Making people happy gives us energy. It puts a smile on our faces and makes us proud.
Human connection is the light that brightens our days and shows us the way forward.
But too much of a good thing can be bad and basing our lives around other people is no exception.
We have a bad habit of sacrificing our own well-being, time, and energy to make others happy. We have a hard time saying no and we get upset when someone doesn’t like us.
Confrontation is almost impossible because we can’t stand the idea that someone would be upset with us afterwards.
When people reach out to us for advice we censor anything that might make the other person uncomfortable for fear that they might dislike us.
I’ve been exploring this issue within myself and I can see just how much it affects my life. This problem has deep roots within us all.
Caring about what other people think is important but when we start to base our self-worth off their opinions, lose our integrity and sacrifice our happiness, we have gone too far.
Today I want to share the things I have been practicing to balance my people pleasing with my own needs.
START WITH NO
This is something a mentor taught me and within twenty four hours I had put it in to practice several times.
If you are a people pleaser like I am this is important: Any time someone asks you to do something, say no first.
It’s better to say no at first and leave room for a possible yes, then to say yes and disappoint someone with a no later on.
The phrase I have been using is “No, I can’t, sorry. But if something changes can I let you know?”
With that one phrase we can stop ourselves from habitually giving up our time and energy while still leaving room for us to change our mind.
CREATE HEALHTY BOUNDARIES
This one is difficult. We have to decide what we are willing to do and what we are not willing to do.
We must figure out the things in our lives that are non-negotiable.
“I don’t smoke. I don’t stay up past 11pm. Sunday is my day for personal time. I go to the gym every weekday. I take an hour every night to read. I don’t like being talked to a certain way, etc.”
Pick the things that you are not willing to budge on and the next time someone asks you to do something that crosses your boundaries, say no.
GET YOUR SELF WORTH SOMEWHERE ELSE
This was (and still is) a hard lesson for me.
Whenever we try to get our self-worth from other people, it is going to be a disaster.
The problem is that we can never make everyone like us. We might have ten people that like us and make us feel good, but then one person makes a comment and it’s all we can think about that day.
A lot of the time we are making decisions based on what “they” would think of us, but we don’t even know who “they” are in the scenario.
I was walking through the mall with a friend a couple of days ago and he said to me “Who are ‘they’? Who are ‘they’ specifically that you worry so much about? Which people in your life?
When he said that, it hit me. I didn’t even know who it was that I was basing so many of my life’s decisions on.
Here is an exercise for you to do:
-Take a 1”x1” piece of paper
-Write down the names of the people whose opinion you allow yourself to care about
-Put the paper in your wallet and anytime you start to care what someone thinks, pull it out and see if they are on the list.
You’ll be surprised how many people don’t make the cut.
That’s the key here. It’s okay to care what people think. It is probably thing that stops us from all being selfish, horrible people.
But we master this area of our lives when we decide whose opinion we allow to affect us. We should only care about the opinions of the people who matter to us most.
They are the people who give us energy and put a smile on our face. They are the light that brightens our day and shows us the way forward.
It’s okay to care what people think, to say yes, to help people, and to be unselfish.
But remember, too much of a good thing… can be a bad thing.