My biggest regret of 2015 was that I didn’t see this quote soon enough, “Don’t you dare shrink yourself for someone else’s comfort – Do not become small for people who refuse to grow.” I didn’t even realize that I was bending over backwards to the whims or someone else until about six months later when I woke up for the 12th night in a row from having night sweats, stress dreams, constantly thinking about the verbally sharp, pointed at me emails that were going to greet me in the morning. I was just trying to get through the day in a way to not upset them, just try and get things done for customers and walk away without too many scars from the day. I hoped that I could just have one night where I slept well, through the entire night and could wake up refreshed.
I wish that I would have realized that I could, and was, doing every possible thing to make that person happy, but the real issue was that they weren’t happy with their own circumstances and felt a sense of purpose in making someone else feeling small.
It seems so obvious what was going on, but at the time it really felt like I wasn’t enough, I was doing every single thing wrong (even down to the way I wrote my name), and I bent over whichever way I needed to in order to just do my job . I wanted to fit in. I wanted to get through this “phase” and be able to sleep, focus, breathe, not have anxiety and be able to look forward to waking up.
My focus was to fix whatever I was doing wrong, which I am thankful that I did because it was really important for me to realize that I was doing everything I could and it still wasn’t enough, and then see if the situation was less. I can write a million “I wish…” statements but I’d never been in the situation before so I realize now that I had to go through that situation in order to realize that sometimes people aren’t comfortable with your own growth and desire to become the best that you can be, because they have stopped their own growth. I thought that it was my issue to walk in because I felt like I was the issue, but I realized that after doing every single thing they wanted, no questions, no pointing out hypocrisies, just doing it, that they still weren’t satisfied.
You truly cannot win in that sort of a situation, no matter HOW HARD you try to fix it. Thing is though, that sometimes people don’t want the situation to be fixed and that does not mean that you should continue to shrink in order for them to feel big. If the situation calls for you to not be who you are and stop growing, you need to realize that this is no longer about you, it’s about them and no matter what you do, because you should keep your head up and smile, you are not the issue and until they address the incredible issue that is making them so uncomfortable that they lash out, nothing will be resolved.
Today I can tell you that not only have I grown since this situation, I’m exploded. I’ve poured my energy into learning, diving into new things because I realized what you can become when you chose to stop growing. I’ve chosen people to be in my life that encourage this. I’m sure that at some point in my life I’m going to encounter the same type of person I was dealing with, but this time I know to first make sure I’m not the issue and then refuse to shrink for someone else’s comfort.
I know that we can never fully know what is going on in someone else’s life, but if you are where I was last year, please know that you will never regret continuing to grow, take the high road and do your absolute best, even if that is met with resistance and a little bit of bullying. Don’t you dare shrink yourself for someone else’s comfort.