When Is Enough…. Enough?

So they say patience is a virtue. They say that things that don’t kill you make you stronger. Slow and steady wins the race. So it’s a good idea to keep your nose to the grindstone, press on, and just keep going. I’ve done this all my life, just kept plugging and hoping to get ahead. I’ve thought that if I just kept trying hard enough, I would get through and things would be awesome. And in some cases it’s been true. I’ve come a long way. I’ve gotten stronger by living through all of the hardships I’ve face in my life. But the one thing I think I haven’t really learned is when to call it quits. I haven’t learned to realize when I’m fighting a losing battle. Or when it’s time to make a change. Oh, there’s the scary word – change. I think sometimes I get stuck in a vicious cycle simply because I’m afraid of making a change. I think many people are willing to put up with a lot of things just to avoid making a change. Because change is an unknown. And the unknown is scary. What if you make a change and it’s worse. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. What if you make a change and it’s a huge mistake. So I think I worry about the unknown so much that I stay in bad situations or bad jobs, or keep people in my life way too long.

I have had several times in my life where I have continued down a path long after I realize that it’s not the right way. I’ve kept people in my life long after I realize they are not good for me, or healthy. I make up excuses or forgive over and over to avoid confrontation or mistakes. Looking back, hindsight is 20/20. I can look back after I finally make the change and say – you knew that it was a mistake. You knew that you were going in the wrong direction. So why did I stay on that path or keep that person in my life. I was married to my first husband and it took over two years to divorce him even though it was a disaster before we even got married. I stayed in a job that almost killed me for 7 years, when after 2 I knew it was not good for me. I duck and dodge to avoid confronting people when I know I should. From telemarketers, bill collectors, even to “friends” I know aren’t healthy for me. I try to tell myself that no one is perfect and that everyone deserves to be accepted the way they are. I am far from perfect so who am I to judge them? I realize that there is good in everyone if you look for it. And so I have a lot of damaged people in my life. I’m willing to accept them the way they are. But when is enough enough? When do I decide that it’s no longer healthy for me and my family to have them in my life? Or how unhappy do I have to be before I make a change?

Looking at a situation, whether it be a job, a friend, a marriage, or a habit, the point is – maybe I shouldn’t wait so long to make changes. Maybe I deserve a little more and shouldn’t put up with so much. I seem to always consider everyone else besides myself. I do without so I can give to others. I put my own time, happiness and needs after everyone else. I try to tell myself that this is because I want to help others, that I care about other people. But the flip side of that coin is maybe I don’t value myself enough. I don’t prioritize my own needs high enough. So I put up with things that maybe I shouldn’t for those reasons. I needed to look at the things in my life, the people in my life and move forward. Heck, the whole reason I started this blog was to make those changes. Some of them I have. I am living in a much nicer place, I have a much better job. I have walked away from some people who have been very damaging to me and my life. I’m about to make some new, big changes. And it’s scary. And I’m afraid of falling on my face. I’m afraid of failing. But, if I don’t make changes, things will never change. So, no matter how scared I may be, I’ve got to try. Because in the end, I would rather try and fail than stay in the same place just because I’m afraid of changing. It’s time to make myself a priority. I guess, in the end – enough is enough.

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Just the Way You Are

Do you ever wish that you could step outside yourself and see you how other people see you? I mean, it’s impossible to really see yourself as others see you. You can only have one point of view – your own. And that is influenced by everything you have experienced in your life. So there is no way to do it. But at some point in time everyone worries about it. Whether it’s as a little kid or a self-conscious teenager. Even as adults many people worry about what other people think about them.

So yeah, often times I wonder about how others see me. I have had some surprising moments where people tell me that they think something about me – like what an extrovert I am (I’m not!). Another time someone told me I was too intimidating?? I was amazed at that one since I think I’m very easy going and friendly. But, I have no way of knowing what they are seeing in me. Maybe somewhere in their life they had someone who looked like me or sounded like me and they were intimidated by them, so when they see me they are intimidated.

And you never know when something about you is going to strike a cord in someone else. It doesn’t even really have to be something you say or do. I had one child that seemed to warm up to me very quickly. They wanted to sit by me, hold my hand and came to me when they were upset. Then one day they told me that I reminded them of their mother. I asked if I looked like her and they shook their head no and seemed to think about it for a minute. Then they responded “You smell like her”. Hm, okay. I guess that’s a good thing. Saying I smell doesn’t have to be a bad thing LOL. Perhaps I wore the same perfume or used the same deodorant. But for whatever reason, I reminded him of his mother. You never know what is going to trigger something in someone else. Have you ever met someone who had the same name as someone you hated in your past? You don’t want to associate them with that person – but in some ways you do. Even if it is to not trust them right away. Associations in your brain is how  we learn. So your brain is constantly trying to make those associations. But it can also reason, so while it may first associate the person with the one you hated – as you get to know the person, if they are a good person, your brain will reason that this association isn’t valid.

Wanting to understand how people see you and where you fit into the world is something everyone wants to do at some point. Understanding yourself and your own self image is something many people struggle with. I know I use to worry all the time about what people thought or how I came across to other people. I was very self-conscious. It was very stressful worrying about what other people thought. So, I gave up doing it. I really just kind of stopped caring what other people thought. I adopted the saying I use often – those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. I dyed my hair blue. I started speaking up at meetings. I stopped apologizing for everything I said and did. I stopped living as if I was an inconvenience to people. I started living like my opinions and thoughts mattered.

Now maybe sometimes I go a bit over board. I can now be a little loud, a bit pushy, and if some are to be believed – I can be loud and obnoxious. But. Honestly, after living over half my life as a scared door mat, I think I’d vote for loud and obnoxious. It’s more fun.