Everyone’s cup of tea

I’m not entirely sure what exactly created our people-pleasing tendencies, perhaps it were the fact you only received praise from your caregivers when you scored 20/20 on your maths test

Or it could it be that despite being a child yourself; you became the substitute parent caring not only for yourself but your siblings too…your parents abdicating their responsibility.

It may have been caused through listening for hours on end to the break-down of your mother’s relationship, despite having to complete your homework for school the next day.

Or it may have been caused by being raised within a household where your voice was unheard. You learned to stifle your emotions particularly ones of displeasure as to do so would upset your parents or caretakers into possibly abandoning you.

Even if they didn’t, the fear itself was enough.

Whatever the exact scenario, the lessons learnt were you come second and in order to be heard and loved you need to work hard to win approval from others.

For as long as you can remember, you have played the same role, attending to everyone elses needs before ours. solving every ones problems, remembering birthdays, lending money money to everyone, even ‘Kathy’ who still hasn’t paid you back.

Then there are the toxic relationships you found yourself in, even though their names are different they may as well be the same person.

They each started off promising, I mean they showed you so much attention, convincing you ‘this is it, they’re the one!’

It didn’t matter that none of your fundamental values aligned. You soon ensured they aligned by going against your true feelings choosing to become agreeable instead.

Relationships are about compromise and understanding right?

You’re so powerfully empathetic you decide to learn more about their values and interests in hope they’ll do the same. They don’t.

Before you know it you’re crazy in love, neurotically working to please him. Feeding off his praise you slowly begin to neglect your own needs, instead tending to his in the hope he’ll reciprocate.

‘John’ it seems… needs you all the time and before you know it, has increased his demands. You are scared to upset him along with everyone else and are unable to use the word ‘no’.

He now needs you to wake him up, lay out his clothes, remind him of all his appointments, do his laundry, attend functions you have no interest in, pay for lunch despite his invitation which in spite of your feelings of contempt and resentment you perform with a smile,

Tired yet?

People-pleasing is incredibly exhausting not to mention counterproductive, in our bid to be liked we wind up being used, disrespected and feeling lonelier than ever. Your wants are unfulfilled and your dreams a distant memory buried under the weight of everyone’s else’s.

Despite our need to be accepted and liked, we need to become comfortable with the fact that not everyone we come across will like us and that’s perfectly okay.

I’m going to repeat that last sentence so it seeps into our subconscious….

Despite our need to be accepted and liked, we need to become comfortable with the fact that not everyone we come across will like us and that’s perfectly okay.

We want to be liked as we believe we need external validation to buoy up our sense of self worth and stave off feelings of abandonment and rejection which ironically is obtainable through being our authentic selves and finding our tribe who will love us no matter what!

Here’s some more tips to help you stop spreading yourself thinly and become comfy with the fact not everyone will like us:

1. People are not thinking about you as much as you think they are.

As a recovering people-pleaser I know just how much goes on within our inner world, if we are not thinking about how we were received by others, worrying about so-so’ problems, analysing and dissecting previous interactions etc. Although not being quite on the same scale, people also spend time within their inner world, perhaps they had an argument with their partner, or are planning a holiday or dealing with their own issues. We are not always at the forefront of other people’s minds.

2. Your authenticity attracts your tribe!

The people in your tribe are rooting for you always.

You do not need to worry about ending up lonely, being rejected or not enough when you find your tribe, it will reiterate the importance of being nothing but yourself.

Your tribe are always in your corner cheering you on in whatever makes you happy, even if it goes against what they would do if faced with the same decision. They’re laughing with you when you make mistakes, they’re sad when you’re sad.

Use this knowledge as a benchmark.

You do not have to work to please them. In fact your tribe, your people they’re supporting you not to split yourself in two for the benefit of others.

Your people love you, they love everything which makes you. YOU!

It’s understandable you will feel nervous when you consider asserting yourself with others, practise saying ‘no’ or walking away and simply being.

Role-play can also provide you with a deeper insight into being both sides of the coin (being both assertive and people pleasing)

3. Take up your space in the world!

People-pleasing does the world a disservice, it prevents you from filling a void which only you and your uniqueness can fill. Consider this, there’s no one else like you and if you’re trying to be Tanya, Patricia Lucy or whoever – humanity is missing out on your contribution.

Fulfil your dreams, you do not owe anyone anything, you are special and worthy and the world needs the whole and authentic YOU!! Quirks and all.

4. You are not everyone’s cup of tea!

Imagine you worked in a cafe (just go with it….) Imagine you worked in a cafe, and all your customers ordered different hot drinks. Some ordered hot chocolate, others herbal tea, coffee and some of your customers wanted hot drinks which were not even on the menu (there’s always one!) .

Would you serve everyone a concoction of hot chocolate, tea, coffee herbal tea and the non-existent hot drink despite your customer’s individual personal choices?

Of course not unless you were purposely trying to upset customers or desperately trying to become unemployed.

Isn’t it beautiful to be presented in life with many different choices?

We as a human race like what we like!

There is no need to morph yourself into many different versions of what you believe people want and absolutely no guarantee your choosing to do this will make people like you. The likelihood is if someone wants ‘Jane’ they want an authentic ‘Jane’ and not an inauthentic second-rate version of ‘Jane’

Concentrate on being the best version of the authentic you are and the right people and path will be attracted to you!

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5. Keep people from trespassing!

Us people pleasers tend not to have personal boundaries or very little

Personal boundaries clearly state where you begin and end and includes your feelings, personal space, needs and your responsibilities from others. Personal boundaries establish what is and isn’t acceptable to you communicating to others how you expect to be treated including consequences if these boundaries are crossed!

Everyday examples include buildings surrounded by electrical fences signposted with a warning notifying unauthorised persons if they attempt to enter they will receive an electric shock!

Bearing in mind you are invaluable

  • If we came with signposts, what would yours say?
  • If the boundaries were crossed, what consequences would you enforce?

6. Resist the disease to please!

You will wind up extremely unhappy if you keep trying to please everyone. The feelings of anger and resentment you suppress when you go against yourself to please or fulfil an ideal of what you think will make people like you is a telling clue.

Your intuition is the compass of your life and to go against it, will lead you down a road of regret.

  • When you think of going against the grain and pleasing yourself what is it you would like to do?
  • What would you be doing if you didn’t spend time trying to make everyone else happy?

Life is pretty short and if you worry about losing people, trust me when I say you won’t. You will lose the wrong people, which will be right for you.

Go on, be a rebel. Choose you

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