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The Problem with People Pleasing

August 31, 2018

 

Imagine for a second with me that other people's opinions of you didn't matter to you.

 

Not in an "I-don't-give-a-care-about-the-rest-of-the-world" kind of way, 

 

but in an "I'm-not-going-to-waste-my-brain-juice-trying-to-control-what-people-think-of-me" kind of way. 

 

Because people are going to think what they want either way, right?

 

So you may as well stop trying to outrun other people's opinions of you and simply recognize that it's not about you at all.

 

Their opinions are about their thoughts and life experiences and judgments. 

 

Doesn't that attitude sound so liberating?

 

So why do so many of us spend so much time trying to control what other people think of us?

 

I mean, isn't that what people pleasing is?

 

Acting in a certain way or trying to be a certain way so that we can please other people? So that they'll like us?

 

It doesn't work, by the way.

 

People are going to think what they want to think, and there's just not much we can do about it.

 

And that's ok, because what others think of you is none of your business, remember?

 

When we attempt to please others in order to get their approval, we run into problems.

 

Brooke Castillo teaches that people pleasers are liars.

 

That's a little harsh.

 

But I believe it.

 

When we do things just to please others, 

 

we care more about what they think of us 

 

than we do about showing up as our true selves. 

 

And let's think about this for a moment--

 

when we act a certain way, 

 

just so people will like us---

 

is it really "us" that they like?

 

Or some fake version of ourselves that we've made up to get their approval?

 

If so, it's not really US that they like at all, now is it? 

 

It's a fake person that we are pretending to be.

 

We're deceiving other people by pretending to be someone other than who we really are. 

 

We're lying.

 

So we are people pleasing when we say yes to organizing the PTA movie night

 

just so the committee believes that we care about children and the neighborhood school.

 

We are people pleasing when we agree to watch a friend's kids because we don't want her to think we're selfish,

 

even though we are feeling exhausted and overwhelmed with our own children.

 

We are people pleasing when we agree to dinner at grandma's, 

 

even though we really want an evening at home with our own family. 

 

We aren't being our authentic selves if we pretend to be something we're not.

 

And resentment usually follows.

 

It almost always follows. 

 

This quote has given me a lot to think about:

 

 

 

Now I'm not saying we should never serve anyone or go anywhere unless we are ecstatic and thrilled to do so, 

 

but we shouldn't do it to try to control other people's opinions of us.

 

We shouldn't do things so others will think we are nice.

 

Charitable.

 

Unselfish.

 

We should do it only if we can get to a place of love.

 

Love for the person we're serving. 

 

Love for ourselves. 

 

It's time to reconsider people pleasing. 

 

And decide whose opinion of you really matters most. 

 

{hint: it's your own opinion of yourself, mama}

 

When you are able to recognize your own worth and awesomeness,

 

it really won't matter what other people think of you.

 

 

 

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