Happy Motivation Monday! I usually write my Motivation Monday posts on Sunday night, since Monday mornings are already early ones for me. This often involves browsing through my Pinterest boards to see what inspires me, or thinking about my week and what is currently motivating me. My mind is still on running from my race this weekend (here’s the recap if you missed it!), but I think you’ve had enough of running talk lately.
So instead, I want to talk about making YOURSELF happy, regardless of what others think of those choices. A lot of times in my life, I’ve felt pressure to go along with expectations or to “conform” to what “most people” thought was “normal” (there are so many quotes because I think all of those words or phrases are trite and overused). I think almost everyone feels this pressure at times – it’s part of growing up and figuring yourself out. But I believe that we can only truly show our maturity, self-confidence, and self-respect when we honor our own feelings and do what makes us really happy, even if it’s “against the grain.” (picture source)
Kevin and I are both introverts, so often times even if there is a huge party with tons of people, we’d rather hang out on the couch and catch up with each other after a long, tiring week. I used to be embarrassed about this, and would even pretend that I was going out sometimes, by making up some imaginary party in order to get out of another party that someone was inviting me to. I used to do this with fashion, too – I know what I like, and I know what looks good on me, but I certainly don’t claim to be the most up-to-date on fashion trends (far from it!) or have the most expensive, designer-brand clothes. But I used to feel pressure to pretend like I went to “those” stores, and talk to my friends about them. I even felt pressure to go into my current job, because everyone at my college wanted to be in banking or consulting, despite very few people actually knowing what the jobs entailed. I don’t regret that decision, because I have learned a lot, developed great relationships, and grown as a professional, but the truth is that I picked the job just because others wanted it. Can you see how funny and silly these examples seem when they’re spelled out like this? (picture source)
So, today, please just take a minute to think about something that makes YOU happy, and make a commitment to do it, no matter what others think about it. It could be something small like what you order for lunch, or something big like making a major life change. You have responsibility to make yourself happy … others can’t do that for you!
So tell me in the comments … What’s one thing you’ve done previously because you felt pressured to do it? Do you regret it? What’s one thing making you happy today?
this is a beautiful message! i certainly have had to learn through trial-and-error what makes me happy. and it isn’t even the same day to day! some weekends i beat myself up for enjoying staying out late. but then i usually end up staying in the next couple of weekends…and i enjoy that too. i’ve dealt with pressure from the media and from friends, be it direct or indirect, to be happy with certain things. i’m learning to be ok with the fact that what someone else finds enjoyable is not something i have to find enjoyable! i’m learning to “do me’.
Thank you, Caitlin! I totally agree that what makes you happy day to day changes … that just adds to the difficulty of actually honoring what YOU need! Keep up the good work – you do you!
Meg: I had to let this particular post steep for a bit before framing my comments. Unfortunately, for most of us, getting through the day is a series of getting done what needs to get done, with little, if any, time to ponder whether one is “truly happy.” Happiness, I suggest, is best viewed as an on-going marathon rather than a succession of disconnected sprints, and a long-term commitment that sometimes calls for sacrifice and self-denial, compromise and conciliation. As unpopular as it may be in today’s apparent culture of self-empowerment and “seize the day” mentality, perhaps happiness really means just knowing when to quit the never-ending, frustration search for perfection and settling for everything being “just OK?”
Wow, wise words from an amazing Father-in-Law. Thanks for sharing, Gary – it definitely made me think! I totally relate to the “getting through the day” mentality, but that’s what I’ve been trying to pull myself away from. Even when there is sacrifice, compromise, and conciliation, there is always SOMETHING to be grateful for or to smile about, and just pausing to make yourself realize that really helps. As you well know, “knowing when to quit the never-ending search for perfection” is a struggle for me (and for many of the people in my side and your side of the family!), but I’m definitely working on it. Thanks again for sharing your insight!!!
Wow, what a great post! I definitely think that I made a lot of decisions in school because of what I thought others expected. I almost went to med school because that’s what everyone at my school did. I considered law school because I didn’t think it was practical to do what I really wanted to do. It’s hard. But I can tell you that I prefer sitting on the couch and relaxing for a good night in more than I like going out too (at least on most nights). What I’ve learned is that I am the person that I am…I used to want to change so any things about myself, but now I feel like I am learning to accept (and love) the person that I am and do the things that make me happy. It’s so worth it!
So glad you’re on this journey with me, Amy! It’s so nice when you can recognize what actually does make you happy, and realize that it’s OK to do that! How interesting that medical school was the common career path for your school!
Oh man… SO many things! I have done it with jobs too – especially in MBA school with everyone is a consultant. Or how about my major in college? I compromise with my dad there! Ultimately, I have no regrets because I’ve learned a ton and it’s gotten me where I am – which I love – but I’m glad to be older and wiser. Cheers to no longer giving a shit about what anyone thinks). 😉
I’m 100% with you – I have no regrets either, and if given the chance to re-do my life, almost all of my decisions would be the same. But I hate remembering all the agony I caused myself by worrying about what others thought of my decisions! I like your attitude – I’ll definitely toast to that!
I am catching up on posts from over the weekend! I completely agree with this! As I’ve posted about before my husband and I are the exact same way! We will take a night on the couch together over going anywhere…. and we aren’t ashamed of it! Of course we love being with family and friends, but a night on the couch is just about as good as it can get! Completely agree that it is important to make yourself happy and do what makes you YOU!
You were catching up on posts, and now I’m catching up on comments :). Glad to hear you and Wes are the same way! Like you, we definitely love being with family and friends, too, but there are some nights (OK, a lot of nights!) when it’s nice to just be “us.”
This is something I really really struggle with- even growing up to this day. I’ve ALWAYS been a people pleaser in all regards, I’d do anything for my friends, follow trends like the biggest sheep- all without thinking of what I truly felt. More often than not, I was like a doormat- people walked all over me and took advantage. Slowly, I’m telling myself its ok to do things making myself happy, that its not ‘selfish’- its just the mental mind games.
Thanks for this post- much needed today!
Hey Arman, sorry for the late reply, but thanks for your comment. Your words are so powerful – I’m really sorry you felt like others took advantage of you. Sadly, this happens far too often to people-pleasers (I know from experience). Glad you’re making some progress towards doing things for yourself – I’m right there with you on the journey!!
A shout out to all my fellow introverts. I enjoyed the post and I can totally relate. As I get older- I’ve gotten better at honoring my own nature and not forcing myself to live up to the expectations of others.
Glad you relate, Wendy! I’m DEFINITELY getting better with age, as well – and I hope to keep up the trend!
Love this.. thanks for posting. Today especially. It has just been one of those days, when I am jammed with work and nothing seems to be going in my favor. Tonight I am going to do a sweaty workout but I am going to block the timer and the distance and just go until I want to.. not until I think I should or compare myself to other people around me at the gym.
So glad this helped, Christine! I hope you ended up going for your workout and feeling better afterwards (I know I always do!). Blocking out the time/ distance on machines is always a good thing – I don’t always do a good job of letting go of technology, but I think it’s really great for those much-needed mentally-restorative workouts!
Such an important topic and incredible post. This was so hard for me to do. I really think it has so much to do with confidence: feeling okay to do things for YOU. I made a huge decision this summer that was terrifying and took me awhile to make the choice for me: I was unhappy in my relationship but too scared to end it. Until one day I did. And while I am still sad and still love, it has changed me for the better. Oy that was a very personal comment. Good thing he doesn’t read blogs 🙂 haha xoxo
Good for you! Ending relationships is NEVER easy, but I’ve seen far too many of my friends and family suffer through relationships that were bringing them down emotionally, and it’s just not worth it. I’m really happy you were able to realize what YOU need, and that you’re seeing the bright side of it (even if it still hurts). You’re such a strong person! And, of course, personal comments are always welcome – it’s funny how we “put ourselves out there” in the blog world, but it often feels SO much better after we do it, right!?
Great post lovely! I’ve always been a people pleaser and have definitely made decisions to make other people happy instead of myself (I’m looking at you Mom!). I finally made a HUGE decision for me last week and I felt so much better as a result. I can’t wait to tell you about it! Now I just need to hunker down and send that email. I promise It’s coming 🙂
I’m SO glad you’re putting yourself first, Davida! I’m learning to do that right along with you – it’s a process for sure. As we’ve well established by now, there is NO time pressure on our emails, so take your time – but I can’t wait to hear the good news!
I remember on our honeymoon there were loads of people (we did Sandals in Antigua when it was new) who were paired off in groups of guys and girls. Guys at the bars, girls on the beach or wherever. I mean … on their HONEYMOON? Do they not want to spend time together even THEN?
At that point I knew we weren’t ‘like other couples’. We actually enjoyed each other’s company. And that continues today, nearly 22 years later. The kids were at marching band state finals and had to ride the bus to help with everything. So we were together all day … and it was awesome.
We did a dual family vacation a couple of years ago with my wife’s sister that we knew would be way too much money, and it was. Definitely regret THAT one! Took a bit to recover …
Haha, Michael, this comment made me laugh! Kevin and I always joke about people who go on vacation and don’t spend any time with their significant other! (Of course, to each his own, and I’m not judging, just laughing at how much different we are from them!). My brother got married at a Sandals resort (in Jamaica) … it was so nice! How inspiring that you and your wife are so happy 22 years later … I definitely hope to be just like you!
I totally agree – it is too easy to judge someone else’s relationship through the lens of how you do things and who you are as a couple. For some of those ‘together – apart’ people, if they were in a relationship with someone who wanted a ‘best friend, period’ situation, it would never work. I remember my parent’s best friends – he traveled every week, and they built their entire life around that, so when he retired it took them a few very rough years to adapt to spending time together! Now years later they are in Florida and found a very happy niche togther.
For me, I hated all of the travel I had to do earlier this year … hate being away from home, from Lisa and the boys. I really hated it when the travel schedule was Sunday afternoon through Friday night. When it was Monday morning to Wednesday afternoon for the last couple of months … that was much better 🙂
Wow, I don’t think I could do the Sunday – Friday thing. I’ve been employed by the same company for 6 years, and besides when I was in business school, I’ve traveled Monday-Thursday every single week until the past 4 weeks. I don’t think I realized how tough it was on me until recently. Kevin, on the other hand, just started traveling a year ago, and he’s handling it like a champ! Glad your travel schedule is a little better now!