I come from a place of yes.
In high school, awards were handed out at the end of the school year. I was awarded the title of "Little Miss Negotiable". I was constantly trading my exciting lunches for things I didn't even want. "I'll swap you your pasta salad, for this apple", my friend would tell me. "OK", I would respond. And I'd end up with something I never wanted to begin with.
I say yes to everything. My most common response to things, is "yes, no problem" - but is it really "no problem"?
It's imperative that we know what we want, however constantly seeking approval from others is something that can be a dangerous thing. The only approval we need is that from ourselves and needing the validation of others is not something that should be high on our list of priorities. So why do we do it?
A fear of rejection is the crux of the problem, but are we really only rejecting ourselves?
It all comes down to the way other people make us feel, and generally speaking, when we make someone else happy, we mistake their feelings for our own.
I'm a hopeless romantic, and my favourite movie is "The Notebook", with the most memorable quote being this one:
"Stop thinking about what I want, what he wants, what your parents want. What do YOU want?"
― Nicholas Sparks
What do I want? What do any of us want? We are conditioned to try and make everyone else happy, never stopping to think what its going to take to make us truly happy. Distracting ourselves relentlessly with other pursuits attempting to drown out what it is our inner voice is trying to tell us.
Happiness is my ultimate goal, and no doubt everyone else's too, but searching for this elusive happiness shouldn't come in the form of seeking approval from anyone else except ourselves. And in the process of seeking out this approval we can at times become so desperate for the temporary high of approval and feeling worthwhile that we put our own needs on the back burner, either by allowing people to take advantage of us, or by dismissing our own needs as a human being.
Nor should we look to our parents for what it is that is expected from us. Often times our parents only know what has worked for them, and that's the only advice they can offer you. Find a partner, settle down, have kids, buy a family car, save up and go to on a family holiday once the kids are a little older, watch your kids get married, travel once they have left the house, retire, and then you die. But is that really how your life is meant to go? It's almost a little unimaginative to think that that's all there is, and a book-read answer to how your life is "meant" to play out. What do you REALLY want out of this life?
Think about what it is that truly makes you happy, rather than what expectations your family and friends have for you. More often than not, people are only projecting what they want for themselves. We are all inherently selfish creatures. Who says you need to work 9-5? Who says you need to get married? Who says you need to have kids? Are you any less of a person if you deviate from the well-worn path?
Listen to your heart, and follow what it is that its trying to tell you, and don't be forced into living a life less ordinary by people who are too afraid to follow their own dreams. When you say yes to others, make sure you are not saying no yourself.