I have spent most of my life as a people pleaser. People pleasing is a fool’s game, an impossible task. I have always been worried about how everyone else is going and sometimes running myself into the ground to make sure everyone is okay. I am coming to understand that it is just not possible to protect everyone from suffering or hardship and that in fact, I am doing people a disservice when trying to resolve things for them.
You just aren't privy to the life lessons and growth in store for a person. To do something for them or to do something they feel they need you to do to ease their pain may very well steal from them the sense of achievement and self belief they need. A belief that they are able to take care of themselves. It is only from this self belief that the seed of confidence can be planted, nurtured and grow.
This people pleasing habit used to leave me feeling quite anxious. Whenever someone would ask something of me, I was immediately at attention, trying to work out how I could best serve. It generally wasn’t a problem to me until a few things started banking up. Instead of understanding that I don’t have to be and/or do everything, that I could just say ‘Sorry, I can’t help this time.’, I would push myself to the brink.
One morning this passed week, my husband asked me where some documents he wanted were. At the time I was getting ready for work, but I immediately stopped what I was doing to look. Half way through my search, it occurred to me what had just happened. I asked my husband if he had already looked for these forms but he confessed that he had not. This one action in itself is no big deal but when you add this one action by this one person with actions and other people, things can get out of control.
I was talking to someone the other day who mentioned they had adjusted the number of times they devoted to loved ones. I remember feeling really proud of this person for making the effort needed to take such good care of themselves. I saw clearly the impact this one small adjustment from this person would have on their life and the life of those around them. It occurred to me that I am not this accepting and kind to myself. How is it that I can see the benefit for someone else to set boundaries but not myself? Awareness is the first step in bringing about change.
My husband is the opposite to me. It really stood out to me when we went away together with our children for a holiday. I noticed that whenever it was time to get on a bus or a train, my husband was always first on-board and I was last. He makes sure his needs are met first where as I tend to make sure we are all together and everyone makes it.
My husband is generally a happy go lucky kind of guy, he doesn’t get too bothered by too much and he knows how to have a bit of fun along the way. These traits are fairly well lacking within myself and I am coming to see the benefit in his approach. I’m not sure how it works, but I see that we, being polar opposites maybe bringing each other somewhere closer to a happy medium.
Whenever I become aware of something I need to change or address within myself, I delve into what is at the core of whatever it is I have to change. It is not until this acknowledgement takes place that the issue can be resolved and in turn released. In the case of setting boundaries and sometimes even saying ‘Sorry I can’t help this time.’, or 'Sorry, I can't make it today.'. It occurred to me that there were still issues around worthiness that need to be healed.
This is where frustration and impatience can set in, but it is important to understand that there is no such thing as a quick fix and things will come up in their own time. Once upon a time I would have most certainly become frustrated because I thought my worthiness issues were in the past, however I choose to be grateful for whatever layers and shades of issues that come to the conscious for healing. For with each new issue that is healed, leaves space for more of what I desire for my future. I see very clearly that my healing is making way for my dreams to come true.
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