Growing up were you a people pleaser? Did you want people to like you? How do you go now?
I was this child and even this adult. Over the past months I have been working a lot on coming back in to alignment with my motivators. Truly understanding them. Getting rid of thoughts and stories (I’m not calling them beliefs) which no longer serve. But the need to keep people happy stuck around.
Now don’t confuse this with a fear that no one likes me. I know people don’t like me and I’m totally ok with that. I’m not afraid of people not liking me, I don’t want everyone to like me because I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.
Keeping people happy is about not disappointing, it’s about meeting their expectations, it’s about putting their needs above mine.
Perhaps it’s a first-born thing, perhaps it’s a girl thing. I don’t know. I do know it’s a “thing” I have to address.
This all came to a head over the weekend when I realised a situation I had gotten myself into was me needing to prove myself because I need to please. I realised a long time ago that things aren’t black and white, and the joy of being aligned with my values is that I also understand that there are many perspectives to the same scenario.
In this scenario, we had differing perspectives and in spite of me initially saying “I don’t need to prove my point”, the other person convinced me to explain my position under the guise of them wanting to know more and to be educated.
Ok, so some would say I was suckered in to it. I lost track of my core value of not needing to prove myself. What happened was this long held need to keep people happy and to help took over and I obliged.
To cut a long story short, that wasn’t their motive. They just wanted to prove their point and the more I talked the worse it got. Until I realised there was no keeping them happy as they were coming from their perspective and had no intention of looking at my perspective.
The issue with the need to prove ourselves or help is that we put the other person first and their motivators higher than our own. We give them power over us. Consider the following statements often spoken by those with a need to keep people happy:
“I’m sorry, I misunderstood…”
“I didn’t mean it that way…”
They are sentences which take us further away from ourselves and put the other person in an increasingly important position.
So I withdrew from the situation, knowing full well that it would look like they had proven their point. But what they didn’t realise and I had was that I had proven a more important point, to myself.
My need to help people is often manipulated by others to prove a point and that has them bound together. I will always help people, it’s who I am. However I am no longer the person who is prepared to put people ahead of myself. I am as important.
For some of you this will seem obvious, for others you may be wondering how I did it. It’s true that I have become very clear on what motivates me and I have disposed of the old stories I’ve heard or told myself through the years.
In coming back to the core of being me, I have learnt my place and my importance, this has seen me find my strength and I am growing to love my true self. It’s not a new self. I have always been this person, it’s just that through the years I have buried myself in stories and put others before me and my true self just won’t have that any more.