Let me tell you what happens when a People Pleaser gets ruffled. We freak out inside. Yep, immediately there are 57 windows open in our brain at the same time, each one dedicated to finding the source of what we did wrong, how we can fix it, and when bending over backwards to change will make you like us again. Dumb. And exhausting.
Now let me tell you what happens when a Recovering People Pleaser gets ruffled. Well, we freak out inside. Then immediately those 57 windows in our brain open. It happens in a nanosecond, but it doesn’t stop there. A new, cool part of our brain steps forward and starts closing out tabs. The windows shut down one by one. We start hushing up all the frequency about it being our fault and our responsibility. That side of our brain is bold and loud. It knows better, and it’s rather intimidating.
Next, we start considering the source…and I don’t mean us. I mean THEM. Those People. We start wondering where their complaints and opinions could be coming from, and we begin listening to exactly what they’re saying. Somehow that bold part of our brain also takes control of our ears, and we hear things a little differently.
Oddly, we then do a quick sort, placing the little bit we are actually willing to take responsibility for in a small brain bucket of “this is on me”. We filter out the rest into a big, old pile of “not my circus, not my monkeys”. The stuff that’s on us, we start fixing right there on the spot. The stuff that theirs? Well, it sits in that pile, waiting.
What happens next is pivotal. Relapsing People Pleasers will go back to that pile and stare at it, stir it, sift through it, and scatter it. Recovering People Pleasers will work to stand back and let the wind blow it away. We have a decision to make, and hopefully it’s the one that helps us shed our desire to please in exchange for embracing our desire for self preservation (and personal responsibility!).
Here’s something else…we won’t forget. Because we want so badly to please everyone, complaints and criticisms are difficult to shake. That pile of foolishness might blow away with the wind, but some dust gets left behind. Recovering People Pleasers will let it go (and hopefully find some grace and forgive), but we won’t forget the face, the words, or the inflection. We will remember the tone, the body language, and the vibe. And we will think of all those things every time we see Those People again.
So, yeah, my toxic trait is being a People Pleaser…but I’m in recovery. (By the way, pretend for now that is my only toxic trait, please and thank you.) I find it incredibly liberating to rid myself of the pressure to make other people happy based on what THEY want, when THEY want it, how THEY want it. I would much rather it only be MY responsibility to wake up every day with a good heart, intent on doing the best job I can, bringing goodness to the world, being the change I want to see, and loving people big.
Fellow Recovering People Pleasers, let’s repeat these things together…
“They are mad, and it is okay.”
“They are unhappy, and they will have to deal with that.”
“I am enough.”
“My heart is good, my intentions are pure, and my actions are purposeful.”
“We can’t please all the people all the time. Ever.”
“Girl, forget that mess. Keep your eye on what is important.”
“You can be the plumpest, juiciest peach in the bowl, and some people aren’t going to like peaches.”
“Some people are just miserable cows.”
Now join me. I want to be surrounded by a circle that appreciates ME. It is that circle of people who I won’t have to please BUT WHO WILL BE PLEASED with me, genuinely and naturally. I will pray that any other folks get weeded out, and they probably will just based on the fact that they won’t like my lack of desire to please them. It happens, and that is okay. You can do it, too.