Did the title get your attention? Lol.
Well, if I had to give 2022 a title, it would be “Put Your Big Girl Panties On” and it’s not the people-pleasing brand.
It was the sentiment my mama gave me every time I talked with her in preparation of yet another uncomfortable moment. And, Lord knows, this year was full of them.
The most uncomfortable of them all was the day I was sitting in therapy, and I had to say aloud, that I was a people-pleaser. I used to cringe whenever I thought about that moment. Because in my head, a people-pleaser was an ass kisser and y’all know damn well… that isn’t me. However, I think that was my way of keeping me from my own truth. As a people-pleaser, I was guilty of:
· Co-dependency; I had childhood traumas that resulted into me wanting to take care of and save everyone, even if that meant sacrificing myself
· Going with the flow; It was a lackadaisy response to not wanting to offend or disrupts anyone else’s desires
· Being boundaryless; And then literally exploding when people wouldn’t provide me with the minimum of respect or grace
· Silencing myself; I’m a social person, but if I feel like I’m not free to express how I feel, I mute myself
· Excessive apologizing for my very valid feelings to help others cope with theirs… because I’m the stronger one, right?
…and I’m sure many other people-pleasing traits, but those are the first that come to mind. My therapist said I wouldn’t be able to do the work unless I came to peace with the issues… and baby it was up from there.
Was it easy? Hell no! This is 37 years of pleasing the people. It’s giiiiving… politician from birth. So, it was a task for me, but I’m sure it was a hell of a change to those around me.
The first thing I had to do was learn to celebrate myself. Why was that hard to do? See above. As hard as I work, I still worried about someone being uncomfortable with me being proud of my successes. What if someone brings up that one time I didn’t get it right?! And!? That speaks more to their character than mine and I had to put those big girl panties on and be totally ok with openly expressing how proud I am of me. Hell, I had to learn that a lot of people’s reactions to things had more to do with them than it had to do with me…
And that opened the season of the “non-accommodating Ashley”. Of course, I’m still a helpful person. It’s my nature. But it’s a irrational trait to explode on people about things I’d never established to be an issue – a boundary. So, I started setting them and being firm with them. You know how people-please leads us to waiver. No, I’m not okay with that. No, I don’t want to do that. No, that’s not cool. No. It led to a lot of uncomfortable conversations and a new normal, but I was unlearning and relearning a lot.
And in hindsight, I realized how much I wasn’t able to do for myself trying to accommodate and please everyone around me. There’s still only 24 hours in a day. However, it was the onset of boundaries that’s helped me feel so free. I can’t even explain this level of self-love to you.
This past week was the first time in years that I’ve been able to read a book without falling asleep. The actual act of following through with grant applications, the tour and our TrapCation. My family has established new traditions for quality time. This has been the first time I’ve ever had designated “days off” with no interruptions. I’ve been able to answer emails without massive anxiety. Hell, I’m less emotionally triggered by things overall these days. I’ve literally been out of the way and have had some of the best of times. My presence is a present. I know this. I own this. If it doesn’t work for someone or something, that’s totally ok. The only thing constant in life is change.
And, as you can see, this new normal has been a game-changer for me both professionally and personally. I’m sure the brand ambassadors can attest to that. Lol. If y’all are reading this… heeeeey y’all. Lol.
So, here I am, with my big girl panties on, ending 2022 with an abundance of peace excited for what lies ahead.
Just to think, all this time I was looking for safe spaces and I just needed to create one within me. Whew.
Talk to me cousins, how would you describe your 2022? What are you taking into the new year?