Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Approval Not Needed

Why is it that we are always searching for approval for things from the people around us? Also, why are we always so quick to try and provide our two cents without knowing the full story? So many people get so wrapped up in what other people think they often forget to ask themselves how THEY feel about whatever decision is being made. It's something I personally struggled with for years - I was a "people pleaser" and wanted validation on everything from hair color to apartment to men I dated. For a long time my relationships were so much more about how they reflected on who I was as opposed to what they did for me as person. On the flip, I have often been guilty of giving my opinion too quickly and without all the information. Something that I have really been working on.

I was talking with someone about this recently who is dealing with some judging. What I said to that person is "f them." Sorry but it's true. People that aren't there all the time and only see or hear things in small pieces do not get to judge as they don't have ALL the information. Women, I am sad to say, are the worst at this BY FAR. We are always sitting their questioning each others choices. Unfortunately, 99% of the time we only have about 10% of the information. And we are always sooooo quick to provide our two cents. Judging either quietly or worse LOUDLY about other peoples choices based on what we see or hear on the surface. Let's face it - a group of girls having drinks is going to lead to some "bitch sessions" because we feel the need to vent, doesn't mean that it needs to change.

Just because your friend is complaining about a project at work this week doesn't mean she should quit her job or just because she is annoyed that her husband doesn't help around the house doesn't mean they should get divorced - so be careful with you "comments." Remember  - once you say something out loud and people hear it, while you may be able to apologize, the words are there and its going to be tough to be forgotten.

Through my journey this has happened to me quite a bit. Yes people that are reading this - I know what you were thinking and saying and still are. The fact is, it doesn't matter nor should it. My choices are precisely that, my choices. For a long time it hurt to know that people I cared about were making assumptions about my decisions and more importantly, my life. This transition has not been easy - its a completely new way of life so at a time where I needed support I often got the exact opposite due to a lack of information. Maybe it's because we tend to look for support when we are facing a tougher situation?

I am still in the very early stages of trying to figure out what a lot of my new life means. How to get by in new country, how to cope when we disagree, how to communicate when my husband isn't around, how to buy the right butter (something I am pleased to report I think I have figured out), etc. It has its ups and downs and that is to be expected, the reality is the ups are far more than the downs but the downs are still tough to cope with and that's when I reach out. My French is improving - FINALLY I can order for myself and have a little bit of small talk. I am starting to be less annoyed by certain things and instead appreciate them. Am learning a lot of the things that I don't love are just part of "island living" so they bug me less. I may still complain about certain things - pretty normal - but just because I am complaining about flies it doesn't mean that I miserable - it just means at that moment flies are bugging me.

Here's my reality: I married a good man who loves and cares about me. We are very much in love and we want many of the same things. We also came from different places and are learning to understand that about each other a little more. We know our choices surprised a lot of people, its to be expected. What helps is that with time, many people have come to realize we weren't making a "huge mistake" and as they got to know us better as a couple realized that this was exactly right for us. I don't think my reality is all that different or special.

So here's the net/net - you don't really need someone's approval if the choices seem right to you, you are the only one with all the information. And if you are giving your opinion, whether solicited or unsolicited, be very careful what you say and how it's delivered, you may unwillingly be hurting someone you care about while thinking it's "for their own good."

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