A common trait among adoptees is people pleasing. It’s a deep seated habit, 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 that we are to be grateful for being saved; our adoptive parents gave us a better life and without them our lives would be without hope. Even sayings such as “you’re special,” or “we chose you,” reiterate that narrative and as a result we learn to please. We put our own needs, wants and voices aside in order to be loved and accepted. We begin to say the right words and act the right way, believing that other’s happiness will determine a lifetime of love for us.
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.
It’s then that we realize our purpose is not to people please.
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 our own wants. When we are able to do that, that emptiness will start to fade, and replacing it, 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. It doesn’t mean I’m rude because I’m no longer constantly apologizing and no longer saying no to hanging out with someone. It doesn’t mean I’m unlovable because I may not always make others around me happy.
It does mean I am becoming 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.