I have been a people pleaser my whole life.
Since I was a little girl, I have always wanted people around me to be proud of me, and I have wanted to do “the right thing” at all times.
Perhaps this tendency is somewhat typical for women. From a young age, we are taught that we need to be good girls; we need to be nice, kind and do as we are told. We need to care for and be affectionate toward others when they are in need.
I’ve felt this way for 40 years, but no more!
I’ve decided that I love myself and I want to put myself first for once in my life.
As a mother of two boys, I know it to be true that when you have children, you would do anything for them. All you ever want is to protect them, care for them, and make sure they are safe. So in that sense, we as parents naturally take second place in our own lives. Not to mention our spouses; where do they place? Often, for the people pleaser, it is a rank above ourselves.
But, let us remember the saying, “Put your own oxygen mask on before helping others.” Why should this line of thought be used only in emergencies?
There needs to be a balance between loving and taking care of self and loving and taking care of others.
There is an awakening that occurs at 40 years old. Wait a minute! There is more to life than just this caring for others game, and there is more potential inside me that needs release. These words burrow into our hearts and souls when that awakening comes.
But this coming-to can be both beautiful and quite emotional at the same time.
We see that we are worth loving and we start loving ourselves and putting our needs first.
We see our own potential and go for the things that matter to us—our passions.
We discover or re-discover our dreams for life—maybe that thing that someone talked us out of when we were younger.
We no longer care (as much) about what people think or say about us.
We realize that we will not live forever, and if we are dreaming of something, we should go ahead and do it
And yet there is the second edge to this sword. As beautiful as this new sense of self-awareness is, awakening to it can also be a bit messy.
Because when we put our needs first, we sometimes see that the people around us were only here to take advantage of our people-pleasing tendencies. Emotions rise up to the surface, and we realize that these people are no longer good for us to be around.
And so we take on the difficult task of cutting these people and habits out of our lives. We know that this is the only way we can continue on our journey. We have changed as a person and not everyone in our life remains a fit.
But when faced with this difficult task of pursuing our passions and all that is good for us, we must never be afraid to say no to people, or habits, or places that no longer support our growth.
We must never fear saying “no” when we do not feel like doing something, helping out, or spending time with people. We’ve got to own our “no” without allowing our former people-pleasing selves to cause us guilt for declining to over-extend ourselves.
Look, we have limited time during our day, so spend it with people who make you happy. Spend time doing what makes you happy.
Sure, in the past you would be afraid that people would talk about you, and not like you if you didn’t place them first. But that’s no longer you. Whenever it comes up, let that feeling go.
You are a new you, and this new you might still care about what people think, but the new you doesn’t have to put any weight into the possible or perceived judgments of others.
Let us skip the bad conscience and listen to our inner voice instead.
Follow your inner voice and it will lead you to your happy place—a place where your passions are in the front seat.
I am on this awakening journey, are you?