I am a people pleaser. I have been people pleasing my entire life. So much so that I used to deprive myself of my own happiness at the cost of making others happy. I used to beat myself up over conversations, over analyzing my choices and their responses, and wondering how I could have been better so they would like me more. I used to stay awake for HOURS replaying interactions with others and how I could have made the situation better.
It wasn’t healthy.
I have fortunately recognized this tendency of hurting my own joy for the purpose of pleasing others/feeling liked. I catch myself when I begin to turn down this dark path of insecurity and self-doubt.
I now realize that not every person will like me, and that is ok.
Not every person is meant to be my friend, and that is ok.
Not every person will enjoy my yoga classes, and that is ok.
Not every person will like my paintings, and that is ok.
Not every sentence I speak will be received well by others, and that is ok.
Not every person will share my views, passions, and values, and that is ok.
I have come to terms that people pleasing is kind and thoughtful, but like all things in the world, must be done in moderation for well-being. What matters is that I like myself, that I am friends with myself, that I enjoy my yoga classes, that I like my paintings, that I speak with authenticity from the heart, and that I continue to trust in my views, pursue my passions, and live by my values.
While I recognize my self-worth, I still struggle with people pleasing, especially when close friend and family tell me something that hurts/belittles me. Sometimes people will project they own personal struggles on you, and you must be there to support them as much as possible, but ultimately not support them so much that you do so at the cost of your own well-being. This is the HARDEST, most CHALLENGING lesson for me yet as a people pleaser. I feel like I have found balance in pleasing others while pleasing myself when it comes to meeting new people and spending time with acquaintances. When it comes to my family and close friends, I put my entire heart out for them and it hurts when they squish it. I just want these friends to be happy, to succeed, and to love me as much as I love them. But sometimes they are going through something that you cannot help with right now, and when they begin to leave you behind, or take their own insecurities/challenges/emotions out on you, it hurts. I try to recognize that they are going through something tough that is pulling us in different directions, and when they need me I will be there for them. But right now, I am not needed, and that is ok. Until I am needed again I will take a step back to honour my own self-love and happiness, so that I can be at my best to support when called upon. I still love these friends very much, and always will, but it is not healthy for me to return to a people pleasing place that neglects myself.
And now as a new mother, my wish is to instil this self-worth in my daughter. I have a feeling people pleasing runs in my family since my own Mom is also a compassionate people pleaser, so I suspect Langley might have the same tendencies. And that is wonderful because it shows kindness. I just now know that kindness to others must be balanced with kindness to yourself. So I will remind Langley often that spreading joy is important, but gifting yourself joy is just as important.
We must all remind ourselves that spreading kindness does mean to be loving to others, but it also means to be loving to your self.