I am a “recovering” People Pleaser

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Jun
6

Have you ever told yourself a “story” and then later found out that it wasn’t true? You made it up in your mind and really believed it. It may be “He/she is really going to be angry with me or what kind of friend am I or he doesn’t love me.” It is amazing the stories we can make up in our minds. Can you relate?

I am a “recovering people pleaser” also known as a codependent. I sometimes still get triggered, but can usually catch it quickly, and for this I am grateful. Similar to a recovering alcoholic who hasn’t drank in years, he may be in a situation where he is tempted to pick up a drink. I was tempted to pick up an old behavior.

People pleasing was a way of life for me for many years. I put others’ needs before my own at the expense of myself because I thought that was being loving. I was taught that putting my needs first was selfish. I know today that I had it backwards. How could I love another when I didn’t love myself?

I remember years ago when I went out to lunch with a friend it would go something like this. “Where do you want to go for lunch? I don’t care, where do you want to go for lunch?” I may not have even known what I wanted so it was easier to just defer to what they wanted. It was also uncomfortable to have anyone angry at me so I would just go along with what they wanted.

I was given an opportunity this week to see my “story” and choose not to people please, and to put my wants/needs first. My friend and I had made plans to go out for the day, but hadn’t set the time. I wanted to leave at a certain time and she wanted to do something different. Neither was right or wrong, just different preferences. I texted her before I went to bed and said, “Since we are on a different timetable and I don’t want you to feel rushed, why don’t we drive our own cars and meet up when we get there.”

When I woke up the next morning, my “story” started to unfold quite loudly. It was like this inner bully saying, “She’s going to be angry with you that you suggested we take our own cars, what kind of friend are you that you had to leave at that time?” I felt guilty and wrong.

The old people pleasing behaviors were kicking in. Her needs were more important than mine. Feeling guilty is a red flag for me that I am not aligned with Spirit. I was able to recognize old behaviors, change the” story” and tell myself the truth. I hadn’t done anything wrong by speaking up for myself and stating what I wanted to do. After I processed it, I felt relieved, peaceful and back in my power.

What I have learned is that my needs are important and that it is self-care, not selfish. Of course, there are times when I CHOOSE to put another’s needs before my own. The difference is that it is a CHOICE and not out of guilt.

Where I looked “outside” for others to love and approve of me, I now go “inside” and give myself the love, approval and appreciation I deserve.

When I opened her text in the morning and got her message, I laughed at myself for my “story” that she would be angry at me. She responded to my suggestion of taking our own cars with “PERFECT.”

Thank you Spirit for the opportunity to see my growth and to see my “story” that wasn’t true. There is an even deeper “story” that many of us tell ourselves and that is that we are separate from God and we are alone. The truth is we are all connected and we are all ONE.

What is your “story” and is it time to change it?

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Pat Hastings

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