I was having an interesting chat with a work colleague this week, who, coincidentally, is a girl I know from primary school. She’s a little bit younger than me, but exactly how I remember her. Despite the 5-year age gap, we were discussing the beauty of self-confidence and how not caring what people thought felt so liberating to the shackles so often felt in high school.
It seems that as you grow older, you care less and less what people think of you. You want to be liked and respected of course, but the opinions of someone else when it comes to what you like and enjoy, just doesn’t matter as much.
Now turning 25, my colleague told me that quite a few of her friends still hold onto this restraint of character. This need to please other people and to gain their approval still outweighs what they themselves want. Isn’t that sad? Life is far too short to spend yours pleasing other people. What’s more, these are the kind of people that it doesn’t matter what you do, whether you try and please them or not. You want to find the people who already accept you, who don’t care what you like or what your hobbies are.
I can’t say I’ve ever suffered with trying particularly hard to fit in. Even growing up I made no secret of preferring to stay in or admitting to being an avid watcher of Midsomer Murders or Agatha Christie’s Poirot. In fact, it even became a running joke at university during the winter months, that I preferred to stay in, get cosy and cook a nice dinner. Some may say I’m old before my time, but I am more than happy with that, because that is what makes me happy.
My mother is a real people pleaser. So much so in fact, that she is often in a state of worry dreading something that she’s agreed to do. Whilst this is an admirable quality – and I’m not suggesting you should be entirely selfish as that’ll probably see you in a similar situation with regards to friendships – but she often gets frustrated that she spends so much time trying to please other people rather than herself. So perhaps, just sometimes, a little selfishness isn’t a bad thing. Nor is having the conviction to pursue what makes you happy.