Now, this is a pretty new revelation. I never thought I was one of those girls that did everything to please everyone else, but recently I’ve realised that I do try – way more than I should – to make sure people like me.
It’s such a hard habit to kick. I think I consider others’ opinions of myself subconsciously and it wasn’t until a conversation with my mum when she told me to “put as much effort into myself as I do for everyone else” that I realised just how much I care about what people think of me.
At school I was more than happy dressing differently, listening to music that didn’t feature on the Top 40 and just generally being “uncool” – and I didn’t really care what anyone else thought. Those are usually the years when you’re trying to ‘fit in’ and find your place but I was quite happy being myself, making my own choices and just doing whatever the hell I wanted.
It was during my college years when this started to change, I got into my first serious relationship and completely lost my own sense of identity. I was constantly trying to please him and I would do anything to make sure his friends, family and pretty much everyone else in his vicinity liked me. It wasn’t until we broke up that I started regaining my self confidence, just in time for my three years at university.
At uni I was completely myself. I started to figure out that I don’t have time for people that don’t have time for me and I was more than happy to speak my mind. Moving away from home and learning to live by myself gave me a new sense of freedom and allowed me to explore who I was, what I wanted and who I wanted to spend my time with. The workload was stressful, and I was working part-time alongside my studies, so I definitely didn’t have time to spare trying to please others. I just wish that I’d have taken onboard this taking-no-shit attitude after I graduated, but I found myself back to square one, worrying about what others will think about me.
The main reason for this is probably insecurity. I finished university and before I even had chance to put on my cap and gown I’d rushed into a full time job, and it just wasn’t what I wanted. To everyone on the outside it seemed like I had my life together: a First Class degree, a shiny new graduate job in a well respected industry and a really lovely group of friends. So obviously when I handed in my notice, went back to my part time retail job and began studying for an MA, it felt like people were looking down on me and assumed that I was making stupid mistakes.
So, there I was, back to pleasing everyone – trying to convince them that I was making the right decisions. I would go out of my way for friends and try to make people like me just so I wouldn’t feel like they were judging my choices. But I’ve recently realised that the only person I have to make like me, is me.
YOU DO YOU
This is really all you can do in life, just do you. I’ve learnt to be proud of the decisions I’ve made, purely because I’ve done them for the right reason – to make myself happy. If other people don’t like that, or make you feel bad for just doing you, then you don’t need them in your life. I’m going to stop pleasing people and start doing things for my own happiness, without fear of not being liked.
In the words of Sarah Knight: “take risks, ignore the doubters, and prove the haters wrong.”