Monday, April 25, 2011
I choose ME…
I am a chronic people pleaser. I am not sure when it started, maybe it is that middle child syndrome, maybe somewhere along the way I perceived that people liked me more when I did things for them. It only took me 40 years to see the light on this subject. In the past year or so I have become more aware of the people who are in my life seemingly because they need something.
"You need me to make cupcakes, by tomorrow morning? 8 dozen? No problem! I am pretty sure Kroger is open 24 hours."
Luckily, I only have a couple of people in my life that I would say take advantage of me. One is kind of a classic scenario. I do various marketing materials for them. They only call me when they need something. If I am in ever in need of anything from them, they are impossible to reach. Whenever I get a call from this person, I KNOW they are calling so I will do something for them. I politely engage in the small talk waiting for the shoe to drop. It has become comical because it is so predictable.
The other person is a little bit more of a sticky situation as it is a close family member who can be difficult to deal with at best. The problem with this family member is that other family members tend to get involved and call me wanting me to do something to help this person, knowing that I cannot do any more than they could themselves.
In case number one, that is sort of a no brainer. I just need to learn to say no. I actually had a conversation with this person over the weekend about it. I am not sure they took me seriously so we’ll see. It may just become a situation where I selectively answer the phone.
In case number two, there is some amount of guilt involved since it is a family member. I have tried to help this person for a number of years now and they really aren’t receptive to the help so I feel like I have done all I can in that regard.
To help with these situations, I have been reading up on how to stop being a people pleaser. One of the steps involves figuring out what you are afraid of that causes you to never say no. Are you afraid people won’t like you? If they don’t like the ‘new you’ that isn’t a pushover, you should ask yourself if they were worth having in your life to begin with? Another step is to stop basing your self worth on how much you do for other people. The greatest acts of kindness aren’t done out of guilt or fear, they are done by choice. If you are doing things for others because you would feel bad if you didn’t, is your action genuine? Lastly, learn how to say no. You don’t need to make up excuses. Tell the truth. If going to a particular concert or party isn’t your thing, just say so. Simply but politely.
I can’t say that I am 100% there; I am probably not even 50% there. I definitely struggle with being a people pleaser. I guess that is the beauty of getting older, you start to worry less about what people think. I am starting to make strides so that is a great start. Recognizing the problem is half the battle, right?