I Stopped Caring About Constantly Pleasing Others, And I....
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I Stopped Caring About Constantly Pleasing Others, And I Haven’t Looked Back Since

How I fought my oldest instinct and learned to take care of myself first.

I Stopped Caring About Constantly Pleasing Others, And I Haven’t Looked Back Since

I've always been a people-pleaser.

I can't really pinpoint an exact, definitive moment in my life that pushed me past the line between selfish and selfless. For all I know, really, I could've been this way my whole life. My memory doesn't serve me well as I begin to get older, but what I do remember is my middle school and high school years, and the sacrifices I made for others at the expense of myself. And, even into my college years as I was transitioning into adulthood, I was still constantly bending myself to others' will.

As I've gotten older, and become more independent and self-aware, I've come to realize this as a bitter fact. Even though I've always been fiercely independent and mostly self-sufficient, I still felt the need to make sure everyone else was happy before I was. It's not something I've gotten over entirely, I still struggle with it every day. But, certain behavioral switches and cognizant changes I've made have made my life a million times easier.

Learning to say no, and not forcing myself to do things I don't want to do, has been the best thing I've done for myself in terms of learning to be more selfish. I've constantly put myself out because I made plans, changed my mind and no longer wanted to participate in said plans, but then being guilted into going or being talked down on by my friends for being a 'flake'. As hard as that's been on me, feeling like I've let others down and upset them, it's been really beneficial and protective for my energy. If I don't feel like going out, and I decide not to do so, as much as my friends may be upset, it lifts a huge weight off my shoulders and makes me feel not only more relaxed but more in control.

Also, learning that you don't always have to explain yourself has been a hard, but overall positive, pill for me to swallow. Whenever someone is upset that I canceled plans, as I mentioned before, or upset at me in general, I feel the need to appease my actions by crafting some sort of excuse – whether true or not. I've found, however, that people who are mad that you aren't doing something for them are going to be mad whether you have an excuse or not. And frankly, you don't need to have an excuse to not want to do something. You're allowed to cancel plans because you've changed your mind and don't want to do things anymore. Forcing yourself to do things you don't want to do is just going to lead to further stress and tension on your end that is just unnecessary. You don't owe anyone anything if it costs you your peace of mind and happiness.

Being a people-pleaser is not necessarily a bad quality. Putting others before yourself is charitable and noble in some cases. But, in other cases, like mine, for example, it can become toxic and harm your personal growth and energy. Becoming self-aware and learning strong, positive coping mechanisms – but not necessarily becoming absolutely selfish – will only help you to become a happier person in the long run. And, the people who can't see that, are only getting in your way.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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