When I was four years old I had a very specific rotating system for my stuffed animals for a position on the bed. I would place one bear front and center and then turn to the others….and apologize. I didn’t want to hurt their feelings.
Since then, for the better part of over 30 years I have mastered the Art of People Pleasing. And then one day, it completely stopped working for me. And here’s what it looked like.
I took on things that were never meant for me to burden.
I decided the outcome (usually negative) of something before it even happened.
I determined I knew people’s motives and what they thought of me.
I stopped being direct and sharing what I really wanted.
I took everything too (damn) personally.
Some of you reading this are thinking, “What a drag!” And others have fixed your eyes on the page, because you know what I mean. We don’t get here easily and not all people pleasers are doormats. The recipe of how we got here is always quite different, but the messy heart outcome is the same. We never really rest from it all. Because at some point, we stopped considering ourselves.
People pleasers left to themselves will eventually get cranky. They do and do for others without people asking or even knowing the extent of their sacrifice. And then they get mad at people for not recognizing their hard work. They also start to get fussy when they don’t get their way, even though they never uttered a word of what they really want. They are often easily irritated because they work so hard, go so fast and shoulder all the weight, without stopping to ask for help. Most of the time, the people standing in the way of a People Pleaser, are themselves. So what should we do with a fussy, cranky People Pleaser? We put them to bed. That’s right for a good, long, rest.
Rest? If the People Pleaser in you scoffed at the suggestion, you may need it the most. I know I do. You see, if we don’t find a solution of how to care for ourselves, we will continue to miss out.
So what does rest look like for People Pleasers? Here’s what I’m discovering.
Taking time for yourself without feeling guilty.
This may look like doing something as simple as getting your nails done, going for a walk, or reading a book without the looming feeling that you should be doing something else or that you are wasting time.
Being direct and saying what you really mean, feel or think.
I’ve spent so much time dancing around subjects for fear of hurting someone or being misunderstood. To my surprise, being direct (although it feels unpleasant and awkward at first) has been the most liberating thing.
Saying no to the things you can’t or don’t want to do.
Yep, you’re allowed to do that. A huge part of healing and resting is learning your limits and setting healthy boundaries. That doesn’t mean you can’t still be a rockstar mom, a helpful wife or an excellent boss. It means you can be these things without losing yourself in the process. Plus, it makes room for the things you really enjoy.
Brandee’s Chic Tip: Try simple daily affirmations to renew the way you think. Something as simple as saying to yourself, “It’s ok it someone doesn’t like me” may sound silly, but that small truth can set you free.