Do you overextend yourself to be “nice” to the people in your life? Has it come to the point yet where your exhausted from it and your life is more chaotic then you’d like because of it?
I’ve learned that investing in your own happiness regularly with activities that ignite, nourish and center you actively heals the unbalanced need to have others like you. It’s as if your inner happiness quota increases to the point where you have filled your own cup, with your own approval and the need/reflex to be approved by others naturally falls away.
People Pleasing Was My Default
When I started of taking better care of myself, I was so far down the rabbit hole of people pleasing that I hadn’t the faintest inkling of what feeling ignited felt like. Some of you reading this may be in that same place. What does delight feel like? What does losing track of time because you’re so immersed in something feel like?
5-Star Training On Obedience
I realized when I began trying to establish self care habits, that I was numb to the feeling of my own guidance. I had for as long as I remembered, did what I was told. In school I listened to teachers, at home to my parents, it served me well and got me the results I wanted. In friendships this played out as I being a sidekick for those with bigger personalities than mine and were one ended in the way I gave of myself and didn’t get much in return.
I Take My Training With Me Wherever I Go
When I left home for college, “Different place different me” I thought…nope. I attracted more people into my life who had personalities just enough stronger, louder, more opinionated and presumptuous than mine to tell me what to do with my life. Although I didn’t like it, I honestly didn’t know how to be other than receptive to them. It was my comfort zone, a role I knew well.
When I entered an addictive, emotionally stormy relationship, the pain shook me to my core and forced me to get laser sharp on just how far I allowed my people pleasing to go. Although chaos and drama were painfully obvious in this relationship, when I became honest with myself, I realized that it was present in all my other relationships prior, it just never ruffled me enough to notice it.
When In Doubt, Shut Down
Feeling very alone, paralyzed in fear and not knowing how to reach out, I did what I knew best… hunker down like a clam and weather the storm, only this time I wasn’t solely paralyzed in fear. My clam like tendency would go on to protect a spark of deep questioning in me to get to the bottom of why these situations kept repeating themselves, in my life, different faces, same story…why? A chapter in my life began of incubation on who I was and what I really wanted.
Growing Courage Like a Muscle Every Morning
Through the feelings of cowardliness and self loathing I carried for not being able to leave that relationship I also had hope that one day I could release this way of being that had stifled me. The grit I unearthed at 11 years old to lose weight as I shared here, was to now be applied in becoming brutally committed to being the healthiest me I could be from the inside out regardless of what was going on outside of me. “Perhaps I could grow courage like an internal muscle if there is such a thing” I thought to myself as pictures flashed in my mind of how I exercised every day for a year to lose weight as a kid. Pictures then flashed in my mind of my future self waking up early every morning with the same diligence and sincerity only this time doing activities that would fortify me mentally and emotionally.
From Head to Heart
Truth be told no matter how disciplined I was and great I felt about my health it didn’t do a thing in my relationships. When face to face with those difficult people in my life, it did nothing in helping me speak up for myself, set boundaries and feel healthy anger, all those things I learned about in the self help books I devoured. It baffled the heck out of me and made it painfully clear that I needed to BE this understanding not just easily make a case for it in conversations, which I hypocritically did.
I started small by exploring the foods I liked and went on to explore what I gravitated to in books, clothes, meditation techniques, exercises, meals, entertainment etc. I started to imagine what kind of future me I would like to be. I slowly gave myself more permission to dream every morning before the world would awaken. I was a detective for the things that brought me any inkling of elation, curiosity, empowerment or feeling centered.
Every morning spent this way was one more drop in the bucket of my being more myself, getting more comfortable in my own skin and clearer on what I think, need, feel, want and prefer.
Those loving actions I did for myself, day after day had a snowball effect and when someone asks me for something I know I’m not willing to give, there is no knee jerk response of saying “I’d love to!” with my stomach all in knots. Instead there’s a variety of no’s I’ve filed away in my toolbox ready for the different boundary-pushing situations that continue to come up.
Most importantly I enjoy my own company, feel safe, at ease and at home in my own skin. Fear is a friend now, not something to overcome or be taken hostage by, but a part of me that I dialogue with every day, soothe and thank for all the heads up’s it gives me.
Although I have family members in my life that test my boundaries it’s much easier now to say “Thanks for sharing”, “You may be right” or ” I’m going to think about that, let me get back to you” and go about my business.
From having taken the time to be with myself, I’ve been able to craft a life that is full of meaning, purpose and many small daily delights that I giddily look forward to.
Being regular in self care provides a fountain of many ongoing benefits, but if people pleasing is a specific area that you want to do differently, I encourage you to become devoted to your wellness by committing to a morning self care routine. Not sure where to start? Stop by my Start Here page by clicking here or check out my free printouts here!
I’d love to know what you have to say about this. What role has people pleasing played in your life? If you found this post helpful, take a sec to share, like or comment below. Thanks for stopping by!