“For as long as you can remember, you have been a pleaser, depending on others to give you an identity. You need not look at that only in a negative way. You wanted to give your heart to others, and you did so quickly and easily. But now you are being asked to let go of all these self-made props and trust that God is enough for you. You must stop being a pleaser and reclaim your identity as a free self.” –Henri Nouwen
This has always been one of my absolute favorite quotes. I come from a long line of pleasers and helpers. And, naturally have tried fighting it for most of my life.
My mom is the utmost champion of pleasers. She was home with my sister and I for all of my life, and as any great mother does- she devoted herself to taking care of us. But once we were grown and flew the coop, she was left with herself and empty nest. Now what? I can remember her telling me once that she had spent so much time taking care of everyone else, that now it was her turn to get to know herself again. To become herself again.
As pleasers, it's so easy to wrap up our entire identity in those we love. It's the worst part of being a pleaser. Because what happens when the ones we have invested so much energy in let us down?
Or what happens when you realize that when all is said and done, it's just you. No one left to hide behind, and you have to reinvent your identity based on yourself and not someone else.
I love the part of the quote where he says not to look at it negatively. To give your heart to others quickly and easily is as pure an action as it comes. I think the key is to not GIVE your heart away.
You have to keep your heart for yourself, and share it with others at the same time.
It took me a long time to realize that I wasn't doing anyone any favors by giving them my entire self. When you give away your whole self, you leave no room for growth. How much better of a partner, daughter, and friend could I be if my heart belonged to me.
How much stronger would my relationships be if i shared who my heart is, instead of giving it away entirely?