Monday, January 13, 2014

On my mind

Recently I wrote an email of apology. It wasn't for having done something wrong persay, but that in doing what I did that I hurt someone's feelings. That email, as of this moment, has not been answered.

You might think that I would be really bothered and hurt and mad that this person didn't respond to a heartfelt and sincere wish to make them feel better and to ask for their forgiveness. And it wouldn't be completely honest to say that it doesn't hurt a little that no response has been made, but mostly I am feeling okay about it.

Something I've been trying to learn my entire life is how to not care when people don't like me. It's a problem. I'm a serial people pleaser, and knowing that someone is out in the world that doesn't like me, well it used to eat me up inside. Some days it still does.

The problem with being a people pleaser, is that the person that you forget to please is yourself. You spend so much energy, concern, anxiety on other people and their arbitrary moods. You base your worth on whether you made someone laugh that you were sure hated you. Frankly, it's exhausting.

My greatest desire for myself this year and every year is to simply not care. How's that for an awe-inspiring resolution? ha! That doesn't mean that I won't still try and love as many people that will let me love them, but it does mean that I will try to stop blaming myself so brutally when people dislike me, refuse to accept my apologies, or otherwise just feel like I'm annoying.

In my heart I really truly feel like life is too short to carry the burden of other people's problems so heavily on my own shoulders. I want this not only for myself so that I can have more peace in my life, but also so that I can hopefully teach my children how now to care too much when people don't care that much about them.

So those of you out there that are really, truly, and honestly good at this, do you have any tips for me? So far I've just tried to talk myself through each individual event. What else might help? If someone tells me this is a self-esteem problem, I might die a little inside.

Anyone else with some reverse-inspired resolutions? (come on.....someone's resolution has got to be to gain more weight this year right??)


luvnmy10 said...

About 3 years ago, a young mom in our ward, in an effort to "help" me, told me that most women at church don't like me. I was shocked, I thought I was pretty well liked and had friends, this was crushing news to me. How could people not like me?!! I am pretty awesome!! These were my thoughts at the time. But then as that day wore on, and Sunday came I found myself looking around, I began to let what one person's perception become a reality in my head. Since that time I find I have withdrawn a lot, I feel lonely at church sometimes, and it can be hurtful when not included in activities. It's amazing to me the power I gave that young mom, letting her words, and I don't think she meant to hurt me, I really think she was trying to help me in some way, but I gave the words power to affect me. In my heart, I don't care, and I know I am loved by those who are important to me, and even liked by those who are acquaintances, and I am okay with not being liked by some. I know that some don't understand me, they assume because I have a big family, a nice home, and good kids and a great husband, that my life is perfect. They couldn't be more wrong! I have struggles and they are missing out getting to know me. I try to go outside the "me" bubble, but it hard. So, this was a long story.... but it goes with the reverse inspired resolutions...

I resolved this year to go back to my happy self, the one where I, like my sweet little 5 year old does, assume that everyone wants to be my friend. If it turns out they don't, oh well, I will still love them, because they are children of God with their own hang ups. I have found I am happier, more relaxed, quicker to smile and laugh. It is freeing! I love new years and new starts! You keep your resolution, don't worry about what other people think, they are probably intimidated by you and your awesomeness and are afraid to be your friend. :)

Jodi Reeve said...

You find the answer, you let me know bc I struggle with the same problem.

Sister Tara Bowen said...

There was an object lesson one time that helped me handle "the hard stuff" a little better. One basket was labelled something like "Things you can change" and the other basket was labelled something like "things you can't" (I realize knowing that actual labels would be nice!). When I get too hung up on things I can't change, my husband asks if I'm engaging in productive thinking. I'm not:).

I think we're just going to feel badly sometimes, and people can hurt us when we love them and want them to love us. One thought, based on my reading in Elder Bednar's new book "Act in Doctrine": as we study the character of Christ and try to act like him, we'll serve when we feel hurt, and demonstrate love when our world is collapsing. If we try to be like Christ, we can make peoples' day every day. I love you, Jenn! I'm sorry for your hurt.

Dee in BC said...

Thanks for your post. You actually helped me a lot. I was struggling with issues surrounding my mother, her dementia , her need for care, her hateful comments and 1 choice relative who interferes & makes me feel awful. I need to remind myself too, that who I am is not based solely on someone's arbitrary opinion of me. I have people who appreciate & love me for who I am. I am sure you do too. I think sometimes in being kind & considerate of others we leave ourselves open to be deeply hurt by others who are not so caring. God bless & thanks!

RaeLynn said...

Um, did you jump inside my brain? I am also a serial people pleaser and it's the WORST. In fact, I used that as my "biggest weakness" in a job interview this week! I want SO BADLY to not really give a crap {excuse my french} what others think because I think it'd make life so much easier but deep, deep down I really do care way too much. I don't know if it has to do with self esteem...I've wondered that too. But the thing is, people who are perceived as overly confident are hiding who they really are which means that THEY care what people think too. I wish I knew the secret!

Emily Foley said...

So last week I did something that in my mind was just no big deal: I didn't answer the phone when my friend called. We talk on the phone a lot, and I hate talking on the phone. I was having a rough week--so rough that I wasn't blogging or even instagramming or on FB, which is really unusual for me--and I just couldn't bear to answer the phone and listen and try to be cheerful, I just couldn't do it. Also, I get maybe an hour a day without kids and noise and chaos in which to interact with my husband (MAYBE an hour) and I just wanted to hang with him. And sometimes I wish this person would notice that kind of thing about me (because I would about her). Well this hurt my friend's feelings. Badly. She cried, she wrote about it all over the interwebs, she wouldn't answer my calls, it was this big to-do and hullabaloo. And it was ridiculous. I love this girl. But I love my husband more. I called and apologized to her answering machine but really, I wasn't that sorry. I have a right to not answer the phone. And while I felt badly that her feelings were hurt, I also did not care one whit. Sometimes, you just have to do what you have to do and not care what other people think...even people you love and care about. So I'm sorry your email hasn't been answered, but it's that person's loss. The chance to forgive is an important one, and she missed it. You're awesome. Please yourself and forget about the ones that don't matter so much.