The act of investing in your own happiness by taking action on those activities that ignite you and don’t depend on your outside circumstances, I have learned, actively heals the unbalanced need to have others like you. When you gradually increase your happiness quota in ways that uniquely suit you, it becomes natural to approve of yourself and the rest falls away.
People Pleasing Was My Default
When I started this journey I was so far down the rabbit hole of people pleasing that I hadn’t the faintest inkling on 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?
I realized when I began my journey with Power Routines that I was puzzled and more then that 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. 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 it reared its ugly head in all my others as well, just never enough to incite me to to change them.
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 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, 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 that I took action on the things I discovered fed me deeply, was one more drop in the bucket of my being more myself, getting more comfortable in my own skin and it being easier to listen to my own inner guidance.
Those loving actions I did for myself, day after day, gratitude journaling, meditating, green smoothies etc. had a snowball effect. Today I experience my inner voice I call my burning core, it guides me everyday. I now enjoy intimacy in my relationships where the giving is mutual. Fear is a friend now, not something to overcome or be taken hostage by. It’s a part of me that I dialogue with every day, soothe and thank for all the “heads up!’’s it gives me.
It’s easy now to say “Thanks for sharing” to well intention-ed and opinionated loved ones and go about my business, more then that I have a business! Meaning a purposeful life full of activities that are not particularly sensational and newsworthy by mainstream society’s standards yet touch the nerve of deep delight within me and are quite frankly the cheese in my grilled cheese sandwich, the filling in my oreo, the spark in my chutzpah! Who would’ve thought a few daily activities in the morning would lead to a uniquely handcrafted life that fits like a glove?
I’d love to know what you have to say about this. What role has people pleasing played in your life?