Julia Roberts, as the “Runaway Bride,” famously escaped groom after groom, and it was the stuff of movie drama. Why did she run? What was wrong…with her? It turns out that ultimately she didn’t know who she was, and therefore the various fiancés didn’t know who was the real person either. She kept adapting to the fiance’s wishes. Not her own. Their expectations determined her life until the pressure built up and she bolted.
In my own case, I was so ‘wedded’ to the idea of marriage that I picked the wrong man. When I realized there was maybe something really wrong about him and our future, I was tied down by: the cake, the dress, the reception, the invitations, and of course, the embarrassment.
Rather than stopping the marriage before it happened, I ended up running from it two plus years later. What lesson did I learn? That other people’s expectations, i.e. those of society, can be an unreasonable and useless burden. You are who you are. You must, in a sense, protect the core you, the real person you are. If you are ever to achieve the goals you have selected, you have to be somewhat fierce about being consistent with yourself.
On a much smaller scale, but it resonates with me, saying no to a social invitation sometimes makes me squirm. Why don’t I want to go? Pause. Maybe because I don’t want to be with those people, or at this particular time, whatever. Yet I hesitate. What will ‘they’ think.
Ever notice how many ‘they’ people there are that we don’t agree with? A whole mob of them.
I now step back mentally when I get an invitation like this, and I ask myself: “What do you want to do and why?” If upon reflection I feel it adds value to my life in some way, I accept. If I would agree only to meet some one else’s expectations, I probably say no.
Of course, I exclude those family gatherings! They are a duty sometimes rather than a pleasure but we are also part of our families. So there are no easy answers. But when it comes to the big stuff, like long term relationships, advocate for yourself. Stand up for yourself. Don’t let anyone else drive your life. You are worth being the real you!