Updated: Nov 19, 2022
I naturally desire to please people, so much so, that I sacrifice my own principles in the process. This has been a struggle all my life. Here are a couple of personal experiences about what had to shift for me to see real change in my mindset.
As a mother of three, I was desiring to attend a meeting. My husband was away on a deployment, and I found that no one I knew could watch them because we were all going to this same event. In my desire to go, I miscalculated when the actual time the event started. My children (all under the age of 4) and I arrived at the chapel. With fast food in tow, we hunkered down on the coach and munched away at our meals. I realized the chapel was empty. I was an hour early.
I debated on whether or not to head back home. Bedtime would be soon, and I really, really wanted to hear what was going to be shared.
As more people started arriving, I saw one person after another observe me and say nothing. My own inner voice grew hot upon my neck, “Kaitlyn they are looking at you, they are judging you, they are disapproving of you, they don’t care, they don’t understand, they cannot understand, have they forgotten what it is like to have children?”
I thought they were judging me, and I judged them back for my own perceived judgements. It was a vicious cycle. So vicious that the stress of it all ate at my insides. It got so bad, that I had to leave the meeting early, in tears, because I felt entirely sick to my stomach. The words, "you are bugging everyone," and, "you and your children are unwelcomed here," flooded my mind.
Which was entirely a fabrication.
I had allowed myself allowed to negatively perceive and unrightfully assume that others were "judging me". I had to face this fact in order to fully heal.
I gave myself permission to feel everything and then to work through everything. It took a couple of hours, yet I came to important conclusions that allowed me to successfully attend the second half of the meeting the next morning. Allowing myself to work through the triggers and the realness was essential to my brain and emotions reaching firm reality that I am valued and loved, exactly where I am, especially in my imperfection.
My attitude is completely dependent on me.
The responsibility and perception of this experience is entirely of my own making. I had to take ownership of this.
The last experience I have to share with you is about being willing to voice your feelings in a way that will support the principles you live by.
Going out with three little children, under the age of four, is always an adventure. It is always embarrassing to see what they get into or how their curiosity gets the better of them. I have learned to embrace it and to direct their curiosity.
I was sitting in a diner with my mother and her husband. We were sitting in a corner booth with a circular bench. Grandmas are the new shiny toy and all three kids want her at the same time – her love, her affection, her praise. It naturally can be overwhelming.
Meals in general are full of flying water cups and soaked table cloths, food that needs to be blown on and chopped up. It is an ordeal and finally, the parent gets to eat.
My son was expressing discontentment – it was loud and full of emotion. He was disrupting the general atmosphere. There was no room to waste on what other people thought, so I sought to calm him down by really listening to him.
One woman in the booth behind me, interrupted our communication by demanding I, "shut my child up”. Pausing for a moment with my son, I politely kneeled down next to her booth and reminded her that she is not my child's parent and that by intervening it is disrespectful to me and to my son. I asked her not to intervene further and that I will do what is appropriate to reach my child on a personal level.
The woman understood and, yes, she did take offense. Yet, I rejoice that I stood by my child and honoring that my child is learning as life continues forward. I rejoice that I stood by my commitment to listen and understand my children over any parenting technique that others think I should be applying.
When we worry about what others think we compromise. In many respects we put their opinion above our own intuition. What other people think can matter if the thoughts are given in a way that is respectful.
I invite you to not fabricate or assume what other people are thinking. And give others grace, everyone is fighting a battle and kindness goes a long way.
Offense is something you choose to emotionally allow within you. Choose to not get offended easily and to let things roll off your back. You’ll find more joy in life this way.
The best you is the true you, seek her first and then seek to support and lift wherever the other person may be. -XO Kaitlyn
Photo Credit: Ben White, Unsplash