Growing up, I was shifted around a lot between various people. In the beginning, I lived with both parents. After their divorce when I was 6, I became wayward. There was a time I lived with mom. Then, with dad. Somewhere in there, my grandparents. Back to mom. Back to dad. At one point I remember living with some random strangers who I don’t remember by face or name, but do remember they drank powdered milk, and I thought it was disgusting. Back with dad again. Then, with my best friend’s family. Then, with my ex’s family after moving to Arizona.
This lifestyle forced me to do what I could to fit in. I hated being passed around like a borrowed sweater. I wanted everyone to like me, and want to keep me. I would say whatever someone wanted to hear, versus what I truly thought. This became a coping mechanism that brought me into my adulthood. In some ways, it made me strong. I can be around people, and not be uncomfortable, for the most part. Strangers don’t bother me. I adapt my personality to fit that person. It’s made my current profession as a leasing specialist a breeze to handle.
But it has caused severe weakness. For so many years, I wanted everyone to like me. My surroundings had to be completely copacetic. If I heard that someone had an issue with me, or disliked me, this was a huge burden in my world. It immediately brought me back to that little girl who just wanted someone to keep her, and hold onto her. I’d do whatever it took to make things right again, even if that meant squashing my true feelings on an issue, in order to tow the line.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed I care less and less about someone liking me. Maybe what I needed was time and a little more maturity under my belt. Most days, if I hear a disparaging remark about me, I can shrug it off depending on who the offender is. If it’s someone I truly care about, of course that upsets me. I want to make things right, but I don’t lose myself anymore. I’ve found that those who truly care about me back will deal with what I have to say, whether it offends them or not. We all have a right to our opinions. And life will continue on.
There are moments though, where I revert. All of us have weakness. There are trigger points at times, and I start to feel as though I’m losing myself again. Now, it’s usually a situation that gets me into the corner. It’s not that everyone has to accept me and be “OK” with me, but if a situation warrants that we all get along (where you work is a good example of this) then I can start to feel uneasy. I want to bring out the big guns. I want to tuck away my own thoughts and do what I can to just make a situation easier to deal with. It takes a lot for me to just take a deep breath, and really let loose on how I’m feeling. If I lose a friendship, then that friendship was never strong to begin with. If it makes me look like an ass, so be it.
The alternative is so much worse for me.