I have many flaws. Believe me – many. But, there’s one I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. It’s the flaw that wants to please every one and then suffers tremendous guilt if I can’t achieve that.
It was really bad growing up and I believe it got even worse in my twenties and thirties. Now, in my forties, I’m realizing even more how unnecessary this characteristic of mine has been.
My dad is people pleaser and has a hard time saying no to anyone. I’ve watched people appreciate him for it and I’ve also seen him get burned because of it. I could have learned from that, but I didn’t.
Today, I can absolutely pinpoint where it’s done me wrong. Now, I am a firm
believer that there are no mistakes and that those mistakes are opportunities. Well hot damn have I had some opportunities!
Some lessons you just get. You learn them once and you are good. You won’t do that again. Others, you have to learn over and over again. This has been my repeat lesson.
My unhealthy urge to satisfy others and agree to what they want has often put me in situations that I flat out don’t want to be in.
Here are some examples of my people pleasing:
- Agreeing to a restaurant I really don’t want to go to (to make other’s happy)
- Making financial investments my gut told me not to (to make other’s happy)
- Going to parties or clubs I didn’t want to go to (to make other’s happy)
- Putting passion projects of my own on hold (to make other’s happy)
- Lending money (to make other’s happy)
- Going on that awful spinning ride at the fair (to make other’s happy)
- Living in a place I didn’t want to live (you get it now…)
And there’s more. But the people I said yes to aren’t to blame. I am. If I really don’t like the choices I made then I need to take responsibility for making those choices and know that I do have a voice and a say the next time someone asks me to do something I really don’t want to do.
I’ll admit something else… I’m still working on this. I haven’t nailed it yet. The impulse to please is on auto-pilot for me. So now, I make the decision to stop, take a minute and think before I push the people pleaser button. I feel bad saying no and I still get trigger of guilt, but now I know I’ll feel way worse not being true to myself.