My people pleasing tendencies are firmly grounded in doubts about being enough. I grew up feeling like nothing I did was good enough. I kept trying to do more, but I never could find the magic trick that would make everyone happy. If you do this for long enough, you start to think something’s wrong with you.
I remember when I went to therapy after my dad died, one of the therapists I spoke with pointed out that I felt like I couldn’t please anyone growing up an nothing much seemed to have changed, even though I was an adult on the cusp of thirty. This obviously wasn’t something I wanted to hear at the time. Who wants to hear that you’re the people may have changed, but the challenges remain the same?
It’s been almost 13 years since I had that conversation with my therapist. I’m happy to say that I am not the same people pleasing person I was back then. That doesn’t mean that I don’t still have moments. The difference is now it’s just a place I visit every once in a while rather than somewhere I live. What made the difference? Realizing that the people who may say or do things that make you feel less than are the ones with the problem, not me.
Once I realized that the only person whose happiness I am responsible for is my own, things really started to change. I finally understand that I could fly to the moon and back but that won’t make anyone happy if they choose to be miserable. That’s the thing isn’t it? How we feel at any given moment is a choice. There was a time where I chose to feel like I was less than, never able to meet the expectations of others. It made me angry and resentful because I didn’t know what else I needed to do to make things better.
Now I get that it’s really not about me at all! As long as I feel good about the things that I’m doing, that’s all that matters. I can’t wait for validation from family, friends or complete strangers for that matter. If we rely on the positive reinforcement of others, we can be left feeling like we never accomplish anything of meaning or substance, and that is not the case.
We all have something of value to contribute. The important thing is to do the best you can at whatever it is you’re doing. Focus on you and your happiness. Misery may love company, but greatness is contagious. When you do what you need to do for your personal growth, development and happiness, you can inspire others to do the same. They may choose not to, and that’s okay. The important thing is to that you feel good about the work you’re doing every day. ♥
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