Are you a “People Pleaser”? If you are, then it is likely that you are living your life according to others’ standards at the cost of your own. Pleasing others is exhausting, and it simply fails as a formula for your true measure or happiness. How so? Because others expectations are either changing or dreadfully stuck, and then one is constantly second, third, fourth and fifth-guessing if one has said the right thing, or sent the proper thank you gift, or impressed the ‘right people’. Pleasing others is setting yourself up as ‘not-so-mighty mouse’ on a treadmill, now called, ‘your life’, with ‘the others’ hand at the wheel. It’s mental suicide eventually.
Do I sound dramatic? I hope so, because it is drama. A whole crowd of people and their words or opinions, mostly authority figures-especially those of our families (generationally as well), government and teachers-live in our minds and have told us from ago zero how to think, react, judge and achieve. Some of us have been told who is bright and gifted and who is not. Some of us have been told who to marry, and who not to marry. Some of us have been told which jobs are respectable and which ones aren’t. Some of us have been told what class or race of people are respectable and which ones are not. And to gain approval of those authority figures or others who we seek approval from, whether conscious or unconsciously, changes the way we think about ourselves and the choices we make.
It took me many more years before I ever realized how programmed I had become to think, react and judge. I had not wanted to understand how deeply I had lived my life in fear of not pleasing others, especially my family. If I chose to please myself, to free myself, I’d have to free myself from a prison of limitations, that were now self-imposed, a life of 40 years, automatic to the conditionings of my life. It is then that I stood in my heart’s voice and chose to become a yoga instructor. It is then that I realized how far against the grain I was going and how many people I didn’t please or impress with my choices. I started to rid myself of the toxic icky guilt, shame or embarrassment I’d felt as a result of those who had knowingly or unknowingly ‘de-valued’ me or my potential. But their eyes no longer mattered. I had started looking inward. And, I found a little girl who just loves and wants to be loved, without condition of acceptance or not. And I’m lovin’ her, have accepted her and allowing her to flourish as she now so chooses. Because that little girl’s heart has wings attached, and we both want to learn how to fly!
Are you a People Pleaser? Who do you please and why? And at what cost?