For those who repeatedly are dissatisfied, frustrated, minimized, or controlled by people you are in relationship with …
It seems to me the people who are accepted most easily into existing group or relationship dynamics are the ones who comply sweetly, or who most-fully adapt to other people’s unspoken expectations. Often that means the most compliant are taken advantage of or influenced by the least ethical.
Also wronged by unrighteous relationships, are those of you who don’t have “sweet compliance” in your natures, but who quench your thoughts and feelings in order to be accepted. When you’re a thinking, strong, independent, goal-oriented person, but also are social, care about people, and will reflexively sacrifice self for others … it’s a difficult combo. Your denial of self and compliance to wrongs comes at a cost — you’ve sold your soul, so-to-speak, to achieve harmony with others.
At some point, you subconsciously realize your loss of self, and try to restore it without losing relationships. Sometimes it can be done, sometimes it can’t, not because of anything you’ve done or didn’t do, but because you can’t control another person’s reaction to the changes in you.
For those who need examples: A thing I often experience in social expectations is a demand we be “nice” in the face of insensitivity, insults, rejection, or injustice. But what if I don’t feel sweetness or apathy in response to injustice? What if I object to it? What if I feel angry about it? Am I allowed to express that? Frankly, as a woman, and as a Christian woman even more-so, I can’t object without being labeled something nefarious by onlookers in our “must be sweet” society. So I stuff who I am, comply to avoid rejection, and suffer silently in my resultant inner turmoil.
Too often, our options are:
- Sell out who you are, withold your honest feelings, and deny them to conform to demanding people whose behaviors are infringing on you or others.
- Express yourself honestly, and be rejected or made to feel guilty or wrong for your feelings, thoughts, or viewpoints.
These are not great options. Hence the compounded agitation that erupts within. It’s a natural agitation, with valid causes. Can it be exaggerated by conditions such as erratic hormone levels, long-term stress, or sleep deprivation? Maybe, but probably not to the degree that those alone explain your inner conflict, not when there are a plethora of valid causes going on in your life. Your emotions may very well be on-point and reasonable, the appropriate response to wrongdoing by others when you’re prevented from changing the circumstances.
So, is there another option than the inadequate ones listed above? One that doesn’t further wrong yourself, in order to be most effective in overcoming evil with good on this Earth?
There is, and it’s a win/ win for everyone. It takes time, but it’s so worth it …
So now, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith in his promises, we can have real peace with him because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 For because of our faith, he has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be.
Romans 5: 1-2 Living Bible (TLB)
Prioritize who you are as a person for awhile. Ask God to help you recognize your strengths, identify what has always been YOU in your character and desires of life … the things in you that He approves of … those things that are right and true … the person He intended. Take the time needed to discover, develop, and cement who you were meant to be.
Accept that person. Settle into who you are. Make sure you protect that person from morphing for others. Once you’re strong enough to withstand outside forces, THEN see what happens with relationships.
That will prevent your needs or wants from becoming manipulable traps and landing you in subpar relationships. Let your settled, content-with-self PERSON land you in relationships instead.
To do that, you have to know who you are, accept who you are, and protect who you are. The more secure you become, the more confidently (and gently!) you can deal with other people, even in their wrongful behaviors.
In other words, the outcome of becoming settled in who you are benefits others, too – you end up being able to do what is needed in each case: calmly advocate for yourself in some cases; generously overlook behaviors in other instances; bring an end to relationships when you have to, but with understanding and without guilt; or, in some cases, stay and help others out of their own reactive, abrasive insecurities.
You need to be who God made you to be. If you’ve had to morph who you are for the acceptance of people, you need time to reflect, and become all that God has had in mind for you to be.