There is something really satisfying about helping others isn’t there? I don’t know about anyone else, but when I see that something I’ve done makes another person’s life better, it feels great! I will go out of my way to help others. They don’t even need to be family or friends, it can be a stranger. In fact, in our house, one of our Christmas traditions is to have an empty place setting for the “lonely traveler”. Our Christmas dinner has expanded to include 7 lonely travelers (2 families) every year! So, helping others makes me feel good and it expands my sense of community. So where’s the down-side?
Once upon a time I think I would have been considered’ a people pleaser. While being kind, compassionate and helpful are wonderful attributes, there is a down-side:
1) “Yes Man / Woman”: As a people pleaser it can be very hard to say no to anyone. In my life that has meant that at many points I have had too many projects on the go. Being stretched in 20 different directions, for other people. What is worse is that this is a good way to ensure you do nothing well and please no one. Even worse, I was doing 20 projects that, when I really think about it, I didn’t enjoy! So I was left doing a poor job on 20 projects that I was not interested in, for other people. My experience – That is a terrible way to spend my time.
2) “Opinionless”: Ever been in a conversation with a people pleaser? They are very agreeable. In fact, previously, I would find it easy to agree to the opinions of whoever I was talking to. The result? Once I started agreeing with the many other opinions of my friends I really had very little to say on my own. I think conversation with me might have become uninspiring, and almost certainly did not force my friends or myself to think about things any differently. An even deeper problem from my experience is this: The more you take on other people’s opinions, the harder it is to find your own. When you internalize these different opinions it also creates a constant struggle to understand yourself. It becomes difficult to hear your own voice because it is being drowned out by everyone elses’. I found my self-confidence eroded and I continued to make decisions that were not in-line with my own personal values.
Worst of all, it really isn’t hard to see how people get to this place. Somewhere along the way, the people pleaser has learned a survival map that says – the best way to stay safe is to take care of others.
So, the questions I want to put out to the people pleasers of the world is this:
Are you ready to make 2015 the year you get to be you? Are you ready to hold on to your own beliefs, place your value based goals at the top of your priority list? To do the things you want to do and be the person you want to be?
It’s a tall order, when you’ve learned one way to stay safe. Are you ready to learn a new way? Hopefully in this site you can find all the tools you need to let you be you!
Happy New Year!