One night as I lay on my bathroom floor at the height of my quarterlife crisis, I had an epiphany. For 27 years I had been chasing after things I thought I wanted. But in that moment, with all of the things that I had used to define myself stripped away, I realized I had no clue who I was. I did not have the answer to “Who am I?” because I was always trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be. I had spent my life being a people pleaser, constantly seeking approval and validation from outside sources.
Can you relate? Are you concerned about what other people think of you? Do you often make decisions based on what you think will please others? Does your sense of self-worth come from the approval of others? Do you look to others to tell you who to be? Are you buying into the misunderstanding that someone else knows you better than you do?
Believe me, I get it. All it takes one small experience of feeling criticized, not liked or thinking we’ve upset someone to create the big consequence of becoming a people pleaser. In an instant, we become more committed to pleasing others rather than being ourselves. Plus, our egos love to be liked, approved and validated. It is natural to want to fit in because it feels safer.
But constantly trying to please others and fit in is not only exhausting, it moves us further and further away from the truth of who we are. Then at some point we awaken to the fact that we have disconnected from our Authentic Self and trust me, that is a rude awakening.
You may think being a people pleaser makes you a “good” person and is perhaps even a generous or loving way to be. But I strongly disagree. From my point of view it’s very selfish to be a people pleaser. Why? Because being attached to pleasing others is really about you. You are the one who wants to be liked. You are the one who does not want to upset anyone. You are the one protecting yourself from confrontation. And you are the one who is choosing to withhold expressing who you TRULY are. And by doing all of those things, you are keeping Yourself, your Light and your Love from the world – and that is selfish.
Obsessing about how to please others or be liked is a misuse of your energy. If you are making it your business – your focus is all about you. More accurately said, it’s all about your ego.
Imagine if you could take all of the energy you expend on pleasing or impressing others and refocus it on being of service, sharing your gifts and expressing your true self.
And if you think you don’t know who that is, I assure you that you do. You have just forgotten because you’ve been so invested in playing it safe. To help you remember, I invite you to revisit the “who am I” exercise.
You don’t want to make decisions about your future based on what you think others want from you, do you? Wouldn’t you rather build a future that YOU want? If your answer is yes, have the courage to stop fearing what other people think of you and your choices. That fear is stopping you from being you, and clarity only comes in when we are aligned with who we are. I encourage you to take a big step today toward clarity and confidence by filling in the blanks to this statement, “If I let go of caring what _______ thinks, I would ________.”
And now go do it!!! The more you like yourself, the more pleasing you will be to other people.
Christine Hassler has broken down the complex and overwhelming experience of recovering from disappointment into a step-by-step treatment plan in her new book Expectation Hangover. This book reveals the formula for how to process disappointment on the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual levels to immediately ease suffering. Instead of wallowing in regret, self-recrimination, or anger, we can see these experiences as catalysts for profound transformation and doorways that open to possibility. You can find more info on her website, and follow her on Twitter and FB.
Image courtesy of tpsdave.