I’ve always been the kind of person that is easily swayed. I’m fairly easygoing and it can be really easy to talk me into something, or talk me into doing something that I may not have agreed to with a bit more thought. The opinions of others and how they can judge you has taken a toll on me in the past, and made me feel like what I was doing wasn’t good enough, or okay, and perhaps I should care because they do?
This has gone on in my life for a long time and would cause some angst in my personal life, both with myself and with my family/husband. Here’s an example:
My husband and I just had our 11th wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago. We were up chatting in bed one night and we decided not to do big gifts for each other or make a huge deal about it. He mentioned that he really wanted to play a round of golf day, and I had my eye on some dishes that I wanted to upgrade to in our kitchen. So that it what we did! He played golf and I worked out and bought some dishes, and then that night we hung out at a friends house. We didn’t have a super romantic day at all, I actually saw him a bit less than I typically do. In other words, it wasn’t the typical anniversary that you read about. There were no mushy cards and elaborate gifts, no quiet dinner out or hours upon hours of hanging out together just us. And at first I felt bad about it, because you know, it wasn’t an anniversary you could gush over to your friends. And yet, it was the type of anniversary that worked for us. We did exactly what we wanted and spent the day doing things that made us happy, and isn’t that all that matters?
Here’s the deal… whenever I feel inadequate about something because it doesn’t look like something I think should be happening, or I’m not doing what I think others would want me to do I ask myself this one question.
Do I really care, or do I THINK I should care?
I asked myself this at the end of the day on our anniversary, when I remarked to my husband how our anniversary wasn’t that romantic or special sounding from someone looking in on the outside. I discovered that we had both had a really good day and were happy about it, yet I worried about how unromantic it looked. Was it what a romance novelist would write about the perfect anniversary? No! BUT, it was the kind of day that made us both happy, and that is what counts.
I think with social media and perfect Instagram accounts we see a version of life that we think we should be living, and we forget to check in with ourselves about what we really want. I am completely guilty of this! I spend too much time thinking about what others may think about my life, my kids, and my marriage, and how I choose to live and behave. That is why I find myself checking in often and asking myself if I am doing/thinking/reacting to something because I care, or if it is more for show.
I don’t want to live a life where what other people think about me and my life choices is a deciding factor in how I live. I want to do things that make ME happy, and make ME feel good. Are these that same things that make YOU feel good and are they what YOU think should happen? Probably not. I know that how my husband and I do things in our marriage is working, because we have been together for 15 years and are happier than we have ever been, so perhaps spending some time being practical on our anniversary won’t kill us. (Plus, we have learned that romantic moments come when they are least excepted, not just on special days!)
The thought of looking internally and checking in to see how I feel about things versus what others think I should do has helped me so much, not only in my marriage but in how I mother my children. There are a whole lot of judgmental people out there, but by shutting that out and living for what I think is right? That has made all the difference.
Tell me, do you care about what others think (like I often do!), or can you be free you be (and do!) what you want?