Not too long ago, I cared more about other people’s opinions, comfort, and well-being than my own. And it was stifling my career.
I developed this serious obsession with people pleasing. The idea was lodged in my head that I am not supposed to “take too much”, “ask too much”, and “make sure I don’t rock the boat”. I said yes to obligations because I truly didn’t know how to say no. My time was no longer mine. If this makes sense to you, keep reading…
I found this article to be helpful when explaining what exactly characterizes a people pleaser and why it exists. For me, I became a yes person because I didn’t want to be rejected. It pained me to be criticized or told I was doing something wrong. That stemmed from long years of emotional and physical abuse and lack of love growing up. So it made sense why, even as an adult, I carried this deep yearning to make everyone around me happy and love me. However, it got to a point that it was unhealthy how often I strived to make other’s happy.
The breaking point
For me, the breaking point was when my own quality of life had diminished. I allowed other people’s comfort and opinions direct my day. My life felt like a series of obligations. I was constantly stressed, and my own physical health was slowly depleting.
It got to the point I was so consumed by making other’s happy and looking “perfect” that:
- I wouldn’t leave my apartment midday to work out because I worried what the neighbors would think.
- I’ve stopped myself from applying to certain campaigns because I didn’t think I was qualified enough and couldn’t make the brand happy.
- I would stop myself from asking for a certain amount of compensation for a job because I didn’t want to ask for “too much”. I ended up under earning and doing a lot of work for free.
- I ruined romantic relationships because close friends and family’s opinions of the person weighed more on my heart than my own.
- Laslty, I wasted a lot of time! Time spent running around, bending over backward, helping people who had no interest in ever helping me in return.
Talk about rock bottom. My own actions were destroying all hopes of being happy. It was not easy to admit to myself I was doing these things. Nor was it easy to really look at all the ways I treated myself poorly. It’s not easy to even write this now!
When I realized I was worth a heck of a lot more, changes began to happen naturally.
Like with everything I hit a breaking point and realized there needed to be a shift. I didn’t need to make a physical change of removing everyone in my life, moving, or anything else extreme. I had to make an internal change. Which was to value who I am, my talents, my time, my personality, all my quirks, all my good attributes, and all my flaws. Placing my opinion, comfort, and well-being first (not in an egotistical way, but a self-respecting means) was a game changer.
What happened? At first, it felt really uncomfortable. Many panic attacks the first few go around in declining invites, or work that wouldn’t pay my base fees. I cringed everytime I had to say no to friends.
But after awhile, I began feeling lighter. The stress wasn’t there anymore like it once had. My time was back and allowed me to cook, go to the gym, walk around the neighborhood, do things that make me incredibly happy. I even had time to read a book!
What it is like now
Now, it is a lot easier to say no. It is easier to put obligations into perspective and see if it is truly worth my time and energy. I don’t work for free or underearn. When I see that I am slipping into that old routine again, I make adjustments immediately. I step back and think what’s really going to make me feel better and a better individual over all.
The biggest eye opener was when I realized I am not here on Earth to “please” anyone else. As long as I am happy, not hurting anyone, and in my heart know I am doing the best I can, that’s all the matters. The truth is people pleasing or being a doormat is not beneficial to anyone.
Believe me, I still receive other people’s opinions on my life without asking on a daily basis. I receive judgment, guilt trips, basically everything I was trying to avoid by people pleasing. That’s probably never going to change. But instead of internalizing it, I step back and remember we are all flawed doing the best we can and that any judgment I receive is just how they view themselves. It’s not to be taken personally.
I hope this helps! Just remember, you are worthy and deserve a big life. Leave a comment below if this is something you needed to read today and if you want me to share more on how I replenished my self-worth.