It's pretty exhausting trying to fit in all the time.
I should know, since I spent the majority of the first 36 years of my life doing just that.
I always felt like a chameleon in some ways. Wanting to be whoever you wanted me to be; doing whatever you asked me to do, just so that you would love, accept, and include me.
I let boys treat me like a doormat, I muted myself in all my relationships for fear of being rejected and I took on way too many tasks in life and work because I was afraid to say "NO" to anyone. I lost myself and forgot who I was and what I REALLY wanted.
I was so scared that I would be judged or made fun of, criticized or ostracized that I just played it safe and kept quiet, stayed small and tried to blend in.
I would often say 'Yes' when I meant 'No,' and 'No' when I wanted to say 'Yes.' I was in a state of constant people pleasing and destroyed all sense of healthy boundaries. My self-care was limited because I was so busy focused on EVERYONE and EVERYTHING else around me. I was focusing all of my time and attention on managing other people's emotions and anticipating their reactions. I was more concerned with what other people thought or felt, than I was about my own feelings and opinions.
I had lost myself. I denied my truth for so long that I even began to believe that what I wanted was wrong or made me a bad person.
Any of this sound familiar?
Well, thank God I found recovery and the 12 steps, but let me tell you, those old codependent habits die hard.
I encountered feelings of resentment, grief, guilt, shame, hurt, anger, sadness, regret and remorse for the way that I abandoned myself, my dreams & desires and for the way I broke my own heart by denying the truth of who I am and have always been since I was a little girl. Many of these same feelings arose when I realized how my codependency also caused me to show up inauthentically in some of my relationships.
The fact is, I had NO CLUE what other people thought about me (still don't). Nor was it (is it) any of my business.
How could anyone know what anyone else is thinking or feeling? But somehow, as a good codependent, I thought I was different. I thought I knew better. I thought I knew what was better for all the people in my life than they did. And thought that if I behaved in a certain way, I could control the people, places, things & circumstances around me.
This would ensure that I would be happy, safe and loved. Right?
Taking on that kind of responsibility was exhausting and made my life completely unmanageable. And quite honestly, I was really unhappy.
What I learned, through many years of recovery from codependency, is that I have absolutely no power over anyone else but myself. Neither do you. And one of the best gifts I've received from my years in recovery is knowing that I have control over no one and nothing outside of myself and the choices I make.
And here's the irony of it all.
The moment I realize and admitted that I was powerless over others, was the moment I got my power back.
Why am I writing this to you today?
Because even after many years in recovery, like any other recovering addict, I can be tempted by old habits that offer distraction and addictive behaviors that offer temporary relief from uncomfortable feelings.
But I know addictive behaviors only bandage symptoms and avoid the real issues. They don't get to the root cause of it all which, in my case and perhaps for some of you, may be a combination of low self-worth, low self-esteem, fear of abandonment, self-doubt and above all, a lack of faith & doubting in my higher power.
When I get myself into a tizzy such as this, frustration, gloom and depression can quickly take over. There are a combination of things I do that help bring me back to center. All of which fall under the topic of self-care and effective action taking. They include: a good night's sleep, meditation, journaling, healthy eating, moving my body, prayer, working through it with my coach or mentor or a mastermind partner, going to recovery meetings, and having a sacred community of like-minded individuals who can help lift me up and help me see myself from a higher vibrational vantage point. Surrounding myself with high vibration and positive energy is key to my healing and wholeness and gets me back on track quickly.
In the comments below, tell me, how do you people please in you life? Where in your life do you feel powerful? What makes you feel powerless? What "root causes" do you have stuggle with that throw you into a tizzy the most? How do you get yourself back on track?