What is it about you people pleasers? Yes, you…I am talking to you obligers!
Problem: I can’t stop putting other people’s needs before my own.
Awareness: At the time of doing an act such as giving up your time, space, or material possessions, you may not be so aware of doing it, but you sure will be later on. It will show up in you as an unwanted emotion. This can surface as irritability, exhaustion (mental or physical), and settle in as overall disappointment in yourself. Unfortunately, and most detrimentally, the insidious feeling of resentment builds in. Built-up resentment, like layers of calcification inside a faucet, will stop the flow within you. It will rob you of your essence. You will lose your identity. No one wants to be in this place.
Why do you do this?
Action: How to stop being an Obliger.
Method: There is actually a very easy way of stopping this cycle of behavior. Remember? Every habit of thought brings about a habit of action. Ask yourself “ What do I feel right now?” before doing any sort of pleasing action towards others, you a) Get in touch with your feelings – how do you feel about this in this moment? b) Do I genuinely want to do this?
For those of you who have been doing this for ‘forever’ you may be so removed with your own identity that you might not know what is genuine. A way back to identifying yourself is by seeing if this ‘act’ aligns with your core values.
So how might this look?
Analogy: Your friend, family member calls you – like she does quite often – to rant, complain, and basically suck up your mental energy, the only bit of energy you had left at the end of a long workday. You feel obliged to listen to her. Afterall, you are always there for her. Right? She needs you, she depends on you, and you have always been her rock. So as you hold your phone and walk away from ‘whatever the hell you were doing before you laggardly answered the call’ you stop and ask yourself? Do I genuinely want (or have the mental compacity) to answer this call right now? Does this act of giving of my time align with my core values? Knowing that one of your core values is to be present with your family or partner, or feed yourself quiet time each evening (mindfulness) in order to be a better person in life, then you would say to her “ Hey – you know I want to be here for you right now but my own personal life has been so crazy due to (fill in the blank) I don’t have what I need to be fully present with you right now. Would it be okay for me to connect with you a bit later this week? (if she is persistent…you can continue with …)
If maybe you could write it out in your journal right now, it might help you out until we can connect?”