It started at a young age.
I wish I could blame it on being the 1st born child, as usually the 1st born is the responsible, parent-pleasing one. It didn’t quite work this way in my family. I am the 2nd born, but with 15 years between me and my brother, I guess the traditional family birth order thing didn’t apply.
As a child, it was important to me to please my parents. I did well in school, and didn’t create too much of a headache for them (though they may disagree with that, especially in my teen years). I wanted them to be proud of me. I felt safe getting their reassurance that I was on the right track, and doing what they thought I should be doing to grow into a responsible adult.
For the most part, this worked fine for me as a child as it allowed to me to navigate the world with a safety blanket. As an adult there were certain things I let go of, and certain things I kept. I believed I had a nice balance of both. Until…
I went into business for myself. Then I realized how it affected my other relationships. My spouse. My clients. My friends. Even the relationship with myself.
In my personal life I eventually lost ME. I somehow lost touch with my essence, my soul, my purpose, my self-worth, and my spirit in the quest to make sure others liked and approved of me. In my business life, it took the form of wanting to “fix” clients, so they would also love my services, thus validating me as a competent practitioner.
Once I figured this out, I was like, “WHAT????”
[Tweet “The problem with living to please others is that you eventually lose yourself! @loreearley”]
I spent the next several months making friends with my people pleasing side, discovering the purpose it served, thanking it for its service, and then gently told it that I didn’t need it anymore. I gave myself permission to let it go.
This changed my world (and still continues to do so as any transformation is an ongoing process). I started setting firmer boundaries for myself and with others, and recognized that my clients pay me to often tell them the things they don’t want to hear, but need to hear regardless. I realized that I may need to let someone down if it means sticking with my integrity and gut feeling. And it finally dawned on me that some people are just miserable and unhappy, and you can’t please them anyway.
One of my favorite quotes/mantras to use when my people pleasing side starts to surface is by Brene Brown. (If you don’t know of her work, you MUST check it out!)
“Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not the jackass whisperer.”
Reflection time…. Are you a people pleaser? What are you getting from it, and how is it impacting your life? Where in your life can you set healthier boundaries or reconnect with the essence of YOU?
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