You…Yes, you! I want to ask you something…
Have you ever been with close friends and felt left out or ignored as you were talking?
Have you ever been in a group of 3 and felt there was some underlying competition to get “the preferred friend’s favor”?
Have you ever had a friend visiting and felt exhausted when he/she left? Or did you feel saddened by your friend’s comments about you or your loved ones?
Did you ever feel bad about yourself after your boyfriend told you that you are always moaning? Or when he means to be supportive by directing you?
If you can relate to any of these situations, you might be like me. Too eager to please and be liked. Not speaking up when it hurts, just to avoid potential conflict or an unpleasant situation. Insecure, vulnerable. Programmed with “Have to behave, have to be good. Must not disappoint.” So much so that you take all kinds of crap for too long with a smile and a brave face.
Well, the blessing of being over 40 should be that I officially can no longer afford to waste my time and energy. I have gone into the second half and every minute is precious. I have earned my right NOT to give a toss. I can say: this is who I am, and you don’t have to be here if you don’t like it.
Why is it so difficult to speak up then? To say: I am talking and you don’t listen, your comment hurt me, please don’t patronize me, please don’t tell me what to do.
I think in my case it’s bad habits. Like the habit of believing what others think rather than believing in myself. Accommodating others’ needs before my own. Fearing painful confrontations.
Relationships are my true north. I am blessed with great friendships and a large family. However anything won’t work, I want quality rather than quantity. I’ll choose more carefully where to pour my time and love, and will avoid draining situations as much as possible.
And I’ll try to speak up more, because true friendship and love is built on trust and not on fear.