I was talking to a friend today who is learning to set healthy boundaries, and he said something that hit home.
"People who accept me because of what I do for them will probably reject me when I become my genuine self. And that's scary."
People who accept me because of what I do for them. I feel so seen. Growing up, I was taught that being nice and agreeable is the best way to succeed. I think, for a long time, I was known as simply 'Oh Madi, she's nice.' When nice is the first word that describes you, it's probably because you lack other, spicier, personality-filled words to be described with.
I have been a good mirror for most of my life. Able to pinpoint others personalities and reflect them back through myself. Not even knowing what my real personality was beneath it all. And I gave, and gave, and gave, because I knew no other way to be accepted.
I've been doing a lot of work on myself in the last year, and my Austin friends are already different. They give! They give their time, their affection, their encouragement. And to be honest, it makes me uncomfortable. I feel like I don't deserve it, that one day they are going to wake up and realize how unworthy I am of their giving, and they'll leave.
But they're not leaving. And the more I grow and become healthier, the more warm and affectionate friends I'll attract into my life. With each month, I become more comfortable with being cared for by others.
I also still have some people in my life who accept me because of what I give. I'm super scared to ask for an equal investment in return, or to show aspects of my true personality that may freak them out. But that which can be destroyed by the truth, should be. And when I'm ready, I'll lose some people, and be better for it.