Something special for you today. A guest post by someone I love and admire hugely. I met T.L. Tyson on Authonomy (yes, that place has a lot to answer for!) soon after I joined. In fact, I read her book, Seeking Eleanor and nearly left straight away as I figured I had no hope if all the writing was as good as that. We’ve been in touch now for, what? Three years? She’s smart, funny, fun, quick as a whip, heart-tearingly honest and wise.
I would strongly advise you read her blog, watch her vlog and, if you happen to be an agent or publisher with any sense whatsoever, nab her quick. You can also catch her on Twitter (@TL_Tyson) and Facebook.
Anyhow, I asked if she’d like to write a guest post and this is what she sent me this morning…and it sent a tingle down my spine as, just like always, she has hit the nail on the head..
On Not Being The One – T.L. Tyson
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve hated disappointing people. Even now, as an adult, it hurts to let someone down. This isn’t a feeling specific to me. Humans have this tendency to want to please others, especially the ones they care about, and when they don’t feelings of not being good enough surface, often against our will.
Recently, I’ve been mulling, which is never a good thing, but it’s allowed me to come to terms with not being the one. Oh, no, this isn’t about romance or love or fairytale weddings, this is about expectations and trying to change for others. This is about who we are, and who others want us to be.
All through growing up, we desperately want to find our identities. In theory, being ourselves is easy. In reality, it’s one of the hardest things to do. Often, we’re encouraged to dress, act and think as individuals, to walk our own paths, as long as it isn’t too extreme.
A lot of us struggle to find who we are, searching through our twenties, even our forties, and, sadly, some of us never figure it out. Still, we keep at it. We put the time, energy, and work into learning to like our reflections. The path can be tedious, but it’s worth it to accept our flaws, our idiosyncrasies, and embrace the person inside us. To love who we are, in order to allow others to love us back.
Except, sometimes people love us for who we aren’t. For who they think we are.
Let me explain.
People have expectations. Friends, lovers, siblings, mothers, fathers, spouses and even acquaintances all have desires, needs, and dreams, both of themselves and of each other. And, when we don’t live up to their standards, ideals, or hopes, it’s crushing—for both parties. But the truth is, we cannot control how others want us to be.
In the last year, there have been several instances where people have wanted me to be someone I’m not. Someone who may vaguely resemble me, but who lacks the same morals, thoughts, aspirations, and reacts differently than I do. The hardest part is feeling inadequate, like I’ve mislead them into thinking I might be the girl they longed for, the friend they always wanted, the lover they never thought they’d find. Human nature is a tricky thing. Above everything else, we want someone to get us, understand who we are, and we will do anything to feel that connection, even idealize them.
The most frustrating part is, I’ve done it myself. In the past, I’ve glorified people and tricked myself into thinking they have qualities they don’t, because it was what I wanted. This is wrong. I don’t want to make someone out to be something they’re not. And I don’t want someone making me out to be something I’m not. It’s okay to have expectations of ourselves, but having them of other people is a dangerous business. It’s a hurtful one.
Earlier this week, I wrote something down on a scrap piece of paper. One sentence that said, “I’m sorry I’m not the girl you wanted me to be.”
They are simple words, but they make me ache, because it hurts to realize you aren’t enough, especially because we spend so much time trying to figure out who we are. It’s gutting when other people simply can’t accept you for you. It’s hard not to take it personally, and even harder to move past.
The feelings of inadequacy are pointless, though. We need to let go of feeling insufficient because we cannot change to please someone else. It’s better to be ourselves and without, than with someone and pretending to be something we’re not. After brooding over this, I realized there is only one way forward. Acceptance. We need to accept others for who they are, in hopes they will grant us the same luxury. Above all, we need to accept ourselves, and embrace who we aren’t.