Saturday, January 30, 2010

Attention People Pleasers

Ahem, you know who you are…the beautiful kind souls that resist every conflict by sacrificing a part of your very souls in order to make sure everyone continues to love and care for you.  So, people pleasing can make you many friends and admirers but it can also leave you plenty exhausted.  It’s hard work being kind to everyone, saying yes to everyone while denying or even losing sight of your own wants and needs.  So, take a break today.  For just one day, know this:  You have a right to be here.  You have the right to be loved without doing anything for anyone.  You do not need the praise of others as an indicator of your incredible value in this world.  You do not have to sacrifice yourself for anyone else ever.

So, somewhere along the way…maybe in childhood, you learned that the only way for you to feel loved or be loved, respected or honored was if you selflessly took care of other people—people who should have had the brains and sense enough to respect you and honor you for who you were.  Now, those people likely did not know the unintended consequences of their actions.  So, to get along and to feel good, you sacrificed your authenticity for people who did not know about unconditional love and respect.  So, all of that is over now.  Those tactics you learned way back when no longer need to be employed today.  You don’t have to please everyone any more.  Right now, I give you permission (and you must too) to please yourself first.  If you are not happy, how on Earth could you influence anyone else’s happiness?  Really!  So, today, do something that you want to do and tell others that they must wait.  Do something for yourself.

If there are those around you who refuse to take care of themselves and expect you to step up and take care of them instead, just step back and create some loving space for them to come to their senses.  If they don’t and they lash out at you verbally …realize that just isn’t about you, it’s about them.  Be strong and do not take criticism to heart unless you truly believe it has a basis in reality.  Stop taking care of everyone and take care of yourself.  You learned how, right?  How will others learn to do that wonderful thing for themselves if you do everything for everyone? 

Today I challenge you to put down the burden of taking care of everyone else at the expense of yourself.  I challenge you to stop, think and consider what would truly make you happy and give you a sense of fulfillment and what would fill you up with love and happiness without involving other people.  Do those things or that thing first today and let others fend for themselves.  IT IS NOT SELFISH!  Hear this…If others continually expect you to take care of them (and I’m talking legal adults here) and you stop, and they get angry because you stopped and they have the audacity to call you selfish…think about it…who is more selfish?  You, who is just trying to take care of yourself or them who refuse to take care of themselves and demand you do it for them?  Really!  It isn’t right that other people demand you continually do things, care for and support everyone else when they should and could do that for themselves as a show of love.  That’s possession, emotional slavery and so many more ugly words.  Sometimes people don’t know better.  So before you get defensive when the people you continually go above and beyond for get angry or upset that you are taking care of you first today, step back and don’t react to what they say…reassert your focus on taking care of you…reassert your knowledge that you have the right to be here…to be loved and respected for existing…to be considered when conflict is raised instead of continually expected to sacrifice your authenticity to make conflict go away.

Now, if you like the feeling of putting down the burden and those around you just cannot accept it, they have choices to make and so do you.  You can go back to care-taking and exhaustion and maintain the status quo or you can lovingly assert your new found freedom and let others take accountability for themselves.  Sometimes when you decide to stop “people pleasing,” the people who continually demand that of you will either shape up or leave you.  If they shape up, fantastic.  If they leave, it may hurt but its for the best.  It’s better to be alone than in bad company.  But alone isn’t a challenge for long.  Once you start to respect yourself, hold others accountable in a loving way and treat yourself with love and respect, you will draw to you people who will love and respect you for who you are and not what you can do for them.

Okay, that’s my rant for the day.  And, BTW, I am a reformed people pleaser.  I have had loved ones leave me, verbally attack and vindictively get even with me for deciding to take care of myself instead of carrying them.  It hurts but I’m accountable for me…they are accountable for themselves…I love them but I’m prepared to let go of anyone in my life regardless of their position if they will not treat me with love and respect.  Its because of that that I am surrounded by wonderful and amazing family members and friends that do love and respect me for who I am and not what I can do for them.  I treat them with that very same love and respect.   (Also, I’m not saying you should never lend someone a hand…but in that hand that you lend…be certain of your own motivation for helping, be certain that you are not creating unhealthy dependencies in others, be certain that you are helping in a way that teaches people to fish and not to be continually dependent on you to eat, be certain to set loving boundaries, reasonable boundaries and no matter what, be authentically you and know, it’s okay to be you).  Okay, I’m really done with my rant now.  If you’ve got comments or stories to share on this topic, I’d love to hear them.  Take good care of you today and put yourself first, honor yourself first, love yourself first and then you can truly love, honor and help others in a healthy way.  Peace!

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