Hello everyone! I’m back with my first “Friday Thoughts” post in about a million years! My holidays were actually pretty uneventful with a quick trip to Austin followed by life as usual. I think I’ve hit that age where I love the holiday season, but the day itself is, well, underwhelming. We had a great time, but it just goes by so quickly! With the new year upon us, I’ve found myself thinking about where I’m at and how I’m feeling about my life. I wrote quite a few posts last year about the changes we’d made to get here, and it feels like the major hurdles of the past few years are behind us.
However, I’m a pretty self-reflective person, and there’s one major area of my life that’s been bothering me in recent months. I care way too much about what people think of me, and I want them to like me, dammit! In fact, I wrote an entire paper about it during my high school psychology class. I’m someone who strives to say “Yes, I’ll do it” to everything without focusing as much on my own needs. I pride myself on being able to say yes to the hard stuff even if I find myself paying for it later. I’ve convinced myself that being the person who always says “yes” makes me the most valuable person in the room when, really, it can make me the most stressed. I also tend to back down from my opinions pretty easily when challenged. I consider myself to be very strong-willed and opinionated in my own mind, but it’s hard for me to maintain that attitude when faced with backlash.
That brings me to my one resolution for the year- to stop being afraid and speak up more. I’m not one for resolutions since I think the best changes can be made at any time, but this is something that consistently interferes with my own mental health and well-being. I find that it manifests more strongly in certain areas of my life than others, but I have a consistent pattern of keeping my head down and saying yes to make others happy. My friend, Cody, actually just launched her blog and wrote an amazing post all about this. Her comments about not wanting to take up space or voice on opinion resonated so strongly with me. The topic actually came up when we had lunch a few weeks back, and we both mentioned how tired we were of letting the fear of how others perceive us get in our way.
I underwent a pretty significant health scare in my early 20s that I plan on writing about in more detail soon, but it had a major shift on how I handled situations in my personal life. I actually did start speaking up more, and I wasn’t as content just going along with the ride. It definitely impacted some relationships I had at the time, but it was a step in the right direction for someone who tried too hard to make others happy. I think I made some major steps in being more assertive, but I still have a hard time expressing my thoughts and opinions with less familiar people or those in authority. I often find myself coming up with creative solutions to make unrealistic requests work, and I’ll beat myself up later if I’m not able to balance everything perfectly.
I feel like I’ve seen similar sentiments expressed on a few “resolution” lists this year, and it makes me both happy and sad. I hate that so many women feel the same way, but I love that so many of us want to do something about it. This blog has been one of the more empowering things I’ve done since it gives me a voice and a platform to share my struggles and insecurities. It’s also comforting to know I’m not alone in these thoughts, especially because I hear them being voiced by so many women I consider strong and inspirational! I’ve been seeing the quote “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” being passed around quite a bit this week. I, for one, would stop being afraid that my opinions would alienate or frustrate people, and I would stop trying to be so damn perfect all the time. So maybe let’s give that a try for 2019, shall we?