I’m a people pleaser and a rule follower, they go hand in hand really. If you always do what is expected, maybe even a little more, you don’t disappoint anyone. Or I should say I was those things. Now, don’t get me wrong...I love rules and order. Love them a whole lot but when you live your life following other people’s rules and expectations...you get off course. That isn’t entirely accurate. You stay on course, it just isn’t yours.
A few years ago I wandered off my ‘path’ and it made me question a lot about who I am. I’ve struggled with where I was physically, emotionally, professionally. I felt incredibly lost, some days I still do. But my good friend Shea sent me a quote from Light Is the New Black: A Guide to Answering Your Soul’s Callings and Working Your Light:
“The world is filled with people who, no matter what you do, will point blank not like you. But it is filled with those who will love you fiercely. They are your people. You are not for everyone and that’s OK. Talk to the people who can hear you.
Don’t waste you precious time and gifts trying to convince them of your value, they won’t ever want what you’re selling. Don’t convince them to walk alongside you. You’ll be wasting both your time and theirs and will likely inflict unnecessary wounds, which will take precious time to heal. You are not for them and they are not for you; politely wave them on, and continue along your way. Sharing your path with someone is a sacred gift; don’t cheapen this gift by rolling yours in the wrong direction.
Keep facing your true north.”
It hit me like a ton of bricks. I worried so much about what was expected of me, what other people wanted, and put their needs above mine that I never took the time to find my own path. Finding and facing my true north became my mantra, I also knew that my path might take me away from relationships with people and things and that’s ok because my people and my things would stay connected when I found my path.
Then I had a brilliant idea. I would remind myself to face my true north BY PERMANENTLY BURNING IT WITH INK INTO MY SKIN. Extreme? Maybe. But I had always wanted a tattoo and never taken the leap because I was a good girl who worked in very serious professions. Girls like that don’t get visible tattoos. Until I did because I make my own rules. It’s a small compass, a simple set of lines on my left wrist, not particularly noticeable but a constant reminder to me. After my tattoo that wrist became a drishti of sorts, an outward point of focus to bring my attention inward. The compass sits just below my two mantrabands, my Namasdre bracelet, and a small star that reminds me to never dull how I sparkle for others. Everything there has meaning and purpose, each serves as a reminder of who I am when I forget.
The people pleaser is so ingrained in me that it comes to the surface on occasion. I had recently finished a blog post and was immediately worried that some of it might be interpreted as mean or judgemental. I asked my Namasdre co-creator his thoughts on if it was “jerkish and rude,” then explained my concern. What I received was a lecture that a) I totally deserved and b) did NOT see coming. It is best summed up in the quote “if they can’t respect you for the truth they have no place in your life.” They are not your people. Wave them on.
In my search for my path I’ve received a lot of questions, and judgement, about the choices I’ve made. I’ve walked away from people, situations, and things that do not serve me. I’m a recovering people pleaser, it will always be part of who I am. It, however, can no longer be my driving force. I cannot put others above myself. The life I’m choosing to live isn’t a selfish one but it isn’t selfless either. For me to be the best version of me I can’t be worried about pleasing everyone, or bubble wrapping their emotions. I have to be authentic to myself, to my voice, and to my truth. I have to face my true north. And if I forget, I can just look at my wrist.