The sky is overcast and the ground is damp from the morning rain showers. Today is a quiet day in quaint, little Tulsa, Oklahoma. The perfect day for rain boots, cozy sweaters, hot cocoa and movie marathons. It is also the perfect day for writing. I haven’t been blogging as frequently the last three months since my move from Minneapolis to Tulsa. I guess I have just been cultivating ideas. They say the best writing comes with experience and I have been experiencing a lot.
My biggest prayer for 2013 has been for growth. To grow as a young woman, as a sister, as a daughter, as a career woman, as a friend and as someone who will someday be a wife and mother. Growth. That has been my focus all year. The saying, “Be careful what you wish for,” is no joke! While good and healthy, growth isn’t easy! At times, it can be downright painful. For me, 2013 has been tragically and uncomfortably beautiful. I have been pushed, humbled, tested, knocked down, shaken, pressured and humbled again. But I wouldn’t take back a minute of it.
I recently encountered some controversy in my life. What it came down to was my willingness to speak up for myself. I will be the first to admit that I struggle in the “communication in conflict” arena. I am guilty of being a people pleaser. I like to get along with everyone. I do not like when people don’t like me. It sucks! In the past. I would have rather not spoken up for myself when I was frustrated or when I felt hurt or disrespected, if it meant keeping peace. Instead of speaking up for myself, I have developed the habit of being quiet. I basically crawl into this little shell and hope no one notices until my hurts and frustrations have passed. But trust me, people take notice.
Here’s what I am learning: It’s always better to speak up. Say what you need to say, as long as you are doing it in a truthful, respectful and loving way. You cannot live your life for other people. If someone is taking advantage of you, speak up. If someone is being dishonest, speak up. If a friend, coworker or significant other is doing something that affects you negatively, speak up. Because if you don’t, you will keep trying to hide in that little invisible shell and never be heard. You will only bottle things up and hurt yourself. If you are never honest and live to please everyone around you, you will never have the freedom to become the truest version of yourself. And what kind of life is that?
This lesson especially applies to twenty somethings. We are at the beginning of the rest of our lives, the beginning of our careers and the beginning of adulthood. We will have so many opportunities at work and with relationships, friendships and family to speak our truths. I want to master this lesson now while I am 23 and not go a moment longer allowing myself to be anyone’s doormat. Is honesty always going to be easy? No. Sometimes people may not receive what you have to say. They may get upset or offended, but as long as you are approaching the situation with honesty and kindness, that’s all that matters. You have no control over another person’s response.
Twenty Something Advice for Anybody:
“In the end, it’s better to say too much then never to say what you need to say again.”
John Mayer, Say What You Need to Say
Whether you are the person who is never honest, follows the crowd and seeks approval, or you are the person who stays true to who you really are, someone isn’t going to like you. Why not then be true to yourself and live a life of honesty and integrity? I have come to accept this and it is the biggest relief. I do not have to walk on eggshells anymore to make everyone pleased with me. There will always be naysayers. There will always be people who don’t like you and I. My hope is that we stop caring about what “they” think and be true to ourselves in work, family, friendships and dating relationships.
There is a mantra I read recently that I love: “Love all. Please One.” Focus on being kind and compassionate to everyone but don’t concern yourself with making everyone happy. Instead, focus on living a life of honesty and integrity. For me, this mantra means I have the freedom to be kind and good to everyone, but I am only focused on pleasing God. This is such a relief! Because there’s so much freedom in truth.
These are just some of my lessons learned as a twenty something. I hope by sharing, I can encourage and uplift you. Here’s a little music inspiration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JONA_6ZCrE