This blog series has been brewing in my head for a few months now. I have been collecting my thoughts on scraps of paper, in my sudoku book, on my phone and in audio recordings as well. I’ve taken my time to create this particular blog because it has taken up so much bandwidth in my head. And I want to be sure that I capture the essence and significance of this subject matter in my life.
I’ve also just been thoroughly enjoying the first five weeks of my new life in Kenora, which has not left me much time for writing. Hoping that you enjoy the first part of this three-part blog series about being a people pleaser (I cringe as I realise how very people-pleaser-like it is of me to
want need you to enjoy my creation).
Let’s jump right in.
I have been an asshole. A true, arrogant piece of shit … for probably most of my adolescent and adult life. And I’ve been completely oblivious to it. And probably, so have you. Because, my dear, I’ve done such a good job at portraying myself as this overly nice, accommodating and never-bothered individual, that I’ve had all of us fooled.
But no more. As I’ve mentioned a few times in previous entries, I’ve been doing a lot of introspection, aiming to truly get to know myself and my flaws, all within a frame of self compassion. It hasn’t been easy. My thoughts often slip back into old patterns of self-hatred, worthlessness and shame. It’s just been my way of thinking for so long, that if I let my Ego wonder about unattended for too long, it loves to go back into that comfy zone.
I mean it’s comfy in the short term, but with some work I’ve come to see that this comfort zone is actually deadly. And so I have made it my mission to step out of that, and instead spend my time in the grey zone. The uncertain zone. And I’ve learned to surrender into the unknown. Because certainty is but an illusion, my friends. Life is a beautiful mistery, and I want to be fully present for the ride, all the highs and the lows, the twists and the turns, the hard shit, and also all the good shit.
And now back why I’ve been an asshole.
You see, for so long, I’ve used people pleasing as I way to soothe myself. I’ve convinced myself that my worth is a reflection of what others think of me. And so, if I could live in a way that ensured that all those around me, and even those that watched from a distance, liked and admired me, that it would mean that I was worthy of love, happiness and success.
The trouble is, you can never please everyone. And when your worth, the very core of your identity and the way in which you construct your Self, is tightly woven into other’s perception of you, you are left with a gaping void.
And I think that’s what I experienced last year, when I had my spiritual awakening/breakdown. I finally witnessed the collapse of my inner world. I had dedicated years – essentially a decade- of my life, to ensuring that I pleased everyone out there. And it all came crashing down, when I realized that I had absolutely no sense of worth, love or happiness, despite the evidence that most of those around me did love and admire me.
I think it’s because I had been living out of alignment. I had lived in ways that didn’t align with my true self and my true desires. I lacked authenticity. And I hated myself for it. I could feel the discourse between the way I was living and the screams of my soul.
THIS DOESN’T FEEL RIGHT.
And yet I pressed on. Convinced that if I just tried a little harder. If I just accomplished that one last thing. If I could just lose a few more pounds. If I could just make a little more money. If I could just love my partner a little more. If I could just be a little better. Then I’d finally be able to live in peace.
But resentment had grown so big inside me, that I couldn’t pretend I was happy anymore. It was time to face the music.
It was time to look at the construct of my self, this “perfect” Michèle, that was always smiling, nice and willing to accommodate – and ask her what she truly wanted. It was time to look at myself honestly, and admit that how I lived didn’t truly reflect how I felt.
For example, a symptom of being a people pleaser is that I don’t do confrontation. I just don’t. *Or didn’t* 😅. Having a discord with someone is so damn uncomfortable -even debilitating- for me, that I’ve almost always opted to shut up and smile, rather than speak my mind. If someone said or did something that bothered me, instead of calmly and lovingly making them aware of this, I would bottle all that shit up inside and let it fester. Resentment builds. Mean thoughts ensue.
“I can’t believe that bitch. Look at her smile, pretending to be all happy and perfect. Pff. I bet, no I hope, that she isn’t truly happy. And she’s just as miserable as I am on the inside. (I now clearly see how I was projecting my unhappiness with myself into other females in my life)”.
“That dick. How could he use me like that? After all I’ve done for him. How could he just walk away and not love me?? I hate him. (Secretly knowing that if he came back, I’d melt like putty in his hands. And hating myself for it)”.
“I feel overworked and underappreciated. This work is so fucking stressful. Why can’t this freaking manager/employer get their shit together?! Why do I always have to suffer. They should support me. They suck. They should know this. I hate this place. It’s sucking the life out of me. (All the while I never voiced my opinion, asked for help or offered any solutions).
I gotta be honest, I cringe as I share examples of the rants that have been on repeat in my head for years on end. I cringe as I show you my ugly side. I cringe because as a people-pleaser, portraying myself in this light goes against every fiber of my being. But it’s the truth. It’s my truth.
I’ve been an asshole.
Ouff. So where do we go from here?
Well, looking honestly at my behaviours/thoughts, and how they may have been less than honourable, is the first step. Holding myself in compassion, as I own up to my imperfections, is the only way through.
It’s time to take off the mask, put down the heavy-ass burden I’ve been carrying around, and give myself a break.
It’s okay. I am okay. I don’t need to be perfect. I don’t need to please everyone. I’m allowed to be unhappy. I’m allowed to be upset. And to demand better. I’m allowed to be myself, to confidently walk through life, knowing that I am imperfect, and totally worthy, no in spite of it, but because of it!!
It is time, that I put myself first.