Because I Want To

I’ve been reading this book lately called No More Mr. Nice Guy. It’s a book by Dr. Robert Glover and it’s for “nice guys” who find themselves stuck in a mindset that prevents them from living fulfilled and rich lives. So far, this book has been like a Mike-Tyson-in-his-prime punch to my gut. I couldn’t have imagined how accurately and easily the author would have pointed out every aspect of my “nice guy” personality and tore them apart to reveal the damaging and toxic habits that I practice. Some that I frequently acknowledge and others that I didn’t even know about. The crux of the nice guy’s issues comes from the belief that:

“If I can hide my flaws and become what I think others want me to be, then I will be loved, get my needs met, and have a problem-free life.”

I’ve only gotten through half of the book, but I’ve already started making small changes to the way I deal with life and relationships. I’ve begun to (honestly) express myself more and take more initiative to go get what I want out of life. One scenario in particular gave me the opportunity to do both of these things.

I’ve written before about my relationship with the Male Choir. I was happy to be a part of a group of men singing for God, but after a year and a half, I didn’t feel that excitement anymore. I wasn’t fulfilled. I felt like I was being held back. But I stayed. I felt like I had a responsibility to stay even though I didn’t feel happy. In fact, I actively ignored my responsibility to make myself happy. I had a responsibility to stay because I should be able to endure for God. I was too important to just quit the choir and leave them with one less soloist and first-tenor. I would get judged if I quit. I didn’t want to deal with the possible embarrassment/awkwardness. If avoiding conflict like this meant lying to myself and to others about my feelings about the choir, then I was fine with that. I continued living a pretend life feeling trapped in a cage of my own design.

Then, yesterday, I quit the choir. I did it. I formulated a script for me to follow and practiced it (no lie). I called up my director and told him that I had decided to not be a part of the choir anymore. I didn’t dance around it. I didn’t tell him that I needed to take a break or that I was way too busy to be active anymore. I told him that my season with the choir was over. I was literally sweating and felt so bad while I said it. I immediately wanted to take it back. But I didn’t. I could hear the shock and disappointment in his silence, but I didn’t change course. He asked me if there was anything wrong or if someone that happened with the choir  made me decide to quit. I told him that nothing was wrong and that everyone in the choir has been great to me, but that this was the best decision for me.

…the best decision for me.

I can’t remember the last time I’ve said that to someone who I knew would be negatively affected by my decision. As stupid as it sounds, I often ignore my own desires in lieu of the desires of others. The moment I heard myself say that, I felt good. I felt free. Granted, right after that, I went back to feeling guilty for quitting, but that was enough to convince me that adding “because I want to” to my lexicon is okay. Looking out for my own interests and desires is okay. Being responsible for my own happiness is okay.