Posted in Think About it Thursday

People Pleasing

 

As a recovering people pleaser, I have done tons of self-reflection on why I do what I do.  The jury is still out on that, but I’m no longer as concerned about why.  I just want to stop.  I do okay for a while and then I relapse.  I have noticed that it is easier to stop with certain people and not so easy with others.  I am constantly saying that you teach people how to treat you.  I realized that my people pleasing tendencies have taught people how to treat me.  More importantly I have taught them that they are able to use my urge to please to their advantage.

I have made a list of the things that go through my mind in the middle of my people pleasing thoughts.  I have found that my thoughts are really based on nothing.  As mentioned previously, this people pleasing behavior only comes into play with only one or two people.  Actually most who know me would be shocked that I struggle with this.  I generally give little thought about what others think, but my desire to please or not make a certain few uncomfortable has honestly stunted my personal growth.

I think all people pleasers need to examine their reasons.  Here the list of questions I asked myself:

 

Question:  What is my true motivation?

Answer:  Duh, to please another person.  This led me to ask myself another question.  Why?  I realized that I didn’t want any conflict with that person.  The person I didn’t want any conflict with is a huge part of my life.  I interact with this person on an almost daily basis and I love this person.  There is a certain degree of “I want to please this person because I fear not doing so would cause that person to think less of me.”  After thinking about this for a while I realized that although I may disappoint that person, that person will not stop loving me.  That person has been disappointed or upset with me before.  So what if it happens again.  Is it really as big of a deal as I have worked it up to be in my head?  I began to realize the root of my people pleasing is fear.  That fear is often based on what I think may happen.  I need to learn to deal with others disappointment rather than avoiding it.  So my motivation to please is based on what I fear may happen.

 

Question:  Why am I worried about what they are going to say?

Answer:  First of all, who is “they” (also known as “people)?  “People” and “they” are our own reservations and insecurities.  We are just putting a name of group of nameless people to an issue we are not willing to address ourselves. Are they even important enough to really be concerned about?  So what if they do talk.  They will talk anyway.  This is something I have gotten over, but I feel people pleasers generally stress over the ubiquitous “they.”  What I have learned is that if I am concerned about the “they/people”, that is a personal concern of mine. This thing may be something I am not quite comfortable with.  It may be something that requires a bit of a risk, so I want to be let off the hook.  What lets me off the hook is blaming my dependence on the “they”.  This finding led me to my next question.

 

Question:  Am I making excuses?

Answer:  Sometimes.  I will admit it has been easy to say that I don’t want to do something because I don’t want to rock a boat, but in actuality I’m just scared.  I have noticed this when I verbalize my decision to do or not to do something to another person who I am certain to share my view.  Once I get that confirmation, I feel that have been let off the hook.  I use people pleasing as an excuse because, unfortunately many people can relate to it and often find it acceptable.

 

What I have learned is my people pleasing has been rooted in fear.  As I have started to break a lot of my people pleasing habits I have realized that when I fight against the urge to please, the results and reactions are not as drastic as a I thought they would be.  Of course certain people did not like certain decisions, but that’s life.  No disavowals, or broken relationships.  Life simply goes on as usual.  Once I began to hold fast to my own decisions, I got little to no interference, not two cents were thrown into the mix.  It was just accepted.

I would like to continue to challenge all of us to examine hour people pleasing tendencies.  Let’s get to the root of it and grow beyond it.

Posted in Write On Wednesday

Write on Wednesday #58

 

Today’s Writing Prompt:  Use your phone.

 

I am constantly commenting on how much we are tied to our phones both literally and figuratively.  I work in higher education, and I remember when I was a student sitting outside on campus on a nice day with a book and seeing other students doing the same.  Now everyone is on their phones.  I must admit that I spend a great deal of time on my phone as well.  So for this writing prompt, we will put our phones to use.

For this writing prompt, take a picture or text from your phone and write a story about it.  Make up an entirely different situation or expand on it.

 

Posted in Tea Talk Tuesday

Intention

Intention has been coming up a lot lately in conversations with my friends.  Intention along with authenticity and integrity are the keys to living a life of freedom.  As I write this, I feel that is enough to say, but I can go on to how I came about this realization in my own life.

I have stated many times that I went through a season of unfortunate events.  During that time, I felt that I would never get a break.  It seemed one bad thing was happening after another.  I began to question everything.  I began to question my choices of friends, decisions, and commitments.  That is when I began to examine my intentions.  First, I began to look at my friendships.  I had and still have a pretty tight and small circle of friends.  I did not put much thought or emphasis on my friendships at the time because the friendships I had were many years in the making.  The friendships I had were over 20 years old.  I didn’t question those because they had lasted so long how could there be anything wrong with them?  It was not until my season of unfortunate events had ended that I was able to see the true nature of some of my relationships.  I began to notice that some of my friends were very present in my life when things were at their worst.  I got phone calls everyday. At the time, I thought it was wonderful.  I had a friend who was ready and willing to listen to my problems and I am thankful for it to this day.  It was what I needed at the time.  It wasn’t until my season of unfortunate events ended that I realized all the support, check-ins, and attention began to be replaced with something else.  I was then faced with out of nowhere confrontations, discouragement, and negativity.  All of this was confusing to me as I thought  friends would be happy for my life to take a much more positive and happy turn.  It seemed that every good thing I shared was quickly shot down.  Every new opportunity I shared was met with warnings and dissuasion.  Where was the celebration?  I thought friends would  be happy for their friends. It seemed to me that it was my misery that was attracting certain friends’ attention.  True friendship was not their intention.  There was some joy and comfort they found in my struggles, but not in my happiness.

As my life and the circumstances around it began to improve quickly and exponentially, that particular “friendship” began to weaken until eventually all contact ended.  Although the relationship has endured for well over 25 years, surprisingly, I didn’t miss it.  I began to realize that over the years there have been several instances when I was in a happy season, that particular person would find a reason to be absent.  That same person would come back into my life and seem somewhat disappointed when things were going well.  I also noticed that while I shared, participated, and supported my friend’s endeavors, the same was not reciprocated.  The absence of longing for that relationship was validation to me that that particular person’s intention was not in line with what I considered friendship.  My intention created what I had believed was a friendship, but the other person apparently did not have the same intention. To everything there is a season.  The same goes for relationships.

Now I am at a wonderful place and things are better and better everyday.  I am examining my intentions.  I am deliberate and focused.   Life is so much easier.  Decision making is effortless.  There is little to no back and forth in my mind as my actions are motivated by clear intention.