To be a good person that others love, respect and can count on.
This has always been my mission statement of sorts. I’ve never written it down before, but its been part of my identity for as long as I can remember. Its been the marker by which I have made so many decisions in my life.
It is total and complete crap.
Good person. What is a good person? What are the standards by which to measure my goodness? Good compared to how I perceive others? Good like everyone pretends to be on Facebook? It’s subjective and exhausting. Trying to be good is wearing me out.
Loved. That sounds good, but I cannot make EVERYONE love me. Some people are going to hate me. Some people are going to think I am self-centered, stupid, judgmental or whatever. Love is a good thing, but focusing on making others love me is not. Trying to be loved by everyone is wearing me out.
Respected. To respect someone is to admire (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities or achievements. This is all about me feeling good about myself because SOMEONE else thinks I’m all that. Am I doing things because they are right, or because I want someone to think I am great? Trying to earn respect is wearing me out.
Counted on. I want to be the person you can turn to in a crisis. I try to take on others pain and make it my own. Why? Because I am uncomfortable with pain and don’t want anyone to be suffering. I try to help and sometimes make things even worse. I step in because I think I can help. How conceited is that? I do not know better your problems or your life. I cannot fix you. Trying to be someone you can count on is all about me and not you AND it is wearing me out.
Clearly I need a new mission statement and a new way to look at how I live my life. No longer do I want to live for that judgment and praise of others. I need to stop that right now. It no longer serves me and I don’t want my children constantly measuring themselves.
Last weekend I tried to help a family member that is in immense pain and turmoil. I tried and failed miserably. It’s OK. She is in terrible pain and conflict, but it is hers. All hers. It is not for me to fix, understand or endure. I need to back off. It has nothing to do with me. She is the center of her universe. Not me. Loving from afar and praying for her is all I CAN do. All I SHOULD do. That might seem like a no-brainer to you, but it’s not to me.
Seeing pain and recognizing it is not a bad thing. It means I have empathy and that I do indeed have a kind heart. But trying to fix someone is egocentric and wrong.
As I write all this I realize that I am judging myself harsh AND this is all pretty self-centered. But I need to call myself out on my intentions. I need to question my motives so I can get to a place where my decisions are NOT based on how I look to others.
What will I base my decisions on then? If I am no longer focusing on what others will think, then what DO I focus on?
Maybe it’s as simple are reframing the mission statement. Instead of throwing it out, what if the focus of judgment and others was replaced with purpose:
I will live my life as a loving, respectful and responsible person.
This acknowledges the virtues I wish to embody, but takes away the burden of relying on others to provide judgment of my worth. It becomes about who I want to be, not whom others THINK I am.
My family, friends and community are important to me. I genuinely want happiness for everyone I know. That is why I am shining a light on this ugly side of me. Working on this will help me in all my relationships. I want to be a better wife, mother, daughter, friend, niece, aunt, class parent, etc.
I have hope that I can let go of all the judgment I impose on myself and just try to be the person I want to be. It will not be easy and that’s OK. I’m actually starting to like the hard stuff. Bring it on!
Amen Bridgette, I hear you loud and clear!
Wonderful post. Dead on. Once again, thank you for sharing your thoughts so eloquently and honestly.