Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Empowered Woman - Kim DuBois

When I was young, I accidentally and irreparably offended a good friend of mine. She was a beautiful girl with flowing black hair and a gorgeous smile. A group of us were sitting around goofing off one day, when she happened to make a funny face.

“Oh my gosh!” I exclaimed. “That was so cute… when you did that, your face went almost flat!”

Again I thought this girl was amazingly beautiful, and this was no insult. Rather I was simply being honest, commenting on what I’d observed.

We’d been friends about 2 years, but after that she refused to speak to me. Sadly, in our last remaining year of high school, we never spoke again. Apparently when she was little, several kids had teased her about her ‘flat face’ and was quite sensitive about it. But how was I to know? And now everyone was upset. They weren’t mad at her for acting so irrationally over one innocent comment, they were mad at me because I hurt her feelings. Because I’d made her feel ugly and had damaged her self esteem.

I learned 2 things coming away from this experience. First was that regardless of my intentions, I am responsible for everyone else’s feelings. Even though I have no way of knowing what may trigger you, It’s my responsibility to anticipate and protect you.

Secondly I learned that I have no value as a friend unless I make those around me happy. That it’s my job to make them to feel good about themselves, in spite of how it makes me feel about me.

With this in mind, I grew to adulthood under a blanket of anxiety and worry, trying to bend and mold myself into what I thought others needed me to be. I censured every word I spoke, making sure none of my ‘opinions’ were going to upset those around me. When asked a question, at times I was much more likely to give the answer I thought they wanted to hear than the one that was my truth.

It was a confusing and defeated place to be, and it would be 20 years before I finally began to question the crushing weight of that responsibility. Now I hope you begin to question it too.
You are not responsible for anyone else’s feelings or happiness in this life, only your own. Coming to understand this is the single most empowering belief I could hope to give you. No one can make another feel something, good or bad, unless they are willing to feel it. Period.

Obviously my friend was already self conscious about her features, but rather than owning her insecurities, she projected them onto me. If I’d said, “Oh my gosh, you looked 7 feet tall!” she would never have cared. Rather than just speaking her own truth and telling me how she felt, she left it to me to guess at what she needed to make her feel better. Looks like I never got it right.

As impossible a place as it is to be, many of us are too willing to be here. Especially women. We seem to learn very early that the adults around us can only be happy if we behave, sit still, be quiet, look pretty, are polite, get good grades, marry the right man, keep a nice home… etc. And once we’ve done all that, then our mothers, husbands and family can finally be happy because we’ve done what they needed us to do.

But this burden will kill you. It will trample down any spark of individuality or sense of self you once possessed and instead turn you into nothing more than a piece of guilt ridden clay, shaping yourself in vain to be what someone else wants you to be.

Free your self.

The next time someone is upset and ‘needs’ you to behave differently so they can feel good again, remember this; Happiness is a choice. In any given moment that person has the ability to make that choice, regardless of what you do. They can choose to be happy, or they can choose to be sad, but it is up to them to choose it, and you are not responsible for their choice.
Do not take this on. Let others bear the burden of their own emotional health. Allow them to state their own needs then find a way to meet them. And then you do the same.
If you always need me to make you happy, you’ll always be searching. But if your happiness comes from inside, it’s something no one can ever take away.

About Kim;

Kim feels it is her highest purpose to uplift, inspire and enrich peoples lives by helping them heal, let go and move forward in a healthy and positive way.

It is her sincere passion to share ideas, thoughts and beliefs utilizing avenues such as the written word and public speaking, as well as through personal contact in a private or even group setting.

She believes the mind, body and spirit are inseparably and perfectly connected, and to find true and lasting happiness we must strive to find balance within all three.

Check out Kim's web site at;

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