Growing up as a pastor’s child, I had what I would call an “interesting” childhood. Right from childhood, I knew I had to live up to being “The GOs only daughter“. The bar was already set much higher than it needed to be because of the family I was born into (I love them btw). The bar was set so high, that I spent my childhood, teenage and early adult years trying to reach it. Everyone expected something from me and I couldn’t disappoint.
I didn’t get to do normal teenage things because “people would talk“. I couldn’t be anything less than brilliant at school, and ultimately I had to be the epitome of all that was good and calm. So, I lived by these unspoken rules laid out for me by the men and women I met at church, at school and anywhere in between. I grew up feeling as if I had the expectations of the world on my shoulders. I lived in a glass house and didn’t get to make mistakes.
I grew up the one people came to for advice (I enjoyed this though; a little too much I think lol!). For some reason, everyone assumed I was always good and as per pastor’s daughter, I was a “mini pastor”. I became a pro at hiding how I felt. I learnt to swallow all my emotions, my anger, hurt, confusion, etc. I swallowed it all. At the end of the day, I ended up knowing everyone, looking out for everyone, but being alone.
So many people carry the weight of expectations on them and end up alone because of it.
There is nothing wrong with being a role model, or being there for people, but like everything in life, there needs to be a balance. Many people never have the chance to develop this balance. They spend all their lives living up to expectation and being strong for others, while they silently suffer. I hurt when I come across people like that because I have first-hand experience of how lonely and hurtful that life can be.
The truth is, I haven’t quite figured out how to balance living my life and being there for everyone. I still take on more than I should and get consumed by people and their emotions and I still internalize a lot. However, I have learnt some things along the way.
I have learnt that we are not perfect people and we need to be kind to ourselves. I have learnt that you can only truly love others when you love yourself. I have learnt that beating yourself up for not living up to “standards” isn’t healthy. It can make you see yourself as not good enough. You are. Most importantly, I have learnt that you cannot give when you are empty. Any help or advice you give when you are weak and empty is never a hundred percent.
At the end of the day, there is nothing wrong with being the person who is always “there” for people. There is also nothing wrong with living up to certain standards. However, while you give yourself to others and while you live up to “standards“, remember that you too are human and the same kindness you extend to others you should extend to yourself.
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