Attention all People Pleasers!

by Jill Radabaugh on January 20, 2011

Like many other bloggers I know, sometimes there can be a gap in their posts.  Well, this has been quite a gap.  I have received some good advice, to begin to blog for me, instead of,  for others.  Interesting advice to be given to me, a woman who spends a lot of time, working to please others, much more than myself.

I have realized, as recently as about an hour ago, how many hours, weeks, months and years, I have spent, trying to be liked by really, just everyone.  I want to please, and be liked by my husband, kids, siblings and parents.  I think this desire is appropriate, as these are the core group of people in my life, my family.  I also want to be liked and wish to serve and please my friends, coworkers, clients, doctors, lady walking down the sidewalk, pastor, interviewer, and accountant, just to name a few.

I truly believed that by 45 years of age, I would have recovered from people pleasing, and I do feel I have made progress.  However, the evidence of self-sacrificing, people pleasing remains.  I am still quite a bit overweight, I spend more than enough time, ruminating about people who I feel have rejected me, for whatever reason on a given day, and am experiencing anxiety over what other people are, will, or have been thinking about me.

I believe that I am not alone in this “People Pleasing Quest”.  So here is my description of those who continue to be so extremely invested in pleasing other people:

As a child, at least one of our parents withdrew love or emotional support from us, or abandoned us.

As children, we experienced emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.

As a child we experienced a severe physical trauma or illness.

As a child, we felt that it was only through our acts of pleasing our parents and teachers, that we had value.

Certainly, I am not a therapist, or an expert on human behaviors.  I have, however, graduated from the School of Hard Knocks, and received quite a bit of therapy, which I totally recommend.   I find it fascinating, that every decade of my 45 years, so far, at some point, I have to revisit and grieve the pain I felt as a child.  It’s incredible, that experiences which I had, back in my childhood, still truly mold my feelings and thoughts to this day.

At this point, I have completely forgiven my parents, and those who have caused me harm.  But sometimes when I see a Dad, who is very close and loving with his daughter, I still may cry, and wonder, “Why didn’t my dad show me that kind of love?”

I will avoid, at this point, writing words to describe all the ways that life is wonderful and how happy I am right now.  Because that is not my point.  My point is this.  That there is still in existence, a barrier in my personality, which prevents me from feeling that I am worthy.  That I have realized today, that I still have a tendency to exhaust myself,  trying to make sure everyone else is comfortable, fed, happy, safe, and entertained, while I go through my day not checking in with myself and how I am doing, nearly often enough.

So here’s my plan:

To continue to make “me” my new project (I always like to have a project).

To realize that I have this barrier of feeling unworthy in my personality, and with this awareness, to cling to the knowledge that I am worthy in God’s eyes, as he sees me as his precious child.

To trust that those around me, can and will take care of their own well being, and that it is not my responsibility.

And finally, to take good care of myself, taking baby steps toward becoming the healthy woman I know I can be.

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