Well, it’s official. I am now ‘over the hill’. I had a little celebration with some special people, followed by a three-week vacation in the beautiful Okanagan. So far it’s been pretty great. Here are just a few photos from my birthday.
Having spent most of my life as a people pleaser, I am personally embracing the forties. I have always viewed the forties as a time in life where I would care much less about other people’s opinions of me, and just be braver; a time where I wouldn’t take as much so seriously; where I’d say goodbye to doing things out of obligation or for people to like me; and tolerate very little drama in my life.
And while I am definitely working my way to this ‘nirvana’, it’s not as if a magical switch gets flipped the day you turn 40. (Thank goodness though, because I certainly don’t want my own daughter to have to wait until then – my wish is for her to learn these things much, much earlier in her life). Definitely, the life experience one gains over four decades helps to put many things into perspective, but living this way really can begin at any age.
Now more than ever, I am making a concerted effort to live life according to this ideal – which is not always easy. When life is trying to teach you something though, it’s going to keep on showing up (disguised as tough situations that you need to overcome) until you “get it”.
“Have you learned it yet” Life asks. “Can you do what’s right for yourself instead of worrying about how others will react? Are you teaching people to treat you how you deserve to be treated? Are you saying yes to the right stuff”?
I frequently remind myself of “The Four Agreements” written by Don Miguel Ruiz – and in particular, point #2: Don’t Take Anything Personally.
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
Doing away with being a people pleaser doesn’t mean that you don’t care about people’s feelings though. It just means that you no longer internalize it when people don’t accept you, don’t agree with you, or when people take their shit out on you. It means you no longer create stories in your head about what you did wrong to provoke certain responses. At the end of the day, we of course need to take responsibility for our part in every interaction (and realize that we too are projecting out our own reality, our own dreams) but we absolutely cannot additionally take responsibility for another person’s part. Some people are just having a bad day. Some people are just not going to like you. Ever. Some people are just not going to see it from your point of view. And that’s ok.
So regardless of age, let’s all do our absolute best to be ourselves, speak up for ourselves, and show up for ourselves. Being a people pleaser is exhausting and it zaps the energy from you which could otherwise be used to show up in your own life and create really good/fun/cool things/experiences. When the need for approval from others is no longer part of the equation, we can begin to focus on what really matters. This isn’t selfish at all. Because when we can channel this energy more positively, absolutely everyone benefits. And those haters? Well, they’re just gonna hate.