Ok, I know this sounds contradictory to my last post (#12. Apologize to Someone I’ve Hurt), but I don’t mean it in the literal sense in this case. When I say “stop apologizing,” I mean to stop feeling sorry for when I can’t make others happy. I’m a consummate people pleaser (although it might not seem that way to people who don’t know me very well) and I always feel bad for disappointing people and letting them down. I tend to stretch myself thin trying to please everyone, and at the same time, I apologize for my inability to do each and every thing that’s asked of me. In the end, no matter what I do, I’m always left with a feeling of guilt; that my efforts weren’t good enough even though I tried. I mean, I literally will toss and turn in bed all night worrying and feeling bad about these kinds of things. As if I don’t have my own life to worry about! It’s nuts!
But as my best friend tells me (she’s a people pleaser too, so she knows how this goes), I can’t continue to stress myself out and feel sorry for not making everyone happy. I need to realize that I can’t be all things to all people. I can only be myself. I can’t continue to apologize for my shortcomings and put myself last. First of all, it’s not healthy emotionally or psychologically—I mean, who wants to live a life of self-deprecation (unless you’re a Met fan)? Second—and I have a hard time realizing this—most of the time it’s not even a matter of shortcomings. I often judge myself so harshly to the point of chastisement when in the end, all that matters is that I tried and did the best I could.
I don’t know where this feeling of not being or doing good enough comes from (I’m not about to psychoanalyze myself at this moment, although I have a few ideas), but I know enough now to recognize that it’s nonsense and that I shouldn’t waste my time on it. Why should I have to feel bad all the time when no one feels bad about letting me down? Why should I drive myself crazy trying to make everyone else happy when I’m not happy myself trying to do what other people want me to do? I shouldn’t feel bad about this! I need to focus on myself and what makes me happy, and not apologize for wanting to! This is my new mantra.
In a way, this is about standing up for myself. I don’t think I do that enough. But part of that is also about LEARNING TO SAY NO to things and people, so that I’m not in a situation where I feel like I have to apologize to anyone in the first place…but that’s a post for another day.