Throughout my entire life, I worried about whether or not people liked me. Seven years ago (at 26 yrs old), I had my first session with a therapist who told me it stemmed from co-dependency tendencies. Of course being a strong independent woman, I didn't quite understand or welcome the diagnosis. I would later learn that my need to be liked or valued stemmed from issues with my parents and childhood experiences.
To set the scene, my reason for initiating therapy was because of a past relationship that became dangerous and I wanted to learn coping methods after getting out of it. I will dive into that story another day. 😉
In my family, therapy was and is still not received well. The majority of them told me it was a waste of money and said I should attend church for free. But I was intrigued by this therapist and continued the sessions despite the discouraging comments received. We worked specifically towards developing my cognitive thinking skills. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, here is the definition:
Cognitive Psychology is the scientific investigation of human cognition, that is, all our mental abilities - perceiving, learning, remembering, thinking, reasoning, and understanding.
My desire to make other people happy was very unhealthy. I had little to no boundaries in most of my relationships and with my parents. I allowed many people to take advantage of my kindness because I struggled with saying 'No'.
Aside from always being an overachiever and signing up for tasks that I didn't really want to do, I was always tailoring my personality to fit whichever friend group, business endeavor, or romantic interest I had at the time. Through my therapy sessions, we analyzed my past to figure out how and what events triggered this programming. If I was going to retrain my thoughts to focus on healthy habits, then I had to closely examine my toxic behaviors to prevent them.
Most people know me as a socialite, community leader, and event specialist. What a lot of people don't see is that I am a feisty philanthropist, a huge party-girl who loves hosting events, is a little high-strung, and likes to make crude jokes. I realize now that pretending and faking who I was just to be liked, worked against me. I know personally from the dreadful experience in my first marriage. Thankfully my husband Chris is very secure and un-bothered by it; he even calls it my “practice” marriage. 🤣 (Again another story, for another day.... stay tuned!)
Today's blog post was inspired by a recent conversation when a friend requested that I become a little bit more cordial towards a friend of theirs in a non-business related situation. I told the friend "Sometimes, I don't feel like being nice and I am not getting paid to accommodate their feelings. They don't have to be around me." That was definitely one of my crude joke moments. 😏 We had a good conversation, but ultimately I refuse to pretend in order to stay true to myself.
Some people who haven't seen this side of me, may be shocked by my response but it's pretty accurate these days. As I embark on this entrepreneurial journey, I find myself dealing with less people. As most people would say, it's all about quality versus quantity. I want to spend time with people who actually like the way I am, even if I'm a little rough around the edges in non-business related situations. I like having real discussions about controversial topics without someone getting offended. I like being transparent about myself, ideas, or beliefs without other people always pushing their agendas, ideas, or judgment on me.
All of the years I spent in the corporate world, adapting my personality to make sure I "fit in" was extremely exhausting. Constantly holding my tongue because I feared rejection in a male-dominated organization. The reality was, I didn't want people to think I was a Witch or in other words "Having My Menstrual Cycle" just because I was feisty. Suppressing my feelings became very unhealthy and my stress level was skyrocketing; and let’s not forget the constant weight gain, increased blood pressure, and mental fatigue. It was literally making me sick!
Although my choice to stop being a people-pleaser may be a difficult task in the hospitality industry. I'm very transparent with our staff which means I don't have to suppress my thoughts any longer and they seem pretty happy working with us. It's refreshing that I am able to set boundaries that work well for me and my businesses. I don't have to worry about being rejected now that the glass ceiling has been removed, my only limit would be the one I create for myself. The ability to speak my truth in a profession that I am passionate about has been a HUGE blessing.
Here is a phrase I printed and placed on my desk. It served as a constant reminder as I worked to pull myself out of what I call the PPP (People Pleasing Programming).
If I say "yes" to you, will I be saying "no" to me?
If you don't set boundaries, then takers never will! If you're struggling with a similar situation, here is my challenge to you... set boundaries! Stop settling for less than you deserve and allowing people to make more withdrawals from your life then deposits. It's time to start saying YES to yourself.
Check out these articles to provide perspective if you or someone you know is struggling with PPP.
- 6 Revealing Reasons Why People Are so Eager to Please
- What makes a people-pleaser?
- 5 Things That Happen When You Suppress Your Emotions
- 10 Signs You're a People Pleaser
- 5 Practices That Helped Me Stop Being a People Pleaser