At this point in my life I feel like I am being crushed by the expectations of nearly everyone I know. I understand myself well enough to know that some of these expectations are probably just my own, but I am pretty confident that most people I know have expectations of me even if they are only subconscious.
I’m struggling so much because it’s impossible to please everyone. As hard as I try, I will always disappoint someone. Sometime long ago I must have made a promise to myself after being let down because I have grown into an adult that cannot bear the thought of disappointing anyone.
This whole thing has caused me to struggle with being authentic because I’m trying to be all things to all people. But unlike the apostle Paul, it’s not so that I might win some, it’s so that people will approve of me.
I recently realized that I try so hard to please everyone and make sure they have a high opinion of me because I have no idea what I think of myself. If I was the only person on earth, I don’t know how what opinions I would hold or how I would determine my value. Just about everything I do (with the exception of some of my bad habits of undiscipline for the purpose of numbing myself to my pain) is in an effort to make people approve of me so that I can approve of myself. I have a few key people that I try hardest to gain approval from and lately I feel like I have totally dashed their expectations and let them down royally. There is a second tier of people I try to please and I feel like I’m juggling them as unsteadily as one of those guys balancing wobbly plates upon sticks. All the while I feel like I’m sinking deeper and deeper into the mire.
I fully understand that my value comes from being a child of God. However, that truth has obviously not made the 18 inch journey from my head to my heart. I feel like God is the last one in the lineup of people to please. By the time I get to him I have only crumbs left. I’m giving my Heavenly father my worst rather than my best. Unfortunately I have left Andy farther down the line than he should be. Recently I do feel some victory in that area. I have moved him up to the front of the line and the result has been a great deal of joy, peace and contentment. I never neglected him as far as the typical wife duties go (listening to him, sharing with him, spending time together, housekeeping, etc) but my heart has been striving so hard to make so many other people happy that I wasn’t giving him my energy and my heart as much as I wanted to or felt like I should have been.
I don’t really even know how to change the way I have been for so long. I have read some great books that have given some wonderful advice, but implementing it is so much harder than reading about it. I am trying to take baby steps by saying no to certain things that come up and by restraining myself from volunteering too much when it is just for the sake of gaining approval or being co-dependent.
I’ve definitely rocked some boats. It has all made me feel sea sick. I’m trying to figure out how to get to solid ground and learn to walk again. There is a fine line between serving others and doing things for healthy reasons and for unhealthy reasons. I continue to pray that I find that line.