If you’re a people pleaser, a tired parent or someone living and working in service of others, this is a love note to you. Look at the following list and count how many of these scenarios sound familiar. Do you:
- get anxious at the thought of disagreeing with others and choose harmony above almost all else?
- often say yes to things you don’t really want to do?
- consistently spend your time taking care of everyone else’s needs, even when you’re exhausted?
- put others’ happiness above your own, often without even knowing you’re doing it?
- say sorry more than others around you?
- sometimes feel resentful or upset about how much you miss out or compromise on?
- feel disrespected, ignored or feel like you don’t get to have a view or opinion?
- have a long to-do list that’s mostly about delivering things for everyone else?
- feel unappreciated and look for validation?
There are probably many more situations like these that we could mention – and if you’re a people pleaser, you’ll probably tick most of them. We get it. There’s not a single human on this planet who doesn’t need to feel like they matter, like they’re loved and can receive love from others. It’s part of the human condition to crave a sense of belonging and to want to affiliate with – and be accepted by – other people. We perform task after task for our friends, families and colleagues not necessarily out of the goodness of our hearts, but from our primal need to gain their attention and support.
Yet if you follow the old ‘put your own oxygen mask on first’ aeroplane analogy, it’s better to help yourself before you help others. Putting yourself first is not indulgent or selfish – it’s a responsibility we have to ourselves. Because not only is it difficult to care for others if you’re struggling, but if you don’t value yourself, then others might not either.
There’s a reason it’s so hard to change this kind of behaviour. It’s called ‘continuous reinforcement’ – put simply, it means that when you always give to others, they increasingly expect it from you – so saying ‘no’ comes to feel difficult.
If this quote resonated with you, consider spending some time working through why you behave this way. Also, look at the people around you and consider whether they’re a healthy presence in your life. Remember that personal growth starts with self-awareness!
– The Coach Place Global
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