I have worked so hard to try to meet the expectations of what “I think” others have on me and are thinking about me. This way of thinking, reminds me of a chameleon. Becoming “the color” of what I feel the people around me would want me to be, to make them like me, respect me and love me. This way of living eventually caught up with me and was one of the things that contributed to burnout and complete shut down.
This was one of the reactions that forced me to take time to take a deep dive on my mental health. In doing so, I learned that this was a survival tactic that truly saved my life, starting when I was very young. Being so young I learned that if I would conform into what others want me to be, I would hopefully survive another day without pain, neglect and extreme sadness.
The new healthier me, is learning what it looks like to realize that I can only control what I can control. This takes work to do this, since this is a pattern that I have been in since I was a little boy. The work that I try to do on a daily basis to help with the whirlwind of people pleasing is daily meditation and writing. (More to come on this)
Even while writing this, I’m thinking that there are certain people that will read this and think “why is he saying this” “meditation, that’s so weird” “he’s a pastor” “just get over it” “move on” “who cares what others think” “shut up” “lol-why is he coloring”
As I think through those “others” thoughts I am tempted to write things that will please them, or worse not write at all. For years this has been my default, to conform, shutdown, or worse be really rude with my words. Living my life on the healthier side (which again is work) I have learned I can only control what is in my circle. I can only control me and go from there, if (and a big if) others are thinking, judging, making fun of me. I had learned that this is not my issue at all, it truly is their own and this makes me sad for them.
Mark 12.31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
I encourage all to truly take time for yourself and get to truly know the you, you were made to be. These are not popular practices for people, especially for men. Many think they can just suck it up and they will be ok, yes this can work – for a season. Yet, this is the slow process of depression, de-pressing our feelings down which will eventually come out sideways which could hurt you and others on the way out. The best (unpopular) ways to defeat these depressive feelings are – therapy, meditation, worship, prayer, walking, breathing, eating healthier, being outside and more. Each of these modalities have truly changed who I am, and helps me to be the best I can be for others and mainly myself. This is loving yourself, so that you will truly be able to love your neighbor just as you love you.
I will be writing about many of these modalities soon. If you are needing help now with any of these please don’t hesitate to contact me, and I will get you information and connection to help.