Life is such a journey, isn’t it, of trying to figure out who we are and who we are meant to be. The psychology of it is fascinating to me. We came into this world ready to sprout our own bundle of innate qualities. The age old debate of nature vs. nurture focuses on those qualities in us that may be diluted or magnified by our respective environments. For anyone with more than one child, you know exactly what I am talking about. From minute #1 into this beautiful world of ours…your little bundle had their own emblematic personality. Even with identical parenting styles and environments, successive siblings grow their traits into a unique species. We are who we are.
In self-evaluation and the catharsis of writing, I find that my pleaser personality trait developed at a rather young age……nature or nurture?…not really sure. But whatever the impetus, my behaviors were determined by what others expected of me. Not so bad to utilize this quality before my frontal lobe was fully developed. It perhaps helped me to make wiser choices based on parental approval ratings and avoid a few obstacles along the pathway. As I grew older, I began to sift through some of those choice options in an attempt to find myself, but the pendulum still swung toward the pleaser side until it eventually became my Modus operandi.
The obvious downside of being a pleaser is that one can become conflicted with the complexities of life, especially when it becomes apparent that it is impossible to please everyone. In recent times, I have allowed the words of one, from outside my inner circle, to creep in and try convince me that I am not who I thought I was….that I am someone else. I was derailed into a questioning spiral. Confusion reigned supreme within me, because I’ve tried to put myself into the skin of their words, and it just didn’t fit. It just didn’t sound like… me. A pleaser is an easy target for critical observations. Their default mechanism is to analyze and then to doubt….self…motives…actions….in their desperate attempt to please others. All of my life I have acquiesced and been dictated by the affirmation of others.
I had a revelation this week. It was HUGE on my people pleasing scales. It is probably common sense in the minds of a non-pleaser. After many years into the game of life and abundant recent soul searching, I have decided that it is okay NOT to please everyone. It is okay if I don’t agree with someone, and it is just plain okay if they don’t like me. I am letting this one go….like one releasing the string of a helium balloon and letting it gently float away into great unknown. I will not allow myself to be bullied into thinking otherwise. Instead, I find that my truth lies within. I finally realize that God created me to be the way He wanted me to be and I do not wish to go against that conviction.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. ~ Psalm 139
The Me that has evolved is the Me that I know. I am the culmination of a lifetime of choices. I don’t claim that they have all been good ones. In a recent sermon series we were encouraged to ask ourselves the question: What is the wise thing to do based on our past experiences, our current circumstances, and our future hopes and dreams? The answer to this question is beyond right or wrong, and legal or illegal. It implies a different answer for everyone because of the uniqueness of self. I know that mentors and friends who speak into my life can be a
good great thing and helpful in growing toward all kinds of maturity. However those who attempt to speak into my life from a different path than mine will always think differently and have a different perspective because of their past experiences. Their answers should be different than mine. I don’t have to exchange my way of thinking for theirs. In this discovery, I have been granted the peace to know that I am who I am. Deep sigh……
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ~ John 14:27