Overcoming Life’s Circumstances to Live the Life of Your Dreams – Guest Blog By Paulina Johnson
One certainty of life is that you can’t choose the parents you’re born of or the circumstances you’re born into. As you grow and learn, you will find yourself faced with many obstacles, some you know how to handle, and others you are not so sure of. You find yourself living in the Merry-Go-Round of your life choices. There are times you feel so off course from the original plan of your life, that you feel helpless, worthless, and clueless. This is what I experienced when I began to accept how truly unhappy I was with the circumstances of my life. Initially, I felt lonely and out of faith. When I begin to dig into my feelings, through journaling my thoughts, I realized what I was experiencing was an awakening. I was awakening into the woman Paulina. I begin to recognize and remove the negative patterns I established in my life.
First pattern, I was a people pleaser. I spent an enormous amount of time and energy to ‘get’ others to approve of me. It was hard for me to recognize this pattern because I was a people pleaser to only a certain sect of people, those whom I felt were an authority figure in my life. Teachers, Bosses, Pastors, and Husbands. This behavior was nurtured and developed by being raised by parents who were unable to show love or approval because they didn’t receive these things while growing up. They seemed to be troubled by my very existence on Earth. I was told by both my mother and father that their life went downhill when they became parents to my siblings and I. They resented the responsibility that came along with parenting, while I determined to change their feelings towards me by being a ‘good daughter’. My efforts didn’t change much. My parents just couldn’t give me what they didn’t have. I found myself being swayed in various directions because I received the love and approval I lacked from my parents from other authority figures. This was helpful and harmful to me. Some of these authority figures in my life were wonderful mentors, confidants, and friends. Others abused their power and I found myself immersed in a number of horrible situations because I chose to please that person and yield to their advice.
Second pattern. I wanted to help everyone. Now let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with helping others, but the balance comes with knowing whom you are to help and when. I would give my time, resources, and finances to help someone. I would sacrifice to the point of foolishness to help someone out of a bind. I would then harbor resentment because ‘no one was there for me when I needed help’. My new understanding is to extend help to others when it doesn’t cause me to re-order my life to offer the help.
Third pattern, I was afraid of failure. Oh, this was a big one for me. I was so afraid of failing that I only focused on pursuits that I knew I could make success with. Achievement, was my co-dependency. This came from receiving so much negative feedback from others for becoming a teenage mother at the age of sixteen. I was so impressionable as a teenager. Very few, I mean very few, people encouraged me to pursue the goals I set for my life. Most people told me I had ruined my life by becoming a mother. I isolated myself from people out of fear of judgement. I developed a nervous condition and couldn’t sleep most nights because I worried constantly about my future.
After taking inventory of where I was in my life, I realized that the people-pleasing, helpful to a fault, and fearful Paulina was the one that was unhappy. She was the one who was ruled by her emotions and hiding behind the shame of her past. I was exhausted from taking care of everyone but myself. It was then I realized that I had a decision to make, continue in the pattern of negative behavior in my life, or change my mind so I could change my life to live the life of my dreams. I chose the latter. I made a choice to change my thinking and surround myself by others who genuinely cared for me.
I stopped investing in others who had no interest in investing in me. Most importantly, I stopped apologizing for being Paulina. I accepted that some people may like me, and others may not, but hey, Paulina is still number 1 in my world.
I would encourage anyone not to become discouraged when asking themselves, ‘why do I keep ending up here’, but to take that opportunity to recognize and remove the negative patterns they have established in their lives. It is then and only then will they overcome life’s circumstances to live the life of their dreams.
Paulina Johnson currently resides in Novi, Michigan. She is a native of Gary, Indiana.