In the not-so-distant past I’ve had trouble with is that I want everybody to love me, and because of this, I don’t think I’ve been my most authentic self around people. I was a people pleaser. I sought the approval of people who really shouldn’t shape my behavior (family, friends, acquaintances I met at the kids’ school). Usually people pleasers have low self-esteem and self-worth. It’s just not realistic for everyone to like me.
The only person I should care about liking me is me. And maybe my husband.
I’m tired of thinking, “Oh, is this person mad at me? Did I do something wrong? Do I need to apologize?”
I would actually go through my texts or social media posts to see if I posted something offensive or controversial. That’s nuts, and it’s no way to live. I don’t want the responsibility for how others feel anymore. Rejection, if that’s what it is, is OK.
I’m a good person — a nice person. I’m kind, generous and I love hard. If someone doesn’t like me, fine. I think I’m great. It just took me a really long time to get here.
I look back and think of some of my therapy appointments. It was really hard admitting that I’m a good person, and it was unbelievably hard saying something nice about myself or even discussing the good things happening in my life.
I’m tired of that, though. I’m tired of overanalyzing my behaviors and social media posts. I’m also tired of freaking out when I think someone is mad. Just because they’re mad doesn’t mean I did anything wrong. It makes me avoid conflict, and that’s not healthy either.
I’m not for everybody. And that’s OK. I just want to be me — an advocate for mental health, lover of the F word, a “bleeding heart” liberal, an anxious (and sometimes very depressed) person, a kind hearted person who sings no matter where she goes, someone who will admit when she’s wrong, someone I cherish for all these reasons and more.
It’s a long road to love yourself, and I’m no means close to the finish line on that, but I feel it starts with letting go of the idea that you have to please everybody.
I’m an amazing person for so many reasons, but one think I’m not that I need to remind myself of is — I’m not for everyone. I’m for me.
My tips on how to stop people pleasing:
- Be OK with saying “No”
- Accept who you are, with no exceptions
- Know that it’s OK if not everybody likes you
- Practice self-care
- Don’t place more importance others’ opinions than yours
- Set priorities and only do things that will advance those priorities
- Ditch toxic personalities
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