I have a friend, we’ll call her Kay. Throughout her childhood and into being a young adult, Kay had only one priority— she desperately wanted people to like her.
In high school she blended in mostly; not the most popular, not the outcast. But, at the slightest sign that anyone showed her attention, she’d do almost anything to keep it. It didn’t matter if it was not in her best interest, inconvenient, or skirting close to dangerous; if it meant you’d like her, she’d do it.
As an adult woman in her mid 30s, it’s almost impossible to remember that she was such a people-pleaser, certainly to a fault. Today Kay is a confident, successful and self-aware badass who takes no s—t from ANYONE. She is kind, with the ability to get you all the way together, level headed, giving and radiates joy.
She still pleases people, but it’s different. People feed off her energy and just love to be around her.
How did she get from one extreme to the other? What was the turning point that allowed her to go from caring what every single person thought about her, to truly not caring at all?
When I asked her this question, she considered her response carefully.
“There wasn’t one specific moment. I committed to working on my mental health and figuring out who I was at my core. During that process I discovered (and liked) that I always approached every situation coming from a good place, with good intentions. Because I know that I mean well, I refuse to take ownership of other people’s feelings.
How they feel is how they feel. And that’s okay. I can’t change how they feel, only how I respond and react to it.”
Think about that for just a moment.
Approach every situation with good intentions.
Don’t take ownership for other people’s feelings.
Accept that you can only control how you respond and react.
Kay started to trust herself more than she trusted the opinions of others. It seems overly simple, but honestly, there are many of us who have internal trust issues. We’re constantly looking for approval from outside sources because we don’t trust ourselves.
As we work through the process of what it looks like to have a true relationship with yourself, the opinions of others carry less and less weight. Through gaining mental clarity and practicing self-care, you’ll be living a more colorful and carefree life in no time.
And not giving a damn what anyone else thinks.