In life many people strive for perfection. There is an image of perfection that seems completely unobtainable. Guess what. It is unobtainable.
I am now a mom of three under five, in my thirties, and there are just so many damns I no longer give.
Damn not given #1: Toxic relationships
Growing up, I was a kid who craved close relationships. I lived far away from any extended family and my only sibling is significantly developmentally disabled. Any form of a close relationship was something I desired and held onto. This transferred negatively into my adult life. When close relationships were established, it was impossible for me to let them go.
Understanding that sacrificing my own happiness for the benefit of others is not an appropriate way to live a life was a hard lesson to learn. Wasting time and energy on people who attempt to suck you dry is asinine. If maintaining a relationship causes problems for you emotionally, spiritually, or otherwise, damn them.
Damn not given #2: Establishing new relationships
During both high school and college I strived to gain friendships. I didn’t consider myself a successful person if I wasn’t receiving multiple social invitations to occupy my time.
In my now semi-adult life, I have come to the realization that when it comes to friendships it is all about quality over quantity. My close friends at this point of my life are minimal. I can count on two hands the number of people with whom I actually pursue consistent relationships. Those who have found themselves in my inner circle should consider themselves lucky. I have specifically sought them out as people who not only deserve my friendship but also deserve my effort.
Damn not given #3: Neglecting my health
“I’m a mom and I don’t have time for that” was my mantra in regards to healthy eating and fitness. My fatigue and weight escalated at a rate that was shocking. I no longer recognized my body and did not want to acknowledge that this body was my new reality.
I’m one of those women who have an obnoxiously supportive spouse. The kind of man who tells you that I have “earned” my tummy and my extra weight. He tells me I am beautiful in all situations, even when I feel I’m at my worst. At no point did I feel pressured to change any part of myself for someone else.
I’m changing myself for me. I’m working at regaining my physical confidence because I want to. I want to feel strong. I want to be healthy.
Damn not given #4: Looking for recognition
Total type A personality over here. I want everything to be right, I want to be the best, and dammit, I want people to notice.
Giving up the idea of being an exceptional performer for the achievement of some sort of recognition was a hard one. I’m used to being the best at what I do and being told that too. This particular damn was lost after my first negative job review. I walked out of the review shattered. I felt that my effort and sacrifices for my job had been a waste. It was difficult for me to put in any form of extra effort or have a positive outlook on my chosen profession.
Then I gave up giving a damn. I’m not in my career for the recognition. I work because I am passionate about my job and those I help through my work. Working for the pure enjoyment and satisfaction of it has been liberating.
Damn not given #5: Professional development
Climbing the career ladder and gaining promotions has always been the standard goal of employment. Being happy in a current job role is often referred to as “settling.”
Forget that. At no point do I feel I have settled. I love what I do and advancing my role in any way would change a job that I truly enjoy. This is not settling; it’s happiness.
Damn not given # 6: Parental approval
Like most people, I have looked to my parents for approval on almost all aspects of my life. I’ve changed decisions and made choices based on what would make them happy. This has led to me feeling I had to hide parts of who I am in order to protect some perfect picture of me I believed my parents wanted to see.
Now as a parent, I have taken on a different view. I no longer try to rationalize or justify my decisions to my parents. This has allowed me to feel more like my genuine self when talking with them and has strengthened our relationship.
Damn not given # 7: The approval of others
This is the best damn of all damns to give up. Pandering to the sensitivities and opinions of others can be exhausting. There’s enough going on in my life now to make me tired. I don’t need the additional strain of trying to ensure everyone approves of the way I live my life, the way I raise my children, or the way I do anything at any time.
Finding yourself working so hard not to offend others with your personal beliefs and opinions is ridiculous. Everyone has the right to follow their own path. I don’t expect others to bend their beliefs to align with mine, and I will not cater to others at the expense of my own ethical stance. If you have any questions, refer to Damns Not Given #1-6.
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