For some reason or other, we can tend to deny ourselves the things we want in life. And we can tend to sabotage our best chances of seeing those dreams come to fruition.
One of my mother’s and my favorite movies is Something Borrowed. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. It’s based on a novel by the same name—though I liked the film better (a first for me). The film follows the story of two lifelong best friends. One, Darcy, is outgoing, bubbly, and flirty. The other, Rachel, is mousy, studious, and lacking confidence. Maybe the contrast between the two of them is too stereotypical, but it paints a picture we all see growing up.
The gist of the story is that Rachel befriends a fellow (and very cute) law school student. There are clearly feelings there (between both of them). As they near graduation, Dex asks Rachel out to celebrate. Rachel’s lack of self-confidence causes her not to realize he clearly intends it to be a date, and when Darcy shows up (flirty as ever), she completely self-implodes. She ends up making an excuse to go home early, leaving a confused Dex to hang out with Darcy.
Flash forward a few years: Darcy and Dex are engaged, and Rachel passively helps Darcy plan her wedding. Once Darcy was added to the equation, Rachel thought she couldn’t compete and, thus, removed herself from the situation instead of fighting for what she wanted.
No one would really be that much of a pushover, right? Well, I’ve seen it in my own life, and my mother recently called to tell me about witnessing a Something Borrowed situation in real life. She had watched a young coworker fall into the same trap, encouraging another girl to go out with a guy she clearly liked.
Why do we do this to ourselves? I think we get scared when our dreams actually seem within reach, and so when competition appears, we practically hand our dreams over. It’s like we’re saying, “Oh, right. I knew this was too good to be true. Here you go.”
And this doesn’t have to be about a guy. We can do this with career goals, in friendships, and in all aspects of our lives.
If you want something in life, you have to know that you deserve it. You have to ask for it. You have to pursue it. It will most likely not be handed to you. You have to fight for it.
You’re not a bad person if you speak up. If you want a chance to work on a dream project at work, but it’s been given to someone else, it doesn’t hurt to ask to join or to ask for a similar project in the future. If someone else develops feelings for the person you have feelings for, you’re not wrong to be honest with the other girl and pursue those feelings.
Unfortunately, sometimes when we want something, it means someone else won’t get it. A promotion. A contest. A romantic interest.
If you’re anything like me, winning any one of those things—particularly if you know the others competing with you—can cause massive amounts of guilt. But you know what? Don’t feel guilty. Those competitors will win other competitions that you won’t. They will see other dreams and goals accomplished—if they fight for them.
Worry about your own goals. Fight for what you want—because no one else will. People cannot read your mind. Not your boss. Not your boyfriend. Not your friends. Not your crush. You have to speak up and state clearly:
This is how I feel.
This is what I want.
If you’re too afraid to speak up and be honest about what you want, you may wake up in a few years planning a wedding for someone else. One that could have been yours.
Don’t leave the dinner early. Stay and fight.