When Tom was growing up, I often used to say to him ‘stay true to yourself’, when he was facing some sort of dilemma and had a decision to make. As an allegedly wise parent, I offered this advice to help him to make a choice he was willing to stand by and live with, regardless of the consequences.
My friend and mentor, Christine Arylo, then encouraged me to extend this advice to say ‘Stay true to yourself, even if it means disappointing another‘, and this has been one of my renewable annual vows for a number of years now.
…and yet, I still find it really challenging, sometimes, to keep this particular vow, because I feel really uncomfortable with disappointing other people. It just isn’t in my nature to let other people down, and if I say I am going to do something, I like to keep my word.
The flip side is, how does this serve anyone, if I am putting undue pressure on myself and running myself ragged because I am trying to keep everyone else happy most of the time?
I’m sure most of us do this, because we have a number of roles to fulfill – partner, parent, work colleague, friend, sibling, carer…the list is endless. And the one person often missing from that list is ‘me’ – we have a role to fulfill to ourselves too, so we can keep ourselves fit, healthy and in the right spirit to be all those things to all those other people.
So yes, challenging as it may be, get the harmony and balance restored in your life and be willing to stay true to yourself, EVEN if it means disappointing another.