This is a subtle, yet malignant problem. Before you know it, the effects of it have spread into every area of your life. Now, if you realize while reading that this isn't you, then that is awesome. But, please keep reading because you may know someone who needs you to pass this note along to them.
What we are talking about here are people pleasers. The effects of which lower self-value and worth. When this is surrendered to the will, benefit and whims of others, only fragments of self fulfillment and discovery can be achieved.
Because I saw people pleasing as a norm early in life, I assumed the role myself. I equated being "nice" with being "good." To boot, I was taught to always put others first and that I would in turn always be in good favor. What wasn't placed in context was what it meant to put others first and where to create boundaries. I literally became so selfless, that I regularly didn't sleep, get paid what I was worth or at all, or make time to have regular rituals that fed my selfcare and fulfillment. My other full-time job was "people". I inundated my life with "other people's stuff." Shamefully, I never even considered the response "No", to be an option for nearly any request of my time and even talent. Everybody "loved" me because I was enabling.
Somehow, in the back of my mind, I thought people would have the grace to see that at times, I was overwhelmed and not ask for so much of me. It took years and tears and near deconstruction, for me to take my final blow and change my self-pleasing ways. No longer could my cool, calm and collected demeanor be the guise of a person, unhappy with life because she was not living into her own God-given gifts. I was exhausted because all of this over-time left no time for me to realize, conceptualize and bring to life the leaping seeds of success that awaited inside me. I was overdue in the worst way, and eventually I was pressure cooked to the point of no return.
Although this seems like an awful place to be, it was life teaching me what no one else could, perhaps because of my nature and my nurture, I would not have heard it. Nevertheless, one thing that is for sure, is if you are listening and willing, life will teach you- it has been so designed.
So, Reader, learning a new way is both exciting and scary-exciting, because I was afforded more time to do bring forth great fruit. It is scary because I had to release those who thought my self preservation was mean; a sudden selfishness. It begins with the desire for others to be happy and never experience sadness because of my own, my parents' and witnessing specifically my maternal parent's reaction to others. But it ends with compromise itself being entitled to your dreams and purpose- as if you do not have the same rights as others.
So, if this is remotely you, I say map a plan to your freedom- your own underground railroad to freedom from "people". Strategically and with sobriety and grace, learn to be truthful to your self about your limits. Then express that honesty to others. When you can help others without completely compromising your life, then help from you may be warranted. And there are times when giving selflessly is also warranted. But, when there are other options, preserve and enrich your life so that you are inherently an asset to others.
I hope this note reminds you that while you are loving others, do not forget about your self care. If you have a friend who needs this reminder, please pass the note along.
Grace and Love,