“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Over the past few years I’ve worked a lot on personal and spiritual development.
Part of that journey has included releasing my compulsion to please everyone and the fear of what other people think of me to the detriment of my own freedom and self expression.
And let me tell you, it’s been a JOURN-EY!
It’s amazing how deeply ingrained the need to conform and explain my choices to people was.
As I dove deeper into accepting myself and allowing the true me to finally be seen (and I’m even still working on it), one of the biggest things I needed to learn to do was stop worrying so much about what other people think. I needed to stop trying to explain who I am.
I realized I didn’t need to explain why I was feeling, acting, or doing anything. I could just BE. No one needed to understand or approve, as long as I felt that I was living my truth.
And then I had my son.
There’s something about being a mother that tests all the self-work you’ve down and pushes you to dive even deeper.
As soon as I became a mom, I noticed that old "people pleasing" compulsion coming back. I felt like I needed to explain all my choices as a mother and was constantly fighting the creepy feeling that my every move was being watched and judged.
I even started noticing myself doing it on behalf of my son. I started giving explanations to people for his behavior and feelings.
“Oh he’s fussy”
“Sorry, he’s just being shy.”
“He must be tired, that’s why he doesn’t want you to hold him.”
“He’s usually very smiley and friendly, I’m not sure what’s up with him today.”
I felt like any time my son wasn’t the picture perfect child I had to apologize or explain why he was being that way. And since he is that picture perfect child most of the time, it made it that much more awkward when he didn’t smile and immediately take to a stranger or friend when first meeting. It was like I could already see the expectations being put on him to always be happy and compliant.
Here I was after working so hard to let go of my own need to please others and I was already putting that on my newborn baby.
He was becoming an extension of me, and I started worrying what other people thought of my parenting and my child.
Well, that is NOT going to fly here.
I decided I will no longer apologize for or feel the need to explain mine or my son’s choices or feelings (unless of course they truly do warrant an apology).
We are all extremely complex beings with a wide array of emotions, experiences, and personal differences that change from moment to moment (yes…even babies/children).
I will no longer teach my children that they should feel ashamed or self-conscious about being who they are or feeling how they feel in any moment.
I won’t label them as shy, fussy, naughty, moody, weird, sensitive, etc. just because they don’t feel like hugging a family member, or make a mess because they’re curious about that potted plant, or want to release pent up energy with crying or yelling (or any other perfectly natural and acceptable form of self expression).
I won’t allow my children (or myself) to feel that I’m embarrassed or ashamed of them by apologizing for their uniqueness or explaining away their need to be heard and accepted as they are.
I also won’t let them grow up seeing me hide or justify who I am.
I will love and accept who I am and I will love, encourage, and accept who my children are. In each moment.
I won’t make excuses for myself or my children anymore. I won’t explain my parenting or life choices either. If we don’t fit the “norm” or conform to society’s expectations of how we’re supposed to be…well, good!
I won’t apologize for being different or allowing myself and my children the freedom of authentic self expression (as long as it’s not actually harming anyone else).
We all deserve to know, feel, and BE who we truly are. Without question, no apology necessary.
Sorry…not sorry 😉