Confessions of an ex-People Pleaser

I debated writing this on and off, but I realized this may be a call for freedom to some of you. For a long time I had this horrendous belief that being a good person and doing good meant that I needed to please other people in order to do that. That meant that if someone had a request or a need, I would fill it. I became the go-to girl for everything. 

Disclaimer: pleasing people is okay in moderation. Here’s what’s not okay: losing yourself and your needs in the middle of the chaos of being everything to everyone else. Not cool.

So throughout the process of becoming “perfect” to everyone else, I was missing out on things I enjoyed. I missed being myself and acting like myself without this made up mind game that I played with myself of being perfect all the time and doing and saying the right things. 

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Those who matter don’t mind and those who don’t matter mind?” In other words, people who actually love you for who you are and accept that you are never going to be perfect are the people who aren’t going to mind if you slip up or say no to something. Simple as that. 

So is this really anything enlightening? Maybe not. Maybe this is simply an invitation for you to spend some quiet time in your thoughts or in prayer and just think about these few questions. 

  1. Who am I trying to please right now? 
  2. Am I emotionally and physically able to keep up with their demands right now in this phase of my life? 
  3. Is it okay if I say no? Why or why not? 

If you don’t get this perfect all the time, don’t beat yourself up. I think at some points in our lives we all get to this place of needing to evaluate where our priorities really are, and in the meantime the best thing to do is to come up with small action steps that you can take to try and get a little better each day. 

For example, waiting 30 minutes before saying yes to anything, having non-negotiable time for yourself scheduled weekly, or even just taking time to be in a quiet space before you go somewhere. 

Self care matters, and as someone who hates the attention of admitting that I used to put myself last, I realized that it took a toll on my health and also my family’s by not getting this right. People pleasing caused more harm than it did the good that was intended and it’s okay to protect yourself and your family from that from time to time. 

PS: If you’re like me and tend to overcommit and then get overwhelmed, I wanted to recommend that you read Boundaries by Henry Cloud.

Caity Schenker is an entrepreneur from Newton, NJ. She is a woman of God, a puppy mom to a cheagle named Pepper, a leader in network marketing, and married her husband Dan in October, 2015.