It’s a trap. I know it and you do, too. It leaves us feeling depleted, empty, tired and angry – trying to satisfy someone else, caring about their feelings more than our own. At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for you! And I believe we can be freed from this desire to please people.
This horrible truth gets the best of us. The desire to see someone happy more than you desire to see yourself happy. It comes in subtle ways but the bottom line is always a stretching of your being to appease someone else’s wishes.
I had to come to this realization the hard way. (I’m stubborn by nature) and it starts with saying ‘no’ – as I wrote about in “Why No Isn’t Always a Bad Thing.” I am still learning to say no to things I know are, not necessarily bad, but are not the best for me.
It surfaces in simple things like going to another event after the next after a jammed packed day, and harder things like giving time when 24 hours isn’t enough or suffering through hardship not entirely your own. People pleasing is a trap, repeat A TRAP.
It stifles our growth, sanity and happiness. It suffocates our own will, wants, and desires. True, sometimes our desires aren’t always the best but it doesn’t mean we’re allowing anyone else’s desires to prevail.
I am learning the art of no. And that begins by recognizing the root of why I people please in the first place. It happened to me recently. The people pleasing gene was in full effect. I had to say no but I felt horrible about doing it. One of my friends invited me to be a part of a business venture. And because I value our relationship I didn’t want to let her down. When it came my time to speak up I hesitated. I, literally, went through the motions: shook my head up and down, made small talk and outlandish promises I knew I couldn’t keep. It took every bit of 24 hours for me to renege on my promise (I know, I know). But as I thought more about it I realized if our friendship was based on business then we would never have been friends. I couldn’t believe our friendship would be that superficial in the first place. And as I see it, I know I now run the risk of her seeing me as a friend who is flakey. And I never want to be known to make it snow.
The team just wasn’t a good fit for me. And once I realized that I knew I had to decline the offer. And I must say after I did, everything in me felt right.
I knew deep down that opportunity was NOT for me. I didn’t agree to it because it didn’t fit with what I have going on currently in life, my schedule, my goals and future. I wasn’t fully sold and I knew a commitment like that would require a lot of time, energy, and resources all of which I wasn’t ready to extend. I also could have saved her a lot of time wasted explaining in detail her proposal. And for that, I felt completely bad. Being upfront about your disinterest helps others understand you better and then move on.
We have to let go of this bad feeling because we tell someone no. It doesn’t make us bad people and it doesn’t make us rude.
Honestly, I believe deep down that my desire to people please is a silent cry for others to like me. And pleasing them, at whatever cost, would make me somehow better in their eyes. It’s crazy to believe anyone will like me by agreeing to things out of character. As I wrote about in “Because Being Honest Isn’t Easy,” if I’m not being myself then why do anything out of character to appease someone else. Of course, I value the close relationships I have with loved ones and friends but I would never risk my character, sanity or integrity to please them. It may sound harsh or rude but it is absolutely true.
Once we realize that simple truth – disagreeing to please someone doesn’t mean they’re not pleased with us, can set us free. The trap is in believing we have to do everything asked of us to hold on to a friendship. And if you have to keep doing things to please them then that friendship was rocky from the start. It doesn’t mean you love them any less it just means you love yourself more. It also doesn’t mean you’re a rude person it just means you’re a person who knows what she wants and knows what she doesn’t need.
It’s time we stopped caring about what people think and start caring more about what we think of ourselves. There are several factors that could make someone people please and I’m absolutely certain how people we’re striving to please see us is one. Free yourself from this trap by focusing your attention on you: your goals, your family, your health and less on what others might think of these things. And when we really think of it none of what others believe of us matters. It gets harder when we consider closer relationships with parents and significant others. And those are the hardest ones to say no to. Sure, you want to make your parents happy but what if we did everything our parents wanted us to? We would never take any risks or learn life the hard the way. What if we did everything a boyfriend wanted us to? How would we know what we like and dislike in a relationship? And what type of mind control does he have on you?
Belles, we have to know that pleasing people is good but it should never cost us our sanity.
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