Some time ago I read an article about women my age going through a realization point. It said basically that by our ‘past middle age’ crone point, we have realized that we can stop trying to please everyone else and that we can begin concentrating on ourselves and what might us happy. Over the past year or so, and certainly since my awful car accident, this certainly has been the case with me.
I probably started this process way before this when I began to realize that not everyone had to be my friend. When I was much younger, I was the type of person that seemed to gather every soul to me. It was important to me to be nice to everybody possible and befriend all types and listen endlessly to their stories. This, obviously, can be a huge energy drain as most people don’t usually give back what they take.
Over the years I began to realize that I didn’t need to have a million friends in order to be OK, so instead only kept the ones close to me that provided quality friendship back. This was a huge step, but so uplifting. But I was still really a ‘pleaser’ in many ways. At work I gave almost everyone a holiday gift, no matter how many co-workers I had. And I used to send about 60 gifts around the country at holiday time too! No, I did not get that many back.
In my marriages/relationships I think I tried too hard and expected too much in return and therefore was always disappointed. That’s why they all failed. And, of course, I gave and gave to my three daughters also as a mother should. When one is by nature a giving person, it’s hard not to be in every role we play: wife, friend, co-worker, employee….whatever we do.
But in this role, it is easy for others to take advantage of one’s good nature. And this has happened too often to me. I have been hurt more times than I can count: by friends, bosses, husbands, boyfriends and now my kids. And it’s to the point now where my heart bleeds.
I am much, much older now. And I have been through a lot. My business as a paramedic also has slammed home the importance of living life to the fullest and reaping the most joy from one’s OWN life that you can. When one is spending time trying to please someone else all the time, you lose yourself in the meantime. And before you know it: poof, your life is gone.
The really sad part too is that many of the people who expect me now to continue to ‘yes’ them (like my kids or ex-husband) are incredibly disrespectful of me! They, apparently, have become so accustomed to me simply putting my own feelings aside, that this new woman they face has turned them into mean and rude people themselves. They do not like me having an opinion or a feeling that doesn’t agree with what they want, or for me to say NO. They don’t like me finally standing up for myself. They feel I’m too ’emotional’.
I am very conflicted though, don’t get me wrong. Two of my kids aren’t talking to me right now because I’m standing my ground. And my ex and I aren’t either (no great loss there). But I will no longer tolerate rudeness or disrespect. I’m not at work either from my boss. Even my mother said something hurtful and I told her. She got very angry and yelled endlessly. It was amazing! It was scary to me to tell my mother I wouldn’t accept behavior from her!
So I guess people don’t like to see change in someone. I’ve tried to remain calm as they all rage around me. Maybe I’ll end up with no family or friends? I have no idea. But I feel inner peace now. It seems the whole world would rather fight and rage and everyone has forgotten to communicate. I have tried speaking calmly to all that fight with me. It’s funny but my middle daughter told me a man who lived here with me said that I was hard to live with after he moved out. This coming from a man who yelled every time there was a discussion about anything! And who continues to stalk me on my blog.
Maybe I will never understand people. Or maybe they will never understand me. I surely hope my daughters come around and get it someday before I’m too old. My mom and I just avoid everything and so it will remain. But I do know I will continue to stand up for myself. It feels right now. I have only myself now to please. If I don’t do it, no-one else will.