Motherly Advice On How To Live For Myself
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Motherly Advice On Living To Please No One – A Journal Excerpt

I wrote down what my mom said about me being a people-pleaser, and I think everyone should read it.

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Motherly Advice On Living To Please No One – A Journal Excerpt
Jana Gabrielle

It doesn't matter if it was my fault or not - I've always hated seeing those I care about upset. Because of this, most of my time has been spent on making sure these people stay positive and always feel cared for or attended to. I've always remained available, but then more and more people came to me for help with various things, and it became increasingly difficult for me to say no to them. As I became known for my "helpfulness," I felt the need to keep up this side of me. This brought me so much pressure and complication, yet I refused to see that because I thought I was doing the right thing by plainly being kind.

I think this side of me took over most in high school. Being part of important extracurriculars and trying to maintain my grades made me feel like everyone was watching, and I can't let my audience down. Living this way every day for the past four years took its toll on me, and because the exhaustion finally caught up to me, thinking about it has been really frustrating. I sat down with my mother about this and asked her, "Do you think I'm too trusting or too forgiving? Or do I try too hard to please people?"

After saying yes to both questions without any hesitation, we had a long conversation which I wrote in my journal to keep as a reminder if I ever need her motherly advice again. Here is an excerpt of what I wrote:

Mama asked, "Who even cares?"

Who cares? Well, the people I consider to be my friends care. The people I care about obviously care about how I treat them, don't they? After sharing moments with her that empowered my need to be a people-pleaser, she told me something like this:

"Jana, you need to be strong. You do so much for others, but at the end of the day, where are they? Half the world could be at your feet trying to suck energy from you for their benefit, but few will actually come back when you need help. You say you value the trust people have in you, but why will saying no and being courageous enough to stick up for yourself break their trust? If it's so easily broken, are you really holding onto anything? You've been taken advantage of, you've been used and manipulated, yet you allow it so others aren't upset.

Yes, we raised you to be kind, forgiving, and humble, but not like this. Kindness isn't the inability to say no. Forgiveness isn't keeping people around for their convenience when you know they don't deserve it anymore. Being humble shouldn't be disregarding your dignity to shoulder others' errors. You're making a fool of yourself living this way.

I know you're stronger than this, Jana. Live first for yourself, because in the end, not many will really care how you live your life. Stick with those who accept you and let you live on your own terms. It's a lot less complicated when you live without approval."

What she said was truly an eye-opener for me. I'll be honest and say that it did hurt a little when she told me that I've been making a fool of myself, but it was the truth. All of this really needed to be said for me to understand something so simple: I should not waste my energy trying to please and give to those who, in their best times, would choose me last to share their sweetest moments with.

Of course, there is an obvious difference between this situation and simply helping out of kindness. This is also not to say that you should help only to seek out gratitude or recognition for all you've done. When you think about it, finding that middle area where you live with the most satisfaction is a bit difficult. Another thing my mother told me, though, is that it does take a bit of growing up to figure this out.

You'll go through life meeting people who are there because they care about you and those who only care about what you have to offer them. Trying to pick and choose to find the genuine ones can be distracting, so instead, focus on you. Live for your own fulfillment, and build yourself up to be the best version of yourself. Stay kind to others and help when needed, but never neglect your own needs. We are our ultimate resource for giving back to the world. Don't deplete yourself to rebuild the ones who take how precious you are for granted.

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