Are You A People-Pleaser?
People-pleasing: the willingness to forego one’s personal needs in order to prioritize others’ needs (and happiness) over our own.
Are you a people-pleaser?
I believe in the good in most humans, and I think that innately, we all aim to please others. In doing so, we are aiming to create peace and harmony amongst the people of this world. And who wouldn’t want a world where everyone gets along?
Put the problem with basing our life choices on whether or not we will upset others creates complications for ourselves. Sometimes, our own happiness will be jeopardized, which reinforces the idea that we are not worthy, or not as valid as someone else.
I have worked really hard this year to put myself first. It truly is one of the hardest skills I have tried to develop. Saying no to invitations, and making decisions for me and not for anyone else, has been extremely tough. I can say that I am a pretty confident decision-maker, yet I often look to others for approval once the decision is made. If people disapprove of my choice, it creates an extremely unsettling internal turmoil.
This turmoil quickly turns to the following self-talk: “they think I’m stupid” / “they won’t like me anymore” / “I am making a mistake”.
In 2018, I worked really hard to make decisions for ME. I tried (and I say “tried” because it really did require a conscious effort) to listen to myself and my needs and act accordingly. Throughout this process, my decisions were met with a lot of opposition. People doubted me and the choices I made, but for the most part, I stood my ground.
I am learning to accept that not everyone will agree with everything I do. And somehow, that’s okay. I know it’s kind of cliche, but this is my life, and I am not living it for anybody else. My goal in life is not to make others happy through my choices. I am in charge of my own life, and I will deal with the consequences of my actions, whether good or bad.
Truthfully, as I am writing this post, I realize I still have work to do. When someone doubted one of my recent choices, I was very upset. But I had a good friend ask me: “why is her opinion so important to you? What does it mean to you when she doesn’t agree?”.
I know I have to let go of my constant need for approval. And for the record, it’s impossible to please everybody in life. The beauty of self-growth is learning to make choices and decisions and standing our ground despite outside influences discouraging us.
Next time you fall into the people-pleasing trap, ask yourself the following:
Am I prioritizing myself?
Are my needs being met?
Am I happy with my choice?
Am I making myself proud?
Like I said, I have been working on this all year, and still haven’t mastered it yet. But like every year, I’m a work in progress. And I’m okay with that.
I was so worried about starting work because the weeks leading up to it were filled with eating disorder thoughts. I was constantly planning, constantly obsessing - I had three grocery lists going, two meal plan schedules, and everything related to food was incredibly calculated.
Now that I’m working full-time at my new job, I don’t have time for any of that nonsense! And all I can say is... thank goodness. To all of you who doubted my return to work so soon after my discharge from treatment... watch me.