Hello, my name is Hannah, and I’m a people pleaser.
If you’d asked me a couple of years ago, it’s likely I would have scoffed in denial at such a notion. “I do what I want,” I would have said.
And I do. I live life my own way, without a lot of regard for what authority figures or society or anyone, really, suggests I “should” be doing.
But when it comes to interpersonal relationships, that devil-may-care attitude of mine goes out the window. I’m constantly trying to avoid conflict. In other words, I’m always attempting the impossible, because trying to appease everyone is the definition of impossible.
If you’re anything like me, you may be aware of this, intellectually … all the while still trying to be the one exception; the one person in the world who makes everybody happy. Because OF COURSE you can buck the odds and be the first human EVER to incur complete and total adoration. Right.
Pleasing other people is exhausting. In addition to sucking all the energy out of you physically, mentally and emotionally, it also makes you a target for users and abusers. When you’re a pushover, people tend to push you over. Duh.
Someone once told me that the most spiritually advanced people in the world also have the strongest boundaries. Of course they do, because they’re not afraid.
When we’re terrified of upsetting others, we’re demonstrating a serious lack of confidence. Our fears are illuminated by other’s displeasure — we’re scared of rejection and judgment. Meanwhile, people with a deep and consistent sense of self-esteem don’t live with this kind of anxiety. They have no doubts about their own worth, and therefore, nothing to fear.
The truth is, we are ALL worthy. We’re all of equal value and equal deservability. We each have a place on the planet and a right to carve out our own lives. We don’t have to apologize for who we are or what we need.
In recent weeks, the universe has unleashed an avalanche of examples in my life when it comes to this subject matter. I’ve had to live with other people’s displeasure in several scenarios, despite my effort to always be understanding and forgiving and nice and do whatever it is that’ll theoretically make them happy. Clearly, this is a lesson I still need to learn.
Normally, these kinds of circumstances would fill me with dread. Spiders? Love them! Heights? My fave! Small enclosed spaces? Fun times! Unhappy people? Watch me crawl under a table and quake in my booties.
But Frozen’s ubiquitous tune is my new motto: LET IT GO. Rubbing people the wrong way, on occasion, is an unavoidable part of life. It’s a fear I have to overcome, unless I want to spent the next 60 years hiding in a closet, living in a cave or walking on eggshells everywhere I go.
I’m tired of feeling like I have to apologize for existing. “Sorry” is a word I use far too often, and from here on out, I’m only apologizing when it’s really, truly warranted. No more feeling guilty about taking up space. You can’t please everyone, and I’m finished with that futile endeavor.
I believe in compassion and empathy and understanding, always, but kindness and strength are not mutually exclusive. We have to protect ourselves; honor ourselves; love ourselves enough to stand up, tend to our needs and say NO. It’s a fine line, but one I’m determined to walk. I think I just need a little more practice. 😉