For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a pleaser. When things got shitty in my family, I was the peace maker. When things were good, I was easy-going. I was whatever anybody needed me to be at any given time. I followed directions, I tried to do well in school, and for the most part, I stayed the straight and narrow. I wanted to be liked. I wanted to conform. I wanted to make everyone happy. I would stop at nothing to make sure that happened. All at the expense of myself.
When you’re a pleaser, people reward you for that. They tell you you’re the nicest person they’ve ever met. They tell you you’re so giving and so thoughtful. And because pleasers just want to be liked, they begin to believe that they have to portray this part, and only this part, or else people might jump ship.
There have been too many times in my life when I’ve pretended to be happy when I wasn’t. I’ve pretended my feelings weren’t hurt when they were shattered. I’ve put on a smile when all I wanted to do was scream. I’ve agreed with someone’s ridiculous opinion instead of challenging it. All because I knew I could handle my uncomfortable emotions and wanted to save somebody else from their’s.
It doesn’t mean that I’m not still super nice. It doesn’t mean that I’m not still incredibly thoughtful and giving. I am all of those things. I’m just not those things all the time like people want me to be. In fact, like most humans, I have a wide range of emotions. I even have a temper (gasp!), and it can come out pretty easily if I’m comfortable around you.
Here’s a scenario.
Say you’ve been looking forward to some down time all week. The moment has finally come when you’re going to do whatever you do during that down time. But the minute you get to that moment, your phone rings. It’s that person. The person who wears you out every time you talk to them. The person who takes and takes and rarely gives anything in return. You know they’ve been struggling lately, so you feel guilty for not answering. So what do you do? Well say you don’t answer right away. You let it ring. But then they call back, and this time they leave a voicemail. Okay, fine. You’ll just listen to the voicemail just to make sure everything is okay. They sound so sad. They just need to talk. They need you. So what do you do? You push your needs aside and you fucking call them back. Your down time has just flown out the window and any energy you had left goes right along with it.
People pleasers who are also moms have to stop doing this. We have to get off the train. Put our foot down. Stop trying to serve everybody else besides our little people who need us. Why?
1. It Sucks.
I mean, what else do I need to say about it? Trying to be something to everyone all the time sucks. And you know that no one takes care of you the way you take care of other people, so you get the absolute short end of the stick. Every time.
Our well-being depends on us taking a break and taking care of ourselves.
2. It’s Draining.
Aren’t we tired enough? Shit yeah we are. We’re exhausted. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. If we spread ourselves so thin to the point of resentment and exhaustion, it’s for one reason and one reason only: because we think we should. It’s rarely (if ever) because we want to.
As moms we already do too much. We must stop doing too much.
3. Losing Your Mind Isn’t Fun.
When I’m at my limit with pleasing all the people, eventually the suppressed emotions start spilling out everywhere, usually all over my family. Not only am I trying to do it all, but I’m also trying to hide how much I hate doing it all. The second I blow my top, everyone is staring at me with bug eyes wondering what the mother-f just happened. “You seemed fine an hour ago.”
Well, that’s where you’re wrong.
4. Boundaries are Good!
Boundaries are super duper hard to establish. They take work and self-awareness and those don’t always come easy. No one likes when you start taking away pieces of yourself that were beneficial to them. You may hate it at first too, because you’re gonna start feeling all guilty for saying “no,” or “I can’t help you,” or “stop sucking the life out of me.” But once the boundaries are established, your life will get sooooo much easier.
5. You’re Already Fabulous.
Look, I get it. As pleasers we try to please because we want to keep the peace. We don’t want to be the reason that someone else gets mad or hurt or inconvenienced. And we want people to like us because our self-worth may be wrapped up in that. But let me tell you this (which is also something I’m telling myself on this people pleasing recovery process): YOU’RE FABULOUS! And you don’t need anyone’s approval or appreciation except the people who already approve of and appreciate you. The people who don’t? Well, fuck em.
One last thing. If this thought has ever come up, “But if I don’t do XYZ, nobody else will, and everything will fall apart,” well, then you especially need to find a new way. It’s not easy, and it takes work (sometimes a looooot of work). But when you shift, it forces other people to shift too. So I don’t know. It might be worth giving a try.
Take care of yourself.
Ur a Mom Now.
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