A common trait among adoptees is people pleasing. It’s a deep seated habit, almost as if it’s woven into our beings, our subconscious drawing the conclusion that being loved is equated to others’ happiness.
There’s an underlying expectation on adoptees that we are to be grateful for being saved; our parents gave us a better life and without them our lives would be, well, hopeless. Sayings such as “you’re special,” or “we chose you,” reiterate that narrative. As a result, we learn to please. We put our own needs, wants and voice aside in order to feel loved and accepted. We learn to say the right words and act the right way, blending in, solidifying our acceptance by others.
Until it doesn’t.
Our words begin to feel empty and our actions, unfulfilling. No matter how hard we try to make others happy in the way we speak or how we act, we continue to feel lonely and unloved. We can’t do enough to reassure that we will be accepted and feel as if we belong.
Being loved doesn’t come from making sure others are happy. It comes from within. We first have to learn to love ourselves, acknowledging our own worth, our own needs, and find our own voice. When we are able to do that, that emptiness starts to fade, and replacing it is a confidence that we are worthy and deserving of love.
This has been the process I’ve been going through the past few years; becoming a more true and genuine self. It doesn’t mean I’m selfish because I have started to take care of myself and it doesn’t mean I’m rude because I’m no longer constantly apologizing. And, most of all, it doesn’t mean I’m unlovable because I may not always make others around me happy.
This process for me has made me stronger, happier and whole. I am finally becoming the person who was always been hidden inside, but is no longer afraid to shine. I am me. Unapologetically me.
So to my fellow adoptees out there, you got this. Keep pushing, pursuing and striving to become who you have always been. No matter how deep it’s buried, let you, be you. Unapologetically you.