We are able to derive so much fulfillment from ourselves alone when we remain focused, stay positive and keep pushing for the things in life we believe we want. There is so much beauty in that power, and it’s one that I have come to love over the past six months. It propels me out of bed in the morning, it gives me a consistent silver lining on any rough day, and it helps me feel grounded in my identity.
But man by nature is a social being, and we can only find so much satisfaction in the solo choices we make. At some point or another, we have to rely on others to participate in the give and take that is a human relationship (family, friendly, romantic and otherwise). And others won’t always offer what we need or want, or hell, even know what we need or want. That’s right, it’s our job to tell them what those things are, to ask directly for the things we feel are lacking. It’s not nagging or annoying or bossing someone around — it’s simply making sure that you are getting what you need to live the fulfilled life you want.
But if this is how it works, why can it be so damn hard to tell loved ones what we want and need?! Why do we choke on our words when we have to initiate these conversations? For people pleasers especially, the amount of worry about potentially upsetting the other person or somehow hurting their feelings creates such a spiral of anxiety that we just give up before we even get started. We lean further inward, into that personal joy we create for ourselves and hold onto that even tighter. And it might be convincing in the short term that it’s helping us and preserving another, but it’s really just limiting the relationships we could be having with those around us.
With my 27th birthday less than a week away, I’m taking the time to reflect on behaviors like this one engrained in me (whether by parental example or past life experiences) and challenging myself to work on them. I need to be okay with making other people uncomfortable for the sake of my life satisfaction. I need to remember that any hurt that stems from an attempt to connect is temporary, and the resulting change will benefit all parties involved. We all deserve satisfaction, damnit. But we have to put in the work to receive it.