PEOPLE PLEASING 101
If there was a university course on People Pleasing, I would have graduated with an A+ distinction. Along with worrying about a myriad of little things in life, I spent a considerable amount of time worrying about what other people might think. I often made decisions based on what I thought other people would want me to do.
There is an element of "goodness" in wanting to make other people happy, but it comes undone if it isn't balanced with having a strong sense of your own self worth. When I made decisions it was lack of confidence that made me look to the opinion of others rather than trusting myself and that is not a healthy way to live.
PLEASE LIKE ME
I remember back to my high school years where it was so important to be part of a group, to fit in and to be liked. It was the same in the church youth group and also when I started work. I didn't want to be the odd man out who thought differently or who questioned the status quo. I wanted to be everyone's friend and not cause upset if I could help it. Very altruistic - and also a little cowardly now I look back on it.
Young people today are so confident and sure of who they are, they almost err on the other end of the spectrum where they'll commit to something..... "unless they get a better offer". They don't really care what other people think about them - they're just happy doing their own thing in their own time.
BEING TRUE TO MYSELF
There's nothing wrong with wanting other people to like you, but not at the expense of being true to yourself. You can't be happy if you are being what other people want you to be...... or what you think other people want you to be (which is a layer even further down the slippery slope of lack of self worth).
If you feel strongly about something - whether it's important or trivial then be brave enough to own it and the possible consequences. When I finally started to step up in this area, I needed to find the balance between the "nice" girl who goes to church and the "slightly off colour" girl who has tattoos and likes gossip magazines, young adult fiction and doesn't always want to toe the line.
It took me many, many (too many) years to realize that people aren't judging me, they don't care if I'm exactly like them or not (they'd probably prefer me not to be!) People who are my friends love me for "me" not for who I think they want me to be. There is a fabulous quote from Eleanor Roosevelt ~ “You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”
If I don't have to try to keep everyone happy, if I let them worry about themselves and just get on with being "me" then I can relax. I can accept myself. I can be happy. Why didn't I figure this out years ago?
AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT
People pleasing can drain you dry, you are always second guessing yourself and squishing yourself into different molds depending on who you're with, and as the famous meme goes...."ain't nobody got time for that".
I certainly don't have time for it any more - I'm too busy discovering who I am and getting to know that person. I like that I'm a bit of a crazy mixture of "nice" and "not so nice" girl. My daughter-in-law thinks I'm going to make a bit of an 'out there' Nan when little Sophia grows up and gets to know me - and I don't think that's a bad thing at all!