People-pleaser. What thoughts go through your head when you read those words? For a lot of women, reading those words turns into a head nod, like “Yep…that’s me. Totally”. It’s no wonder; we are just now birthing generations of girls that are actually being taught that they don’t have to be quiet, not only can they speak up and out, but they should. “You can be anything you want to be” actually means what it says in today’s world…it’s not just a saying on a soda can or a t-shirt.
I am a reformed people-pleaser. Well, mostly. I still find myself (rarely, thank goodness) in the aftermath of a situation where I somehow walked away with a responsibility I didn’t ask for, but somehow agreed to take on. But I am so pleased to tell you that my people-pleasing radar is very fine-tuned these days and I’m getting better and better.
Here’s the damn thing about being a people-pleaser: you are like a fucking magnet to people that take advantage of people-pleasers. It’s maddening! It took me YEARS to realize this, and I cannot begin to tell you all that I took on, took responsibility for, spent money on and shed tears for and usually for people that absolutely did not deserve any of it.
Then the concept of “personal responsibility” entered my psyche and the ruminations that have come with that have been a game-changer for me. I learned years ago to cut the takers out of my life and to beware of those trying to get back in, but I never examined the notion of “personal responsibility” in all of it.
At first, I began to apply this to me. I have a personal responsibility to myself to take care of me. I have a personal responsibility to spot situations that I would normally throw myself into the fire, but now back away slowly before I’m tagged in. Ahhhhhhhh….but now. Now, I have started to apply it to others and let me tell you something: I am free!! I am SO MUCH freer than I’ve ever been from that sick, nasty disease we call People-Pleasing. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh…..*big breath in. big breath out* It feels damn good.
My friend, Lola, introduced me to the flip of this concept and I am gift-wrapping this to give it to you. But listen, spotting situations where someone is trying to put a responsibility on you that doesn’t belong to you is hard. It’s even harder recognizing that it not only belongs to the person trying to dump this on you, but to hand it right back to them. It takes confidence and chutzpah. But here’s the good news: the more you do it, the easier it gets to spot and toss back like a water balloon just waiting for its target.
Homework: start honing your radar and recognize situations where your gut is telling you to stay quiet for a minute and reassess a situation where you would normally jump right in. Then, switch gears on that radar and start to recognize situations like this where the person dishing it all out is actually the one that needs to take it and put it right back on their own plate. You will have a MILLION reasons why they can’t. But but but but but…Stop that right now.
I can’t tell you how this has changed everything for me. If you’re anything like me, you think everything is your fault and everything is your responsibility. Wouldn’t it be AMAZING if you were wrong?? Guess what? You are. You’re wrong. I’m telling you, once your radar is set to this setting it won’t matter how much someone tries to drag you back into a situation, you won’t go. It’s a visceral reaction that will serve you well.
So, go get yourself a bucket of personal responsibility today. Grab a big azz ladle and start dishing it out. Then give yourself one big azz high-five. You deserve it, girl.Muse: Savannah Letham