There is still a little girl in me who doesn’t want to face anger and disapproval, who will consider not doing something she wants to do, or doing something she doesn’t want to do, if it means avoiding criticism or unpleasantness or even disappointing another person.
There is also a big girl in me who doesn’t let the little girl get away with that, who doesn’t set her choices and convictions aside, even when doing so might help her dodge a browbeating or the negative judgment of others.
It’s so much easier, in the short run, just to go along with things and people. There is less conflict; others get what they want, so they think the little girl is just as she ought to be. She in turn is relieved not to stand up for herself. No one is giving her any grief, so she doesn’t have to.
In the long run, though I might retrain myself to cooperate with hopes or expectations that please others but are not mine, it’s myself I have to live with. It’s my own counsel I need to keep, often even after considering the perspectives of others. It’s my own sense of right and wrong, of natural and unnatural, of desired and undesired, that it is up to me to be aware of. I am every bit as important as the person standing beside me, and my inclinations deserve to be respected just as much … even if I’m the only one who believes that.
Simple acquiescence is less difficult, but it can leave you feeling weak if you do it too often. Perhaps the approval of others is worth it. After all, who wants to be seen as stubborn, selfish or self-serving, immature, fearful, and so on — there are many common labels pasted on those who insist on being their own director. Sometimes these labels are correct, too; they shouldn’t be dismissed without honest consideration. Even so, it’s the task of each individual to decide what’s true and what’s important, and whether to strive for the same things as others or pursue one’s own goals.