People-pleasing: I don’t want to be a bitch

Do you wish the comment “you’re such a people pleaser” was actually a compliment instead of an odd backhanded way of saying that you’re a pushover? Me too!

As a recovering people pleaser, even if I was offended by the comment I would smile and say “I know, it’s just who I am” and somehow spin it in my mind to be a compliment when in my heart I know that I have just sacrificed my needs to make someone else happy. Yet again (insert emoji of woman facepalming)

What I really would have wanted to say is “thanks for pointing out my lack of boundaries Pam. Next time I’ll make sure to say no, Pam. And live with the idea you’ll think I’m a bitch, Pam”

The fear of being seen as a bitch held me back for so many years. In fact, this fear imprisoned me to the idea that voicing my needs simply wasn’t important and that the only way for me to get worth, approval and acceptance was by pleasing others.

If you know me and you’re reading this, you might feel a bit surprised to know this about me. People-pleasing isn’t part of my makeup anymore, and in fact, it’s not even close to how people would describe me. Most people would characterize me as strong, confident, assertive, outspoken, loud (at times) and stubborn (a lot of the times).

I, like you, was socialized to believe that women had to be a certain type of feminine and that feminine was soft, quiet, agreeable, accommodating, easy to be around and not stand out (well, only stand out when it comes to being beautiful and sexually attractive). The thing is, that I was smart, driven, outspoken, pig-headed and was drawn to pointing out social injustices. As a way to compensate for this, I used all my assertiveness for my work self and saved up my people-pleasing for my non-work self.

Sound familiar?

The thing is that we can’t live in two different worlds for too long. At some point, something has to give and a choice has to be made. I chose to break up with people-pleasing. In that, I had to learn to accept that some people might think I’m a bitch. That some people weren’t going to like this version of me. I would be rejected and not liked. This all made me VERY uncomfortable. I mean like nails on a chalkboard kind of uncomfortable.

Do you want to break up with people-pleasing? If you haven’t decided yet, I hope to convince you to give it a final farewell send-off. Trust me when I say that it doesn’t have your best interest at heart. All the times that you’ve sacrificed yourself to make someone else happy isn’t worth it. Mainly because you matter. You deserve to be happy too – and I don’t see anyone around you being a martyr to make you happy.

We deserve to have worth without pleasing other people all the time. Your voice matters and has meaning. Your opinions are important and contribute to the world around you. Think about it this way, at the core of people-pleasing is the fundamental belief that degradation, humiliation, abuse, and silencing are all part of receiving acceptance. Read that one again and ask yourself if that’s true or not.

Do you think it’s possible to have belonging, acceptance, and love in your life without selling yourself for it? Because I sure do!

If you want to continue this conversation join me Thursday morning on Facebook for a live conversation.

~ Cecilia


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