no longer applies. I identified myself with external labels like “single parent”, “Director of Human Resources”, “self-sufficient”, “go-getter”. These labels were just transient places in my life, but I stood on them like mountains. And when the wind of change blew, I found myself at the bottom of a valley, scattered and adrift. Because I associated all of my personal strengths with those labels, my confidence disappeared. And slowly, I ended up here. A place of not showing people my true self because I don’t want to feel judged, because I don’t want to be unlikable.
I think I have always been different from most people. I am a true INFJ, my uniqueness comes from the way I process the world around me and then how I put the pieces together. For most of my adult life, I knew this, embraced it and it gave me confidence. It was a quiet internal confidence, an understanding of myself. These days, I am insecure about it. I feel like an outsider most of the time and the confidence not to care about being an outsider, is gone.
Also before, I was surrounded by career-minded people in the workplace. Today I am surrounded by stay at home and homeschooling mothers. Of course some of them work and are pursuing degrees, but it is still very different. I was comfortable in the workplace, and could recognize the value of my unique way of processing/thinking, and so I had confidence. I feel like a fish out of water in my new(ish) surroundings (its been four years), and I have yet to see the value of my perspective, so I am insecure or unsure of my footing. This insecurity has led me to care entirely to much about what people think of me. I want to fit in, I want my daughter to have diverse friendships, even if our families have different perspectives, so I don’t reveal those perspectives.
When you are spending so much time pleasing others with your muted self, you can lose touch with who your authentic self is. So for 2017, my resolution is to get back in touch with who I am and embrace it. Identify myself with the internal labels that are a part of who I am, not words that place me in this society. To become confident again and stay there, despite the changes that unfold in life.
There might be some changes to this blog as well. I don’t want it to become a place where I come to vent my grievances, but I feel like there is some value in talking more about my feelings here. Blogging has been such a helpful platform, and even though my struggles with fibromyalgia are personal, I hide much of who I am and how I feel about things in life from readers because I don’t want to exclude or put people off. <<< more people pleasing. There is a way to discuss your perspectives without insulting or isolating others, while still honoring your own feelings. So I will be working on that skill here in writing, and hopefully it will help me with my face to face interactions as well.
What are your goals for the new year? Do you make new year resolutions?