House Beautiful

Tag Archive for 'shrinking for someone else’s comfort'

Wise Words: Don’t Apologize.

Don't Apologize | Covet Living

It’s been a minute since we’ve shared anything – ohhhh, I dunno – that means something.  Not that Bachelor(ette) commentary isn’t hilarious (I mean, c’mon, it’s hysterical), or that fashion finds aren’t useful (sure they are!)… but I mean something with a little more substance.

I ran across this quote earlier today and re-read it probably 10x… I figured if it was relevant to me and some experiences I’ve had, and if it’s relevant to several friends of mine and what they’re going through, then it was probably relevant to a lot of people.  So it’s maybe something we should all tuck away for safe keeping, because I think when things don’t turn out the way we wanted them to, it’s human nature to look inward and wonder if – had you done things differently or been more of what you think someone else may’ve needed – things might’ve worked out how you’d hoped.  Because that’s the only thing you CAN control – your behavior.

Case in point: I have one friend – a lovely, superb human – currently in the wake of a breakup, and in that stage of the aftermath where you self-reflect and start letting all the “what if I had been more X” or “if I’d only done Y, things may have been different” thoughts creep in. You know – the phase where you start to blame yourself for the things that – in reality – were never your fault, nor were they even things you could’ve changed.  I actually heard my friend say the other day: “Maybe I just wasn’t the right girl for him,” and I almost needed to be checked into a mental institution for a minute… (by “him” I mean troubled-soul-of-an-ex-who-MAJORLY-out-kicked-his-coverage, yet still pooped the bed.)  She was knocking herself for not fitting his mold, and I had to remind her that Mother Theresa + Heidi Klum + Superwoman in one body wouldn’t have fit that dude’s mold, but that more importantly, he hadn’t fit hers.  Just a square peg / round hole situation… but I get it: when you love someone, it’s hard to not want to bend a little for what you think is the better good.  But bending and “rounding out your edges” is a slippery slope, because once you start making small concessions, you usually wake up one day and realize you are now in something not remotely close to what you really wanted.  And all of a sudden, you’re someone you don’t even recognize. The only reason I know that is because I did it – for a LONG time – and by the time I realized it I was in way (and I mean, WAY) over my head.

forgetting yourself

I have another friend: smart, gorgeous and successful, who – in the throes of a breakup with her duplicitous, drug-abusing fiancé (an honest-to-God Prince Charming turned Nightmare on Elm Street) – began to question herself… maybe she wasn’t understanding enough, or she wasn’t patient enough… etc etc.  I could hear in her voice that she was thinking about rounding her so-called-edges to accommodate the situation she never thought she’d find herself in that had just become her reality, but her edges were good things: good morals, high standards and self-respect.  It sounds nutty and it’s easy to judge from the outside, but when you’re on the inside and you’re the frog who didn’t jump in a pot of boiling water, but who instead let yourself get slow cooked from what started as a nice lukewarm bath in a pot, it’s a different story.

don't you dare

Personally, I have recently been told – among other things – that my whole life is a John Hughes movie (well, it kind of is), and also that the way I talk and weave words together is intimidating for guys and can come off “aggressive“, so I need to be “breezier.”  HUH?  I let those observations sink in and gave myself a good self-effacing head scratch… because while I may be confident, I’m not impermeable… and for a split second, I hypothetically considered “rounding out” my edges so-to-speak, or smoothing over those quirks for someone else’s comfort. But then I thought, “well THEN who the &^$# would I be??”  And the answer is this: I would be a Stepford slice of MELBA TOAST.  I wouldn’t be me.  I knew that already, but sometimes a good kick in the ass from a trusted friend never hurts: when I relayed the unsolicited advice I’d gotten to one longtime pal whom I respect and think the world of (what up Wingnuts!), he was appalled, and reminded me that the way I talk / interact is what makes me who I am, and to not ever dare consider changing it.  It was a great reminder that the people who matter don’t mind and appreciate you for exactly who you already are, and the people who mind don’t matter.

My long-winded, all-over-the-map point, I guess, is that it’s human nature to point the finger at yourself when things go wrong and think, “well maybe if I just changed this ONE little thing, then (insert something you want to happen).”  But if you do that, you’ll kinda be lost, right?  Cause you won’t be you.  And maybe you’ll settle down or get what you thought you wanted for a minute, but then wuf – you’ll be in the company of someone who didn’t already like/love you for exactly who you were to begin with. And who wants to settle down into so much as cushy booth at the freaking Sizzler over lunch with that person?  We’re not all supposed to be the same… seriously – how boring would it be if everyone was this chick?  (Let’s be honest – there are already PLENTY of her out there):

So I dunno.  I’m no Yoda and I’m not on my soapbox preaching about it cuz I haven’t been there and don’t get it; I’m preaching about it cuz I have, and it was a tough lesson in things that don’t work.  And because everyone needs a reminder sometimes – myself included – that what’s meant for you won’t miss you, and what misses you was never meant for you.  And because I know so many already-amazing people who are tinkering with tweaking the way they behave, settling for less than what they really want or shrinking themselves for someone else’s comfort. And I’m just saying… maybe don’t.  All of your edges and quirks are there to make you you, right? There is no one else in the WORLD like you.  And the right people – friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, whomever – will love, value and celebrate those things, and will gravitate to you when you’re being yourself.  So gowel (!) don’t worry about the people who don’t.

true nature


Steph's Scanned Signature