Tackling my propensity to people-please is not new. It seems I've been struggling with it for years.
Just last year, I made "People Pleasing" my habit to give up for Lent. I'm not sure that I really made any giant changes -- though I did end up giving myself permission to re-order my own world. To put myself in a position where I would be less aware of things (or sometimes people) that irritated or hurt me.
I think the greatest value of it was that I really dug into the reasons behind my need to people please -- or more accurately, my insistence on letting other people's opinions matter so much -- and I began to understand it a little more -- and to get accustomed to the idea and the belief that not everyone's opinions had to matter.
Which put me in a great place for the next step of the journey.
A friend recommended the book, The Life-changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck, by Sarah Knight,... and I'm really glad I picked it up. I know some of you are likely turned off by the title... and honestly, if language is something that you can't take, this isn't the book for you. Girl uses the F-word more often than I use the word, "the." No, I'm serious.
She talks a bit about not caring what other people think of you -- but I was glad that I had walked down that road myself last year. She kind of glosses over the "how" or the "why"... and is just sort of flamboyantly 'Do it!' I'm the kind of person who needs to understand WHY doing something or letting go of something is so hard -- so I was okay with the glossing, but grateful that I had already done that work.
This sounds simple... but it was a lot harder than I had anticipated. At first, it was hard to think of things -- and I honestly think that it's because we're not trained to do it. We're trained to grin and bear. We're trained not to make a fuss. We're trained to not rock the boat, to go along. I was surprised at how many things there were that I usually said, "Well... it's not that bad... so I'll just do it." Once I learned to recognize that, I began to see all the places that I did it, and it came a little easier.
And then, you give yourself permission to let those things go -- to say, "it's totally okay that I don't care about this... and I'm not going to be mean, but I'm not going to let myself get roped into pretending anymore either."
So far... this has been really freeing. Maybe it's been only small things so far, but I feel like I have more emotional energy.
I spoke to someone that hates me. And I didn't die.
I didn't forward a chain letter.... And I had no guilt.
I swore off all Pampered Chef/Candles/Leggings/Whatever parties.
I find I'm talking to myself a lot, and saying... "You know... you don't actually have to bother with this."
I let go of a lot more... but I am finding that the more I let go, the more room I find for the things that I really do care about -- and suddenly, those things have homes again.