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Difference Maker




Difference Maker

Tami Inoue

Hi.  My name is Tami, and I’m a recovering people pleaser. 


Even though I’ve known this about myself, somehow, I never gave it a lot of thought…and when I would, honestly?…I considered it one of my more “attractive” flaws.  I mean, who doesn’t want to be pleased?  I want to be liked…so it’s been a dysfunctional relationship that I’ve fostered and enabled.


Last week, I was in Mexico, sitting in a workshop that my friend Lauren was leading.  I’ve sat at countless brunches with Lauren…talked for HOURS with her about anything and everything.  I was excited for her session, but didn’t expect to be hearing anything new.  30 min. later, I had to slip away to the bathroom because the tears wouldn’t stop.  What was going on? How was it that I was sitting in a bathroom stall rolling up toilet paper around my hand trying to dab away and swallow the lump of emotions sitting in my throat?


“I want to make my mom proud.  I want to be a difference maker.”…that’s what I’d written in response to, “Goals”.


I actually hate even writing that now because I know people will feel the need to comment that they know I do make her proud.  The truth is, I know my mom.  I know what would make her proud and what wouldn’t…and I know in many ways she would be proud…but I also know in many ways, she wouldn’t.  


You see, we were raised with the expectations that we were going to be difference makers in our world.  It was okay to be scared to stand up for what we believed and to rock the boat…but we were expected to stand and rock nonetheless. I can’t think of one significant difference-maker who was a people pleaser…and this version of Tami?  My mom wouldn’t recognize.  I think she’d say, “Tami, I know you…you were made for so much more.”


I was NOT raised to be a rebel or to stir controversy for the sake of a fight.  I was, however, raised to be confident, to be a thinker, to follow truth…and understand that controversy will very likely be a part of that.  I was raised to listen to critique, but not let the critics rule my life.  I was taught to show all people respect, but not lose it for myself in the process.  


You see, somewhere along the way, I’ve tried to match my voice with everyone around me…and in doing so, I’ve just silenced it.  I’m scared to blog because I cringe from the critics I know will come.  I’m afraid that if people knew that I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing half the time, or that I feel scared and lonely…they’ll lose confidence in me.  If I told you that I do care who sits in the White House or that I lay awake wondering what kind of world my nieces and nephews will grow up in, you’ll think me too serious and uptight.  I’m afraid that if I post a video or song that has a cuss word in it, some will question if I still love Jesus…which I do and always will.  


I’m more liberal than a lot of people I love…I’m more conservative than a lot of people I love.  I know who I am and what I believe…and yet, I let the fear of losing friendships and the loss of love trump being open and honest.


I’m a people pleaser…and suddenly, it sounds so ugly.  To please is to be motivated by what I can get.  To love is to be motivated by what I can give.  I don’t want to please anymore…I want to love.  I want to love enough to be vulnerable.  But I’ll be honest, it always scares me…but I think that’s okay. I’m tired of being comfortable…I want honesty.  I want to really see you.  I want to hear your voice…and in return, I know I need to let you see me and let you hear my voice.  


So friends, my name is Tami.  And I’m a recovering people pleaser and a lover of people (in training). :)  I think I’m going to need your patience…but give it to me, and I’ll do my best to show you all the love I can give!! :)  I want to be a difference maker.


Thanks for reading this.