“For all my life I have worried about what other people think about me. As a little child, I quickly learned that certain things would bring the smile and approval of my parents and other adults. Then when I started grade school, the approval of my friends became the most important thing in my life.
Now I’m in college. But I’ve never grown out of this fear of being rejected. I still live my life mainly based on the approval of others. I want so badly to be liked, to fit in, and to be accepted that I have done all kinds of dumb stuff that my friends pushed me to do. I really regret that. Most of the time I know the right thing to do. I’m just afraid to do it, worrying about what my friends will think.
Why am I so weak? Why can’t I handle their disapproval? I have opinions, but I’m always afraid to express them. I am tired of saying yes to people just because I’m afraid to say no. I’m tired of caring too much about what other people think of me. I’m tired of being manipulated and used. But in many ways it’s my fault. Sometimes I feel that I don’t even know who I am. I’m just a collection of the expectations of others.”
That’s an actual email I received about two years ago. My heart broke for that young lady. She had allowed her life to be controlled by the thoughts and opinions of other people – people that she didn’t even care about and who certainly didn’t care about her. She was stuck in a self-imposed prison and it seemed like there was no way out.Read More