The disastrous effects of people-pleasing overload
“The greatest magnifying glasses in the world are a man’s own eyes when they look upon his own person” ~ Alexander Pope
Let’s start from the inside, the inner core of who we are. Therein lies the blueprint that determines our uniqueness. In the process of growing up most of us lose touch with the ‘real me’ – it begins with striving to please our primary care giver. Smiling to elicit delight from our mother, eating vegetables, some of which we may never learn to actually like, getting A grades in subjects that will never light our fire, choosing the ‘right’ career, and so on.
We learn what raises applause and what doesn’t. How we handle the latter can stem from how we were handled as youngsters when we strayed off the road of approval. The degree of disapproval we were shown may turn us into desperate adherers of people-pleasing.
However, as you dance to the tune of society, the muffled sounds of your own tune will give rise to an inner conflict.
There’s the urge to continue collecting those brownie points to feel safe and accepted. Yet, perpetually kowtowing to external motivators leaves little room for the authentic mark from your own blueprint. It’s tantamount to living under authority as opposed to in authority.
For you to be in the leadership role of your own life, you need to feel in authority.
The more ‘under authority’ your life is, the more insignificant and powerless you feel. This imbalance, while not always apparent superficially, will have ways of leaking out – many ways!
And one of them lends weight to the saying: who knows what goes on behind closed doors.
That polite public people-pleaser can morph into a dictator in the privacy of his home or where he feels those around him are inferior and hold no clout. And it can take a trivial trigger to open the flood gates of dictatorial rage. As detrimental as these outbursts are for those around, they are even more so for the ‘dictator’ himself, as he strives to establish a sense of power. But abusive dictatorship is not true power. It is the desperate stand of a bully who is pleading for recognition. And it certainly doesn’t gain him respect or sincere loyalty.
True recognition, respect and worthiness, to feel real, have to come from the self – in that way you remove your dependency on others (an unpredictable variable) and look within the self to regain a constant anchor of peace. Consider this: if you valued yourself would you feel the need to rage or kowtow? Would you compromise yourself to gain validation from others?
If you suffer from people-pleasing overload, then ask yourself, are you not a people? Make the focus of your pleasing aspirations your self, and notice how those around you mirror your pleasure.
“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance” ~ Oscar Wilde