A huge part of healing for me has been learning to stop letting other people’s opinions of me drive how I feel about myself. I spent most of my life trying unsuccessfully to please those around me. In my opinion, dissociative identity disorder (DID) is the most extreme form of the “people pleaser” because you actually “split” yourself and create alter parts to please the different people in your life.
I had a huge epiphany during the Beth Moore study I attended over the summer about stopping trying to please everyone else. Most people have an agenda, whether well-meaning or otherwise, and they are going to express their approval or disapproval depending upon how my actions align with their agendas. Even friends who I know have my best interest at heart will sometimes have very strong opinions about my choices that conflict with the direction I want or need to take. At the end of the day, I am the one who must live in my own skin, so my choices need to work for me. How anyone else feels about those choices is irrelevant as long as what I am doing brings them no harm.
When I am having an off day, I can still be vulnerable to the opinions of others. The problem is that nobody’s opinion seem to match up. Some people think I am not really working unless I have a full-time job. Other people think that I am not a good enough mother because I work part-time time. Because I don’t have a full-time job, I should keep an immaculate house. Because I work part-time, I am not giving enough to my child. I travel too much. I don’t travel enough. I am too active in volunteer activities. I am not active enough.
Even the fact that I blog raises opposing opinions. I must not work hard because I have time to blog. If I have time to blog, then I should have a FaceBook page. (I appear to be one of the last holdouts in creating a FaceBook page!) I should write more because I am talented. I shouldn’t waste so much time writing because it doesn’t pay enough.
All of these opinions overlook one crucial element – ME!! I don’t blog because I am bored or need money. (I actually donate all proceeds from this blog to Isurvive, and I make very little revenue off my professional blog.) I blog because I feel called to do so. I feel passionate about taking the lemons that life threw my way (the child abuse), making lemonade (healing), and sharing that lemonade with as many child abuse survivors as possible. I write my professional blog because I want to offer insights into the mind of the abused child to those who are parenting traumatized children out of foster care. None of anyone else’s opinions on my reasons for blogging matter because they are completely off base.
I just chose blogging as one example, but pretty much every area of my life will bring about differing opinions based upon who I ask (so I no longer ask!). The bottom line is that **I** am the one who must live with whatever choices that I make. Therefore, the only opinion that matters is my own.
Photo credit: Hekatekris