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realisations of a people pleaser

I’ve been asked to take on some additional responsibilities at work. It’s a chance for me to really shine and show the boss what I’m capable of but I find myself reluctant to take it on. There are a few reasons, the main one being that I have taken on additional work in the past for no reward and ended up sick with stress for my troubles.

Image courtesy of Google

Image courtesy of Google

In the end it won’t be my choice, I will be forced to do the extra yards regardless, at a time in my personal life when I am trying to focus on my health and not get drawn in to work stresses. I suppose I could kick up a fuss, bring up the amount of sick leave I had to take last year because I was worn out and overwhelmed, and I’d probably be able to get out of it. But I know I won’t do that, it’s not in my nature to say no when asked for help.

Once again I am going through the internal struggle of wanting to be the reliable one that everyone can depend on and wanting to run away and hide in a ditch somewhere and be left alone. It makes me wonder, why is it so easy for most of us to say yes to helping others but when it comes to our own needs and desires we are reluctant to make the effort. Why is the hardest person to say yes to ourselves?

I’ve often wondered what makes me such a people pleaser. I think a big part of it stems from growing up with less than my peers and having to make myself worthy of their friendship in other ways. My value has always been in helping others.

I read a great article by Kevin Rush last week about the dangers of people pleasing. Kevin says, “People pleasing behaviours are often rooted in emotional issues that are symptoms of deep insecurities. These people have an obsessive need to please others. They fear loss of personal identity, friends, popularity or approval. They obsess with letting family or friends down and often feel inferior to others. People pleasers fear not doing their best. They feel disappointed when they let another person down and they are in denial about their insecurity”.  Article Source

It’s like a light bulb just went on in my head. I have been in denial for years. I always thought it was about everyone else but really it’s about me. It’s about my own self worth being found in being agreeable to those around me and not wanting to upset anyone. It all goes back to that little girl in the playground at pre-school who was ignored and left out by her peers, the girl in high school who was ostracised for going against the popular group and the young woman who was unceremoniously dumped through a friend at a nightclub because her boyfriend just couldn’t be bothered anymore. It’s all about her and what she can do to make sure she is never rejected again.

It will never be easy for me to say no to the people I care about. The fact is, I want to help, I like to help and I’m OK with my worth in this life being tied to helping the people I love. Perhaps though, I could be a little more selective in the things I choose to get involved in. Maybe it’s time for me to stop worrying about what everyone else thinks about the sort of person I am and to realise that you don’t have to save the world to save yourself.

So now I’ve got my people pleasing figured out, what to do about my obsessive compulsive disorder and control freak tendencies…?

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