I’ve never been much of a people-pleaser. From an early age, I pretty much did my own thing.

“Hate it or love it” has always been this Brooklyn girl’s motto.

I think a lifetime of trying to please everyone you care about is exhausting. I’ve never been interested.

But in recent years, I have realized that something in me shifted a bit. That quality that made me me started to fade. I started to care a little bit more about what the people in my life wanted and expected from me. I started to care about whether or not people liked me.

I think some of that change can be attributed to motherhood. Becoming a mom made me more aware of my actions and decisions. I started to give more thought to what people would think of me and how that would affect my kids.

And as much as I hate to admit it, I think social media had an impact as well. With more eyes on what I look like and what I do or say, I started to think a little bit more about how others would perceive me. I started to care too much about the opinions of people who really don’t matter.

But listen, ya’ll; I am tired of caring. I am ready to go back to my old ways. I want the no-nonsense chick I once loved to come back and stay. I miss her. I miss her a lot.

With my third child on the way, I could care less of what kind of mother anyone thinks I am. Why? Because I am a good mom. I make mistakes but I am a damn good mom. I don’t need anyone’s approval about that.

I also don’t care anymore about whether or not people in my extended family approve of my choices and how I manage situations. Honestly, I don’t think I ever cared that much, but now I really don’t give a damn. Why? Because I have seen what decades of people pleasing has done to my mom. It’s tragic. I also realize that I show love and support to the people in my family in the best ways I can. If that isn’t enough, they can kick rocks.

As for my peeps on social media, unless we are friends in real life, I could care less about your judgments and expectations. I don’t need to explain my decision, my blackness, my anti-Trump-ness, or any anything else to any of you. I post when I feel like it and I post what I feel like posting. If you think my posts aren’t political enough, you can kiss my a$$. If you think my posts are too political or too black for you, you can definitely kiss my a$$.

We are not placed on earth to get people to like us. I don’t believe the God I serve is cruel enough to do that to us. I think we are here to figure out what God wants us to do with our lives and then get about the business of doing it. We are here to add more love and kindness and value to the world. We are here to judge less and support more. We are here to stand up when people treat other people like crap because that’s the right thing to do.

But we are not here to please man. We are not here to worry about what people in the virtual world think about how we look or how we feel. We are not here to break our backs pleasing people who never seem to be pleased. And we are definitely not here to spend countless hours wondering if people think we are good moms, wives, or friends.

If your goal to be a good person, work on doing that. Don’t wait for validation from anyone. Don’t give anyone that type of power over your life.

I got lost. It’s been scary. I named my blog CandidBelle, only to realize that I’ve been becoming less and less candid with each passing year. That’s been a tough pill to swallow.

But I guess there is something powerful about self-reflection and clarity. There is something profound about realizing that I can do this thing on my own terms and I can be happy and successful without going out of my way to get people to like me.

By being myself and working hard at becoming a better person, I have no doubt that people who love me most and know my heart will always stand by my side. They will always love and support me. They may not always agree with my decisions, but they will never question the motives behind the choices I make.

For me, that is more than enough. It’s liberating, really. It’s the definition of self-care.

If you feel like you are running around trying to please the world, stop it. Free yourself. Break the chains. Be who you are and do so unapologetically. Once you find the courage to do that, your world begins to change in a beautiful way.

So hate me or love me. I am cool either way. And remember that the way you feel about me or anyone else has nothing to do with that person. It’s usually about you.