The most AMAZING thing I've discovered about getting older is the ability to let the chaff go and keep the wheat, or in layperson's terms, letting go of the bullshit in life. I'm talking about the pressure people and society put on us all to be politically-correct, fit in with whatever group we're facing, and succumb to the pressures of others, especially family.
I've realized that life is too short to spend hiding within others' expectations of me. And I've unearthed at least 5 benefits that happened when I stopped trying to please those around me:
- I accept myself for who I am, imperfections and all.For years, someone close has told me I'm overweight, which I am. But every time I'd put a morsel of food in my mouth, he'd stare at me, disapproving, subconsciously shaming me into dieting. No more! Yes, I'm eating healthy most of the time, but here's a shocker as well:My body is beautiful, curves and all! It works as it should.It is SEXY, vibrant. And because of this realization, I am more confident about my physical self than I've been in years. That confidence itself, makes me even more appealing. I LIKE what I look like!
- I'm using less energy living up to the expectations of others.The word “no” is a bigger part of my vocabulary without regrets later on. Will I chair a PTA committee I'd hate? No. Will I take the son with two beautifully working legs to a friend's house five blocks away because he doesn't “feel” like walking. No. Will I clean the house to my husband's unrealistic standards? Not a chance. I do what I need to do, what I like to do, and let others live up to their own self-imposed “shoulds.” Their issues are no longer mine.
- I'm connecting with people more freely and have realized that I'm a genuinely nice person.When there's no hidden agenda, no “I hope they like me” thoughts, it's easier for me to be myself, to be kind because I want to be, not because I “have” to be. I'm free to be considerate for no other reason than that it feels good.
- I'm not controlled by family. Too often we do things because we “have to” for people who show no gratitude. Then we kick ourselves because we feel we've been taken advantage of. By putting my foot down and not caring what they think merely because they're part of that extremely powerful moniker known as FAMILY, I've rid myself of many people who were a negative influence on me. I'm attracting friends whom I want to help and who want to help me when I'm down.
- I'm relying on myself for my happiness and spending more time determining how to do that.I exercise because I want to, garden because the results make me happy, and write, not out of a sense of obligation, but because I genuinely like it. I'm playing with my children because they're fun, laughing more than disciplining them over the little things, and letting them do more for themselves.
Do I have fewer people around me? Sure, but those people are of a higher caliper than the ones before. Am I still overweight? Maybe and it doesn't matter because I know that I'm beautiful no matter what the number on the scale shows.
Am I selfish? Nope. I'm self-affirming, choosing self-nurturing over indentured servitude.
And I'm definitely happier, with more items on my nightly Gratitude List than ever before. Not caring has given me the freedom to make choices that please me. And that, my friends, is an incredible feeling.
Give it a try and let me know what YOU think (if it pleases you).