Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Just Say No (Confessions of a Former People Pleaser)

Hi! My name is Stephanie and I’m a former people pleaser. In my case, being a people pleaser didn’t just happen overnight.  I was born that way…it’s how I came into the world.  It’s how God made me.  And for a really long time (too long actually), I thought it was just “the way I am.”

I’m the oldest of five, so helping others and doing for others is second nature to me. I’ve always been the easy-going type (easy to get along with and positive), and I genuinely want everyone around me to be happy and content.  Classic traits of a people pleaser!  *Sidenote: Believe it or not, most people who have the “disease to please” are women.  Think about it…

I thought…saying no to someone made me less empathetic, less caring (less of a woman, maybe?) and slightly self-absorbed.  For years, I let “friends” drift in and out of my life as they pleased.  Only reconnecting with me when they wanted or needed something… I have to shake my head sometimes when I think about the woman I use to be.  I even laugh about it sometimes because at the end of the day, being a people pleaser is 100% preventable.  And I take full responsibility for not getting off the yes treadmill sooner.

on’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with pleasing people.  For me, helping someone or making someone smile unexpectedly or just being a positive influence in someone’s life is priceless. The problem arises when the need to please others consistently trump our own needs and wants. 

The light bulb finally came on for me. I had to learn to say no (politely, of course). It’s what I call the ‘yes’ diet. It’s not about stopping the pleasing altogether, it’s about being more aware and in tune with myself and my feelings.  It’s about doing more of what I want to do and less of what others think I should do.

t takes a lot of courage to say no sometimes.  It’s not always the easiest thing.  It can be uncomfortable, but it’s something I know I have to do.  It's not about being insensitive, selfish or unkind. Not at all!  For me it's pretty simple: Each "No" is a small step towards becoming a better "Me".  And I'm cool with that.....