Before I begin, let me just admit that I have been a huge, guilty as charged, culprit of people-pleasing. That’s how I grew up, that is what I was taught, and that is what I witnessed for years.
“Always put others before yourself. Their happiness is more important than your own” is basically the message I would receive.
Through recent evaluations and by analyzing my whole life, I have come to see how backward this message is. In actuality, it’s best to take care of yourself before helping others.
Don’t believe me? Go on an airplane, and what is the first instruction? In an event of an emergency, put on your oxygen mask (your lifeline) first before helping others. That makes sense because how can you help others when you, yourself, are half dead?
Now people pleasing is the exact opposite of those instructions. I define it as restricting much of your own enjoyment, pleasure, fun, “oxygen” for the mere satisfaction of another person. Usually, it ends in having a resentment towards the other person, having a complete mental break down, and in the case of an emergency, you would be dead. Am I right? And none of which are fun, but can be totally avoided by simply putting your needs and desires first. Listen you can’t make everyone happy, I’ve tried, it didn’t work.
Instead keep making sure your satisfaction is high, sanity levels are up, and your tank is full. How? Self-care galore. Schedule time to do something for yourself. Go to your favorite store, take a bubble bath, paint your nails, read a magazine, call a friend, drink a really great cup of coffee.
Whatever makes you happy, do it. Along the way, you will hold doors open for ladies with double-wide baby strollers. Help an elderly neighbor with their groceries. Listen to a friend go through a crisis. Why? Because you are completely happy and full of positive energy. Enough to pass on to someone who may need an extra dose of kindness. And that to me is doing a favor. It is the process of giving to another person out of sheer joy and delight because you feel “full” enough to give back. As a result, you feel even more gratitude and joy.
If this seems “too selfish” or “too indulgent” think of it in these terms: you have to nourish yourself before you can nourish others. You simply cannot nourish someone when you are depleted.
So go out and have fun! Bring a smile to YOUR face, and I guarantee it will make someone else smile too.