Who Are You Making Choices For?
Who are you making choices for?
This has been a question I have started to make friends with over the last 6 months or so, and it wasn’t a natural friendship, it’s taken some work. Making friends with this question has been a bit like befriending a difficult in law, or your best mates new fella; like, “OK, I’m not naturally drawn to you, but to make my life easier, I’m gonna give this a try.” I am a people pleaser by nature, and to be honest I think I always will be, but at some point and at certain times in your life you have to stop for a second and say, “hang on, who am I actually making this choice for?”
Weirdly, the first time I heard this was watching an interview with Ariana Grande. Now I could lie here and say, “Ariana, omg girl, we’re like the same person, you know?” but truthfully, me being able to buy my six besties a diamond ring is about as likely as my dog learning to pick up her own turds, and six besties? Pah! I wish.
Anyway, despite the slight differences in mine and Ariana’s lifestyles I instantly related. Now, it would be easy to call the worlds biggest pop-star out on this, because look at her life, what more could she need, how could she possibly be struggling? But Ariana Grande has had more than her fair share of personal trauma and we all know mental health problems don’t come with a patient criteria.
It was after all this trauma when Ari (we’ll call her Ari now, because BFFs remember) was really struggling, that somebody close to her just said “Listen, who are you making choices for right now?” and something clicked. Weirdly, it was exactly the same for me when I watched her talking about it. It was one of those weird light-bulb moments and I just stopped and thought: who am I making choices for? And, why?
I think the reason I related so much was because I too was struggling…
…and I too have had my fair share of trauma, especially after becoming a Mum, and when I was watching this interview in particular, I felt over stretched and drained. I was worried and anxious, I was juggling too many things (as everybody does, especially mums), I was trying to keep everybody happy, feeling bad if I didn’t, and feeling guilty when I had had no reason to be and above all, I had forgotten myself.
I think as mother’s, whether we’re people pleasers by nature or not, we instinctively place ourselves at the bottom of the pile once we have children. Of course once you’re a parent you have to consider your baby when you’re making choices and nobody would ever dispute that, I certainly wouldn’t.
99.9% of all my choices are made considering my little one above all else and I would never have it any other way. I am not telling you the answer to this question about who you’re making choices for should always be you, not at all. It could be your family, your partner or best friend, or just whatever the priority is in that particular set of circumstances.
There are also times when we do have to make choices we don’t particularly want to and that’s fine, just as long as we also check what the cost is. I think it’s when we start to make choices that put our neighbour three doors down, ahead of ourselves, or when we end up making a choice that comes at too great a cost, like our health, that it becomes a real problem.
I’m still a people pleaser at heart and often that is actually what makes me happy, but it is all about balance. How much of your own happiness or well-being are you sacrificing for somebody or something else? Let’s also remember that in order to give your best you have to be at your best. I still have myself far too near the bottom of my priority list, but I am learning, and this has really helped me.
Sometimes now when I don’t know what to do, I ask myself, “who are you making this choice for?” and the answer to that question nearly always sends me in the right direction.
So, if you are stressing over a decision you feel like you have to make and the answer to that question is not you, your children, your partner, or the people and things that are at the top of your priority list, then it’s a no brainer, so stop worrying.
Lets get a few things straight here:
- You are allowed to say no to shit you don’t want to do;
- You reserve the right to change your mind;
- You are allowed to want to sit at home in your sweat pants all weekend. You are allowed to go out all weekend;
- You don’t have to spend £40 on a gift for somebody because the rest of the group are;
- If you don’t like it – don’t do it, don’t watch it, don’t take it;
- You are entitled to your opinion (but don’t be a dick about it obviously);
- You don’t have to explain your choices to ANYBODY;
- Self care is important, so go do what you need to do;
- If you want to take a selfie and post it because you think it looks good, YOU GO GIRL. If you don’t, YOU GO GIRL;
- You decide your priorities, nobody else, but please make sure you are one of them.
I could go on and on, but you get the point I am making here. Basically if you are struggling, if your juggling act is getting out of hand, maybe you too need to take a minute and ask yourself the question, “who am I making choices for?” and then see if the answer helps.
I hope that at least some of the time the answer is you, because you should always try to prioritise yourself and should never be ashamed of wanting to do so.