It’s just not going to happen and you’re only going to make yourself miserable in the process.
(This is not a tutorial. I lied.)
I am a people pleaser. I confess. Being a people pleaser doesn’t mean I’m a sheep, it doesn’t mean I’ll do anything to fit in. I’ve always kinda skipped to the beat of my own bongo and I’ve always been a little bit proud of that. But when it comes to the people closest to me, the people I love, respect and admire… Hell yes! I want to please them. For a good time I didn’t think there was much of a problem with this. I just wanted to make the people I cared about happy, what’s so wrong about that?
Because it’s impossible and you risk your own happiness and even your own identity whilst trying. Here’s why…
Scenario: It’s a party. Your parents, your best friend and your partner are going to be there.
- Your Mom bought you a new dress and she’s really hoping you’ll wear it to this event
- You promised your best friend you’d go in matching novelty crab outfits, because that’s the way you roll.
- Your partner is going to be there and shellfish really isn’t their thing plus there is a slinky black combo you know they are going to love.
What do you choose to wear?
The appropriate answer would be: Wear what you want to the party.
But if you’re a People Pleaser like me… you might not be able to see past your need to make others happy. You don’t even know what you want!
So…What do you do when you realise that you no longer know what you truly want?
What do you do when you realise you’re unable to make a choice that isn’t swayed by the desires of others?
What do you do when you come to the realisation that all your life’s decisions, from the way you dress to the hobbies you choose, are all influenced by the desire to please others?
YOU HAVE A GIANT IDENTITY CRISIS!
(seriously, who am I?)
You suddenly realise that all this time when you thought you were busy being your own person, really you were busy being everyone else’s person! Suddenly you find yourself in Julia Roberts’ shoes as the Runaway Bride, who doesn’t even know how she like’s her eggs!
One of the diagnostic symptoms for Borderline Personality Disorder is having an unstable self-image. When I was first Diagnosed with BPD, I (very loudly) disagreed with this part of the diagnosis. I know who I am! (She said as convincingly as she could)
“Unclear or unstable self-image. When you have BPD, your sense of self is typically unstable. Sometimes you may feel good about yourself, but other times you hate yourself, or even view yourself as evil. You probably don’t have a clear idea of who you are or what you want in life. As a result, you may frequently change jobs, friends, lovers, religion, values, goals, and even sexual identity.”
for more info on BPD click on the (Source)
I’ve come to grudgingly realise that this is true. My self-image is both unstable and unclear! And part of it is a consequence of me trying to please others.
Now, before making a decision I stop and think: “Am I making this decision for me?” which inevitably leads to another question: “Who am I and what do I want?” Usually I hear the tiny, scared voice deep inside of me utter the reply “I don’t know.”
Not knowing who you are can be a very unnerving sensation, and I don’t have a lot of advice on how to figure yourself out, after all… I’m still working out who I am. But I figure that if you ask the question “Am I making this personal choice for me?” enough times you’ll gradually start to see things a little clearer.*
Maybe keep a diary to keep your thoughts and decision-making on paper…
Or maybe write a blog… I hear some people do that.