Over the last three therapy sessions that I have gone to, my counselor has been trying to get me more comfortable with the idea of doing what is best for me no matter what other people might think about it. One of the many problems that I face in dealing with my anxiety is that I try too hard to please everyone. I don’t want to ever let anyone down which is really hard when I have multiple people telling me what I should be doing in any given situation.
What I have come to realize is that I am often my own best judge of a situation. I do not need the approval of other people because I know what I want and I know what I need to do to get it. That said, I can never do what it is that I want to do without the approval of the people in my life (ie. parents, relatives, professors, doctors, etc.).
I remember my parents warning me about the dangers of peer pressure before I entered high school. They said I needed to be careful not to do something that I’m not comfortable with just because everyone else is doing it or someone is pressuring me. What I don’t think my parents realize is that they have become one of those sources of pressure. For my entire life I have done what my parents have told me to do, even when it goes against what I want. I have always been the studious, hard-working daughter who listens to her parents without arguing.
Another thing that my parents probably don’t realize is that their protectiveness over me as I was growing up has seriously had a negative impact on my ability to cope in stressful situations. I worry constantly. I have no confidence in new situations. I am shy. I have an extremely hard time adjusting to change of any kind. I have been so dependent on my parents over the years that I struggle with my independence even though it is something that I really want.
So, what I am trying to learn is that if I want to be independent, I will have to start making my decisions with my own best interest at heart even if that makes other people angry. And that is okay. Selfishness is not a bad quality to have in a lot of situations. Self preservation is important. Do what you need to do to achieve your own success. I’m starting to get over my fear of defying my parents but it is still a struggle. When you are controlled so strictly for so long it is not something that can be undone in a moment. I is a work in progress, but one day I hope that I will be able to stand up for myself.