Why Do I Keep Allowing the Wrong People into My Life?

Have you ever asked yourself why you “keep attracting the wrong people into your life”? Or why you do not attract the right people? Or why you are not attracting anyone at all? Or why you keep attracting wrong circumstances?…

I have. Last time I received an indecent proposal, I was dumbstruck: “Why on earth would anyone think of offering that to ME??? Can’t they see that I am not the kind of a person who would say “yes” to that??? Don’t they know what kind of a person I am???”

Guess what – they really didn’t! And how would they? Even I didn’t know for the longest time, and when I got an idea several years ago, I made sure to keep “the secret” to myself…

I was born in the Soviet Union and raised in Russia, and I heard the “What-are-people-going-to-say” mantra almost every day. Everywhere I looked, people were trying very hard to create an appearance of a “normal, happy family,” regardless of what was happening behind the closed doors. Everyone was playing some kind of a role in public.

In K-12 I was terrified of my moody and unpredictable teachers who couldn’t stand any “trouble-makers” (which meant “anyone different”), and being “a good girl” seemed to be the only way to survive, so I was.

College years came with the promise of freedom: I was allowed to be me, I was seen, accepted and loved just the way I was, but only by friends.

The university professors still wanted everyone to be the same and favored good girls, and so I was.

Several years after graduation, I got married to an American man. And surprise! – He didn’t want any “trouble-makers” either! So I did all the right things – earned another Master’s degree, worked multiple part-time jobs, looked for a full-time job, cooked, walked the dog, watched sitcoms and the news with my husband, went out with him on birthdays and exchanged presents on holidays. For ten years, I was the wife he wanted to have.

Every once in a while, I got thoughts that that was not the way I had wanted to live. It was not the life I had been dreaming about as a little girl and that was not the lifestyle I would choose for myself, but being the same “good girl,” I pushed those thoughts deep, deep down, not wanting to “rock the boat,” to be “ungrateful” or to “cause any trouble.”

When, ten years later, to my husband’s big and my even bigger surprise, that marriage ended up in smoke, my husband told me that I “flipped overnight.” My response was, “I woke up.”

Despite my strong conscious desire to continue with my lifestyle and my marriage, something in me couldn’t do it anymore, the cage doors flew open, and I was not going back in.

When, for the first time in my life, I found myself on my own in a newly rented apartment, there was no one to please and no one to take care of. Except for me.

The first time I felt hungry, I headed to the kitchen, habitually asking myself, “What should I cook today?” and stopped half-way in astonishment, realizing that for the first time in my life, I didn’t have an answer to that question.

My ex-husband was on a heart diet after his two heart attacks, so I made sure to follow his doctor’s orders while selecting recipes. I even took an online class on low-fat cooking to learn how to cook delicious healthy meals for him. Now with his being out of the picture, I was completely clueless about what to cook.

In my mind I went through the meals that he used to like and realized that I never enjoyed them. I didn’t want to prepare any Russian meals I used to cook before my marriage either because in the ten years I didn’t make them, I lost taste for them.

Shocked, I sat down at the kitchen table, becoming aware that it wasn’t just about food – I did not know ANYTHING about myself – what I liked to wear, where I liked to go,  what I liked to do, what music I liked to listen to, what TV shows I like to watch, how I liked to spend my days….. – all of that had been dictated by my ex-husband’s preferences and I really did not know who I was or what I was about…

The following two years were spent on becoming reacquainted with myself…

Gradually, I began remembering what I knew as a child – what mattered to me and what didn’t, what made me happy and what made me feel uncomfortable, what I preferred in life and what I could do without. However, I continued to play the same “good girl” role while among people, being nice to everyone, never sharing my opinions on anything, always agreeing with everyone and just continuing with being as pleasing as possible.

So, when every now and then people offered me something that I found inappropriate or just plain boring, I always wondered, “Why are they bothering me with that? What’s their problem? Can’t they tell I wouldn’t be interested in that?”

Then I realized that it was not THEIR problem; it was MY problem. When we are not living authentic lives, when we do not know who we are and what we like, or when we are not communicating it clearly to others, they make assumptions based on the roles we choose to play and the masks we choose to wear.

Whether we are trying to impress our date or employer, or whether we are trying not to upset a spouse, parent, boss or child; whether we choose not to express ourselves intentionally or out of habit, without even being aware of it, we always “attract” the right people and circumstances that fit perfectly the way we currently show up in the world.

One of my biggest latest lessons was that if I want to “attract” the right people, the right situations, the right spouse, the right job, the right ANYTHING into my life; if I want to be truly seen and appreciated by others, I need to allow them to see me! Mind-blowing, I know!

I need to stop being afraid that someone might not like the real me, that I might upset someone, that someone might criticize me and hurt my feelings; I need to stop caring about any of that and just be.

When we do that, we lose some “friends” who conclude that we’ve “lost our mind” or “flipped overnight,” but can you find at least one reason to want to keep such “friends?”

The advantage of living an authentic life and being true to yourself is that people of “your tribe” finally get a chance to find you. You begin “attracting” the right people and the right circumstances into your life because “as within so without” (Hermes Trismegistus) and life around you always matches and reflects the life inside you.

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Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash

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