Why do you agree to everything that people have to say; don’t you feel, sometimes they are wrong?” I questioned.

My best friend Binny found it hard to hide things from me, “I just can’t make people angry” she replied.

“So you scared of people?” I stressed

“I am scared of their anger”.

“Scared of anger? But why?” her words certainly puzzled me.

“Anger horrifies me. It makes me feel weak. I can’t face an enraged person.”

 “But there should be some reason for this Binny.” 

“It was the childhood trauma I endured. You know I lived with my stepmother. She was an extremely harsh lady who could not handle her frustrations very well. Whenever she lost her temper, I would be the victim of her aggression. It was physical and mental abuse that I went through. And it was so difficult to know, what would drive her crazy. I would do all the possible things to make her happy and avoid disturbing her. But even after not being the reason for her violent rage, I would be an easy target of her outburst.

So I avoid irritating people because it exposes my wounds. So whenever I realize that someone is about to get annoyed, I prefer to escape it. And I say and start doing things which will please that person, even if it is against my wishes and even if it lands me in trouble. The dread of anger is deep-rooted in me. I just don’t want to disturb or upset anyone.

And you know what I am ok with it. I don’t mind putting myself down to keep the other person happy. I just don’t want to face their wrath.

I am also scared that people will shun me if I go against them. They will make me feel like an outcast. They will criticize, insult and tease me and will not include me in their group.  Hence I change according to the person in front of me. I can easily mold myself, in the way they want to see me.”

I felt sorry for Binny, “But that’s not right Binny, isn’t it.” I would always try to explain but Binny found it hard to change herself. And for many years, she struggled with the difficult task to agree to whatever other people had to say and to make everyone happy.

Days passed, years went by and Binny remained the same……

It was a long time since I had seen Binny. The pandemic had stopped all meetings with friends and dear ones. I called up Binny and we decided we should catch up for lunch. I was delighted to see her after a very long time. We were so engaged in discussing our stories just then Binny got a call from one of her acquaintances. The person was requesting Binny for a favour; But she politely refused. I was shocked to hear Binny saying no, a word she never knew about. I asked her how all this happened, how did she learn to say no.

Binny smiled, “I always lived a life which was not my true life. It was something fake. I always hid myself and my feelings. And people did not know the real me.

I realized that these people whom I tried to please actually never wanted to understand me, and I was wasting my precious time on them. They just needed me, so I could entertain them and agree to whatever they had to say. Otherwise, I was of no real value to them. I got to know about this after a very long time. And however hard I tried to gratify them; in the end they actually never loved me. And even never bothered to help me in times of trouble. There was nothing special that they ever did for me.

I also realized if someone is furious or upset, it is not because of me and there is no need for me to get worried about their behavior. It is something that they have to worry about.

If people are not caring about my feelings and about me, I should not bother about it as there is actually no need of any appreciation from them.

So instead of waiting for people to make me happy, I found that it is my duty to make myself happy first. I learnt to love and respect myself. I focused more on my hobbies, on my health; and tried to devote time on things that I loved doing as a child.

I then decided to focus on my work. I slogged hard to become financially strong. Only after that, I became confident of unmasking the real me. I did not fear what other people thought of me. It was my hard work that made me feel that there was no need to conceal myself. I needed to be honest and show my true feelings. And I certainly did not need to please anyone. Those who are my true friends will always remain loyal to me, no matter if I agree with them on certain things or not. They won’t mind me saying a big no to them”… Binny went on and on unfolding the things life had taught her.

We enjoyed our lunch together. I was indeed extremely happy for Binny. The girl who carried the heavy mammoth on her shoulders all the time had finally let it go, freeing herself from the heavy burden.

image credit: hybrid-unsplash

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