As I tightened my jaw and sobbed with disappointment and heartache, I fell apart.
In that moment, I allowed myself to break into a thousand pieces. I held myself with presence and knew that these emotions would soon pass and that I would not feel broken forever. I also knew that I was tired of falling victim to the negativity that ran in my mind.
As a witness, I let the strong emotion run, releasing it through tears, shaking and despair, never believing it to be true for one second. Feet grounded on the earth, I rode the waves of intensity far from the illusion that it was a permanent thing that I was feeling.
I knew it would pass. I knew it needed to come out. I knew the only way to put the shattered pieces back together was to feel, and so I did.
Just because it’s all you’ve ever known, does that make it true?
Sometimes, we have to be around people that trigger emotions like this in us. It’s so important to not only recognize the effect they have on us, but to know how to process those feelings and let go of them.
Like many people, I was raised to seek approval from and derive my sense of self-worth from others. I was raised to believe that I needed to prove something to other people, and that I needed to be more concerned with what other people were doing or thinking, and not at all concerned with what I was doing or thinking. It never mattered how I thought about myself, or if I thought I looked good, sounded good, or did well. It was always entirely about other people’s perception.
I never developed a healthy sense of self, and never even knew that my thoughts, emotions and actions were in my power to manage. I didn’t know that the path of my life was in my control. I so easily blamed others for the heartache I felt, rather than taking responsibility for my emotions.
We’ve been setup
The very people that teach us this from a young age are the people we seek that approval and self-worth from. It sets us up for a lifetime of self-esteem, self-worth and people pleasing issues.
In the not so distant past, I cared so much about what others thought and lived my life from that place. I tried so hard to act a certain way, based on what I felt would make others happy. When I didn’t get back the behavior I was expecting, I felt as though I had failed. I felt like there was something wrong with me when I didn’t get the approval I was seeking. This only fed that constant need to be a people pleaser.
Today, I observed that old pattern sucking me back in, after having to spend some time with the aforementioned stressful triggers in my life.
I knew the emotions came up to move out and wanted to release them once and for all. As a result of all of the hard work I have been doing over the past several years to release a lifetime of heartache, I know that trying to people please when the circumstances are always changing is the fast track to heartache. What I mean by that is this: the kinds of people that instill in us the need to care about approval from others and to seek happiness outside of ourselves, are never happy themselves. What makes them happy and what they approve of right now can and will be different in 15 minutes.
Why it’s important to stop being a people pleaser
Expecting others to behave a certain way only creates suffering.
Expecting ourselves to be everything to everyone only creates suffering.
Expecting things to be any way other than how they are only brings us pain.
We need to let go of the people that we’re so desperately trying to hold on to.
A powerful realization
I dried my tears and reveled in the perfection of that moment and that realization—I need to let go of the people that don’t want to be held.
As a result of this ingrained behavior, I realized that I would often put expectations on others to behave a certain way and when they didn’t, I would feel hurt and disappointment. Just as this expectation was put on me, I put it on others. I realized that this hurt that I felt from their behavior had made my happiness circumstantial.
As I sat with these intense emotions and witnessed layers of pain release, I found compassion. Compassion and space for the hurt I felt, and compassion and space for the people that I believed hurt me.
I changed my perspective and realized that I was in control of feeling hurt or not. I thought to myself…“why should I give away my power?”
Shift your expectations
I realized that the disappointment I felt came from expecting something other than what I had gotten.
Finding compassion for the way things are—without attaching to my desire of wanting things to be different—I realized I wanted a life without circumstantial happiness.
Happiness comes from within, not without
Not from an unrealistic, ever-changing set of impossible circumstances and expectations to meet or from other people.
As this realization settled in my body and emotions, my shattered heart began to piece itself back together, bringing me back to truth.
Softening around the expectations I put on others, I finally softened around the expectations I put on myself. I took my power back and vowed I would not let someone else dictate or even have an impact on my joy. I encourage you to give it a try.