I wouldn’t exactly call myself a people pleaser. I think over the years, as my social anxiety has lessened a little bit and I’ve accumulated more experience through life, I would say I don’t care as much about what people think of me. I’m not as afraid anymore to ruffle some feathers or make the water a little bit turbulent to sail on.
I guess that comes with experience and simply having more responsibilities now as we naturally grow older. I simply don’t have the time to use my mental bandwidth on certain things that I used to have the luxury of dilly dallying and doing back then when I was younger. I need to expend my energy and use my mental resources carefully, so that I can continue to enjoy and live a fulfilling life myself and take care of the people close to me that need to be taken care of.
I used to bristle when people rubbed me the wrong way. When they said something (or didn’t say something) that I didn’t expect them to say. My mind would play tricks on me and sometimes I would fall into the victim mindset, assuming that other people are trying their best to derail my career, derail my health, or derail my relationships.
I guess my ego (which is something I still do have) got the best of me. As of now, I am still a work in progress. Just a few days ago, a very good friend of mine asked me how much I bought my studio apartment for. Now one thing I am particularly sensitive to talk about (and I think lots of people are sensitive about) is money. I was raised to keep information and financial stuff like that closer to my chest.
After all, who in their right minds would want to show off their salary? If you run your own private business, would you want to disclose to the world how much your revenue is or how much you make on a daily or monthly basis? Of course not, unless you eventually become a publicly traded company and have willingly agreed to those terms.
But for me, I’m still not sure why, but I ended up divulging how much I bought the apartment for back then. I guess it was because he has been a very good friend throughout the years and he certainly didn’t have any bad intention by asking of course. But still, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of discomfort as I revealed this sensitive information to him. I’m sure at the end of the day, no harm is going to come to this. But still, for me it was a learning lesson.
Sometimes, I still need to do a better job of putting my foot down and simply saying no. To simply say sorry, I don’t feel comfortable discussing stuff like that. What’s wrong with that? I need to protect my mental boundaries and I need to continue to do what I want to do as well.
Again, it’s a work in progress and I guess that question my friend posed put me in a bit of a pickle. I didn’t want to disappoint him or ruffle him because he’s been a close friend, but I also wanted to protect and keep this type of information close to my vest. At the end of the day, it was my decision to reveal this to him. It was my decision to tell him. It was my decision to agree to answer his question. So, at the end of the day, the buck stops with me.
There are many factors that I obviously can’t control. I can’t control the questions that anybody asks of me. I can’t control when they ask or how they ask. I can’t control how they’ll respond or react to my answer neither. But still, I do have a responsibility to control my own ideas, actions, and decisions. I do have agency and autonomy to sustain my boundaries and do what I feel to be comfortable and in line with my principles.
And unfortunately, a few days ago, I let that slip a little bit. Again, this is a learning lesson and I will do better next time.
I now remember many years ago I similarly asked a different close friend about how much he was renting to his tenants, simply out of pure curiosity. And he similarly bristled and straight up said to me directly that he doesn’t feel comfortable revealing that information. And that was that. I haven’t thought much of that interaction since then and we remain good friends up to this day.
So, I need to continue practicing good habits, evolve with the times, and adapt to see what works best for me. Maybe some friends are okay with sharing that type of financial information with each other. I’m sure many people are. But for me, at least, I don’t feel too comfortable with that stuff. So, I need to remember and improve for the next time someone inevitably asks me a question that might push my boundaries a little too far.
Because the healthier I feel, the better I can use my limited mental resources to help live a better life for myself and indirectly help improve the community that I live in because of that. So, please remember to say “no” if you simply don’t feel comfortable. It’s okay to reject, deny, or refuse. It’s something that I am continuing to grapple with.
But I will do better going forward.