An open letter to the people I spend my time with…
My favorite thing about therapy, as I’m sure it is for many, is what’s known as a breakthrough.
I recently had one of these, and I needed to share it with you because of the accountability people tend to hold their friends, family and partner to, to satiate their own need. This is human nature, and, as in all relationships, the literal need for compromise to sustain it is real.
I’m often asked what I would like to do… eat, watch, etc. You get the point. Many times I say, “What would you like to do?” often looking for choices because I truly just want to do what makes the other person happy. Sure it sounds trite, predictable, polite; but I promise, if anything in this world, I’m not trite, nor predictable, and certainly not polite.
What I am is confident.
I’m amenable to change. I literally enjoy almost every new experience, even if I don’t enjoy the activity. I just like doing new things. I enjoy learning. I enjoy making mistakes as long as I’m comfortable with the people I’m making mistakes with. I eat literally anything. I absolutely love food, and while some things I find intimidating, again, if I’m in the right company I will dive right in. I’m often asked what my favorite genre of movie or music is, and I don’t have an answer. I am as comfortable watching a horror movie as I am a rom-com. My favorite holiday movies range from Die Hard to Love Actually. I often cry during Hallmark movies, but also found the love story in Haunting of Hill House to be heartwarming. When it comes to music I’ll grind to Purple Lamborghini, belt out Beautiful Crazy, and write while listening to Debussy.
It’s not that I don’t have a favorite or an opinion- I promise, when my drive is strong, I speak. And I am told that not knowing what I want to do is annoying, so I try my best. I try my best to put myself into a box of what I’m comfortable with and what I am used to, because what I truly want, what would make me happy, is for the person or people I am with to tell me what would make them the happiest. This is both a product of PTSD and people pleasing. A product of abuse and OCD. These are things I work very hard to keep the upper hand on, and a part of my breakthrough is realizing that sometimes I don’t know what I want to do, or eat, or watch, but I know I want the person I’m with to be happy.
And that’s my breakthrough.
Though my indecisive behavior may seem nothing but indecisive, my decision is your happiness. Not because I am a pushover. Not because someone else being happy makes me happy, but because my choice, which is what I am being asked for, is for the other person to be happy.
And all of my wisdom attained in 36 years of life, I have learned that my happiness rests squarely upon my shoulders. There is no one person, place, thing, food, or activity that can make me happy; I am in control. So when I am asked for my choice, I am in control. For once. My breakthrough here- my therapeutic win- is being true and honest with myself. I just want you to be happy, give me some choices about what would make you happiest.