I’m Monica. Wait, what?

I’m a huge fan of the show Friends. It’s a show that never gets old to me. I’ve seen every episode multiple times and yet if I’m flipping through the channels and come across it, I almost always stop and watch. Sometimes I even find myself wishing I could be in the show. I mean, who doesn’t want 5 friends who will have your back no matter what? Plus they have so much fun together. But if I’m being entirely honest, I do like some of the friends more than others.

Like, for instance, Monica is probably my least favorite of the friends. All you Monica fans out there, please hold back on throwing tomatoes until you hear me out. For some reason, Monica has always kind of gotten on my nerves. And the other day I finally figured out why.

It’s because I’m Monica.

Okay, okay, not totally. First, we look nothing alike. Second, I’m not a clean freak like her. But we do have one huge thing in common. We are both people pleasers to a fault.

people pleaser

I’ve struggled with this desire to please people my entire life. I hate when people don’t like me. And because of this, I’ve sometimes felt like a chameleon – changing to fit my environment. Often, I’ve been afraid to speak my mind, have my own opinion.

I think it started because I was raised in a divorced family. At an early age, I learned that talking bad about the other parent earned me brownie points, not scolding. As I got older I would even feel guilty for thinking good thoughts about one parent while at the other parents’ house. I learned to keep these thoughts to myself and only share the negative ones.

This behavior followed me into other areas of my life. I would stretch and bend, even break, to fit in. And somewhere along the way I lost myself.

It wasn’t until I reached adulthood that I finally started to discover who I was. It was when I had a revelation of how Christ saw me. I saw that he had designed me and created in a unique and special way. And I realized that I had total freedom in Him to be who I was. Not who I thought others needed me to be.

The person He used to teach me this was my husband.

andrewandi

From the beginning of our relationship, Andrew seemed to like me for me. And slowly, my true self begin to emerge more and more. I would carefully share my opinions. The ones I never would’ve dared to utter to anyone else. And he didn’t judge me for it. Pretty soon, I found a freedom I’d never experienced before. I had finally found someone I could be myself  with – faults, craziness and all.

And it was okay.

Eventually that began to bleed into other areas of my life. The more I learned it was okay to be myself, the more I continued to do it. I started to discover who I really was and I liked her, even when other people didn’t. It’s been a journey for me. One that has oftentimes been painful. And I still find myself reverting back to my people pleaser ways at times. There are certain people in my life that can bring it out easier than others. And in new social situations I find it harder to reign it in as well. But I’m growing and maturing. And isn’t that all any of us can do?

However, this issue of pleasing people is one I think about a lot while writing. In so many romances I read, girls are finding their self-worth in relationships and dating. I know I said that Andrew helped me find myself, but let me make one thing very clear. I didn’t find my self-worth in the fact that he wanted to be with me. He just allowed me to be who I was and thrive on my own. I don’t need him to “complete me.” He enhances my life – but he isn’t my life. I choose to be with him – I don’t have to be with him. Do you see the difference?

In my books, I hope this is portrayed. I want the couples to compliment one another. To help each other grow and change. But I never want the relationships to be needy or desperate, co-dependent. That’s not true love.

In all of us there is a desire to be liked, to be accepted. But I truly believe that in order for people to like and accept you, you have to learn to like and accept yourself. I know that’s easier said than done. Trust me.

But I believe in you.

You are special. You are unique. You have something amazing to offer this world.

And you don’t have to prove it to anyone. You have a creator who already knows it, and He loves you unconditionally.

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