As much as I’d like to say otherwise, I am constantly trying to please other people.

Now you might be thinking, Melody, that’s impossible, you should give that up right now.

I know. This habit wreaks havoc on my ability to figure out what I want out of life. I’m constantly trying to live up to someone else’s expectations. Lately it’s gotten so bad that I’m trying to live up to the expectations I think other people have for me. They don’t need to say anything and I will be trying to do something I think they expect of me.

How messed up is that? The best example I can think of is school. We have a lot of dedicated and ambitious students in the Communication and Honors Program and because I’m their colleague, I will take it upon myself each semester to be more like them. Unless something is obviously outrageous (like for example that I should switch my field from Communication to Science right before my senior year) I will take it upon myself to become or do as someone else does.

But see, this is where it gets a little twisted. I only strive to copy their best. I completely ignore their flaws and sometimes think that no one else has flaws but me. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m not trying to be like everyone, just people that I view as successful. Thing is, I’m surrounded by successful people, how can I be like all of them?

I can’t. Even though I try, sometimes without knowing, I can’t. Each semester I have gotten in way over my head and actually gotten physically ill from taking on so much, both mentally and physically.

But right now, I’m teaching myself not to compare myself to others. I have some goals in mind and I’m not letting myself take on any other goals. Right now, the people that are most important to me are God and my husband. At the end of the day, their opinion and path for me is what really matters. Not what other students think I should be doing, not my professors, my friends or even my parents.

Now that’s not to say that other people can’t help me. I have grown a lot from other people’s opinions and advice. But sometimes, that directly conflicts with who I am and where I need to be. I’m trying to learn that if people are offended because I don’t do what they say, then I cannot pay heed to them. No one can listen to the influence of every other person and I’ve actually been damaged by doing so.

Right now, I aim to act not out of fear of offending others, but because I believe that what I’m doing is right. And if that offends you, I am sorry. But I can’t please everyone and I need to begin truly living. After all, that’s what 21 year olds do, right?

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