As a little girl growing up, I learnt from my parents and adult role models that I must mind my manners, and adjust my behaviour so as not to interrupt the adults when they were in conversation. I was taught to be polite and respectful, and it became a natural role that I embraced; the people pleaser.
As a young adult, and as the eldest child of five, I was the appointed diplomat and was brought in on many occasions as the meditator of conflict. My siblings and parents always admired my ability to stay neutral and help to diffuse tense situations. I relished in the role as it made me valued, sought after and respected. Through playing this role though, I lost my ability to share my own views on the world and until recently, I was loathe to speak up in case I might cause disharmony or conflict.
For many years, I found my identity in pleasing others and finding out what other people needed, and serving them. This has created gratitude and dependence whereby I am leaned on to help others in crisis. I am the loyal, reliable, dependable one; I can’t bear to let people down. I struggle to say no to others, even if this may detriment me, as I am so committed to providing value to others. I fear that if I am not helping others, then I provide no value and therefore I may be cast aside. I seek new friendships constantly, and work hard to maintain existing friendships, even if the relationship is not serving me. People look to me to provide energy and bring my bubbliness to the table, it is considered one of my great assets.
Whilst this might all seem ok, you might think there’s nothing wrong with being polite and diplomatic, there’s nothing wrong with seeking new friendships and bringing energy to people’s worlds. But what if I was to tell you that, until recently, I didn’t realise myself, but it was not benefiting me at all. In fact, in working so hard to ensure everyone else’s happiness, I had forgotten what made me happy.
It took a serious decline in my health and subsequent denial of my independence that forced me to reevaluate the way I was living my life. I had convinced myself for so long that I was happiest when the people around me were happy, and I would do anything I could to ensure they were. I had been totally consumed in my people-pleasing, likeable ways, that I had lost my own identity. I couldn’t tell you what I wanted to do with my life, where I saw myself in the future and who I wanted to be. My hubby would get so frustrated with me as he would ask me time and again ‘what do you want?’. I could never answer, and it took this massive personal toll for me to stop and listen.
Over the past 6-12 months, I have been on a journey of awakening. I have found out that I do have opinions, I do have a desire to be heard and I don’t need to dampen my voice in order to have people love me. In fact, by doing just the opposite, and baring my soul and sharing with the world my triumphs and failures, I am finding me! The Tash Diaries was born out of this realisation that I wanted to share my story and be heard, and in doing so, I am hoping to create a community of people who want to share their story too. I am just an ordinary woman, but I have a passion for sharing stories, and to empower and connect with others through this journey.
For me, the blog is just the starting point as I bravely step out into the world. For too long, I have been a chameleon; able to change my colours to suit my environment and blend in perfectly with the world. In our current society, there is so much pressure to conform and fit in. We learn it from such a young age, and it is difficult to shed. Heaven forbid if you are considered different! But the truth is that we are all different and have a beautiful gift to share with the world, if only we allow it.
My vision is to continue to build this community through sharing my journey, I want to support other women to grow and develop their own journey and I want my children and the next generation to feel empowered to bravely step into the world too. My eight year old daughter currently looks up to me as her role model and hero. That won’t last forever, but while I have the opportunity to influence, and in honouring her and allowing her to be proud of who she is, I need to show her that I am too.
Every day as I step forward, and every time I write and share, I am so terrified. The deeply entrenched beliefs that no one wants to hear my story, I am not worthy of sharing and that people may love me less when they see the whole me; are attacking me psychologically every day. But I have learnt that I need to accept that these are part of me too, however I am no longer giving the power to these thoughts and feelings. I choose instead to give the power to sharing bravely and fiercely. Each time I do this, it gets a little bit easier. To me, bravery is not about feeling no fear. It is about feeling all the fear and stepping forward anyway. This is what I pledge to do.
I have finally found my voice and I want to be heard!
How do you bravely step up and find courage in the face of fear? How do you share your voice? What are you doing to ensure your children or the next generation are empowered to share their voices? I’d love to hear from you xx