We hear about the insecurity of people all the time. We are always talking about “owning who you are” and “walking with your head held high,” “not worrying what people think.” I’ve always felt fairly confident in being the weirdo that I am, and I really like the life I am living. But I have finally realized that even though I haven’t thought of myself as being the insecure type, I actually am. My insecurity, however, doesn’t lie in how I dress or in what school I went to, or the people in my life. My insecurity manifests itself in a totally different way, masked as something less obvious: people-pleasing.
I am a people-pleaser. I have finally realized that most of my anxiety issues lie in my incessant need to please people. I care so much about the people in my life, that I never want to do anything that will upset, annoy, or inconvenience them. Part of it is because I see myself as someone with an acute intuition, so I feel I should know better than to do whatever it is I think I did that possibly upset them. Because I understand them in a way others don’t! (Next post: my pride issues.)
I think part of it is the fact that I am an introvert and keep my friend circle small; as a dear friend said last week, “There are a lot of people I like, but there are very few whom I really love.” A lot of people might not understand that sentiment, but it really rang true for me. So when I have a few whom I spend most of my love and energy on, I really want to hold up my end of the relationship and be the best version of myself for them. This is not to say that they don’t see my selfishness or my laziness, but that I want to remember to honor them in the best way that I know how. The trap is that I get really anxious if I feel I’ve done something to upset them. My friendship circle is small, but incredibly meaningful to me, and a potential “falling out” would be devastating to me. I want to protect and enrich the relationships I’ve surrounded myself with, and ultimately I will at some point sacrifice a part of myself to make sure everything stays on the right track.
But, I am learning, that is not healthy. Anyone with sense will tell you that only a true relationship will stand up under pressure; they weren’t your friend anyway if they’re leaving you because of a disagreement or an inconvenience. And that is very true. But I hate confrontation and disagreements. I’m sure very few do, but I recoil from them like a bag of snakes. They make me extremely uncomfortable and I will do almost anything to avoid getting to that point. But I am finally learning that in order to grow and be my best self in the world, I have to give myself grace to allow for the fact that I can’t please everyone. Someone will always be annoyed, or frustrated, or even angry and hurt with me at some point. It’s inevitable. I’m learning that it’s not healthy to avoid confrontation or expressing your own hurt feelings for the sake of the other person. I need to speak up and be who I am so I can be an even better friend, wife, and daughter. Relationships deepen through tough times, and passing through awkward, embarrassing, or frustrating conversations will only make a true relationship stronger. If I want to grow, deepen, and enrich my life and the lives of the people I care about, I have to stop avoiding the negative aspects of life, and forcing only the positive. I have to speak up when I need something, rather than set it aside for what I think the other person needs from me. I have to trust the relationships that I am in. I have to learn to outgrow my insecurity of people-pleasing. Frankly, I’m not looking forward to it. This is so wildly out of my comfort zone. But I am envisioning the strong, secure woman I want to be, and I know this is the path I must start down.