Let’s be honest…it’s not only at this time of year and family togetherness when some of us struggle with people pleasing. And it’s not only with family; we can struggle with our boss, old friends, new acquaintances. Damn—even the nasty checker at the grocery store if we’re having a particularly challenging day.
One of the sources of the incessant need to please is fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, fear of judgment. And, depending on just how big this fear is, we can suppress a lot!
But at the end of the day, does it ever feel good to sublimate one’s needs or personality or goals for the sake of another? Short-term maybe, like really really short-term, but long-term definitely not at all.
In her song “Energy Budget”, Toni Jones sings, I’m done with people pleasing and attachment to making everyone happy with me. When I first heard those words, it was like being zapped. With a light sabre. By Obi-Wan. Simple, right? If only…
One way into this fear is not necessarily to attack the fear with a sledgehammer and replace it with false bravado, but rather to fill our lives with loving people who see us. Loving, generous, non-narcistic-non-selfish people who both share their own vulnerability and encourage us to share, who don’t tell us all the reasons we shouldn’t be upset or how they have it much worse or how they can fix us They just say—hey friend, you’re hurting. I’m here.
So that means it’s up to us to surround ourselves only by others that feel like honey, Jones sings.
What does that look like? Probably different for everyone, but basically, it looks like an inner barometer that tells us who feels right. It looks like not collecting well-wishers like we collected Girl-Scout badges. It looks like calling our energy back to us and sharing. Very. Sparingly. Very. It looks like not needing to solve others’ inability to take care of themselves. It looks like stopping inner-violent talk.
It’s work. It’s hard at times. Because some people are seriously not worth your time. But hey, we’re worth is. And to close, I share the closing lines’ of Jones’ song, I love people, but my energy tolerance budget? It’s hella bougie.