The Power of ‘Being You’
by Stephanie Pletka
Growing Up, I was such an awkward soul. Around 12 years old, I was like a baby giraffe learning to walk in a glass shop. My arms were too long for my sleeves, my pants were too high for my legs, my straggly hair looked like cotton candy hanging in mid-air. And with this gig, came a bag full of insecurity. I was way more comfortable climbing a good oak tree, than walking through a crowded mall. So early on, I learned to be a great story teller. I quickly asked questions about others to deflect myself. I was a people pleasing, conversation deflecting, favorable, don’t rock the boat kinda girl.
But carrying this sort of luggage can be taxing. Luggage is meant to be carried short term – from your house to the car, from the car to the plane, but not meant to carry up the Himalayas.
Then one day after a good cry because I said YES to something, when I should have said No…
a friend replied: Instead of trying to please others, Why don’t you just, BE YOU – and not worry about what others think. It was the most freeing statement.
I had catered to those around me for so long, it had become an exhausting job trying to fix, repair, accommodate, twirl and swirl, like a bad game of Curling, trying to please those around me. And it was my fault, my responsibility for choosing this behavior. It had become too much for one soul to bare. I wasn’t being a true friend to anyone. Now I could rest. Now I could just BE. But it was scary. What if people got mad. What if? It was a chance I had to take, to save me.
And just like that, I began to unload my luggage. I had to hand it all back to their owners: Here’s your brief case, here’s your purse, sorry, sorry, excuse me, here’s your stuff – and little by little, my shoulders lightened, my back straightened; And guess what: People didn’t like it.
When you tell someone YES for so long and then say NO, bad things can happen, unless they’re a true friend. And those who weren’t, didn’t make the cut. And those relationships which were based on selfishness, fell to the way side. And that’s ok. Sometimes you have to unload the boat for it to float better, allowing people to heal. And in the process, it turns out – this unloading of sorts, is just as good for the other person as it is for you.
I began to read books, pray, write down what I liked and didn’t like. I had never asked myself, MY Opinion. I was a girl who wasn’t bothered by much – and yet some things bothered me greatly. I’m simple and complex. I began to think about me, made myself the Captain of my own Ship, the Listener of my own Thoughts. So how do you Become the Person God Intended, your Authentic Self?
Here are 3 Steps (G.E.T.) to Giving Yourself, The Power of Being YOU!
1) Give Your Best Yes.
When you say Yes to something, you’re saying No to you, to time, to your family.
It needs to be a decision worthy of the call. As Lysa Terkeurst says in her book, The BEST Yes, if you say Yes to something you wanted to say NO to, it’s a dis-service to both, as you complain and pitch a fit all the way there, no one truly wins.
2) Establish Boundaries
Henry Cloud, author of Boundaries, defines it as a property line, determining who is responsible for certain things. And when a boundary is over stepped, you become a trespasser, taking responsibility for something that we shouldn’t take ownership of. Be responsible for what you can control, which are your feelings, attitudes, choices, and behaviors. When we each take responsibility for our own stuff, and stay in our lane – it’s called a healthy relationship, and that’s when good things happen.
3) The 80/20 Rule.
Not everyone will be like you. But hey, You Don’t like everyone either. And that’s ok. You may be too much for one person and not enough for another. It’s a big world out there and like bumper cars at an amusement park, you will run into people, and if something sticks, you become friends and if it doesn’t, keep moving on. Don’t try to insert a circle into a square peg, you’re just asking for trouble.
Remember, you’re fearfully and wonderfully made. There’s not another YOU like YOU in this world. Be true to yourself, carry your own luggage, as a Parent, a Friend, a CEO, a Teacher, as the best ‘giraffe walking in a glass shop’, Authentic You.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.