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The Groove - Please yourself before others
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I’m without a doubt a people pleaser. I hate telling people no, and I like to make others happy even if it hinders my own self-being. 

 It’s hard to cancel or turn down plans. It’s hard to defend myself if there may be a chance of confrontation. It’s hard to feel negativity or anger around me. It’s hard to do something if there’s a chance it will upset someone else. Anything that could make others unhappy or uncomfortable is hard to do. 

Another great quality of being a people pleaser is the constant need to apologize for situations which don’t deserve remorse. Anything involving telling someone no is constantly followed by “I’m sorry.” I’m sorry for being too loud, too quiet, too talkative, too happy, too serious, too myself. A few times, I’ve even managed to apologize for apologizing too much. 

There’s a constant need to make others feel comfortable and pleased. If someone is unhappy with me, I feel anxious and will try to fix the situation as soon as possible regardless of what it takes and the energy it depletes. Even if no one is actually angry with me, I can feel like I’ve done or said something wrong.

When negativity is felt, I work hard to try and fix the tension. The opposite of that reaction is one where I withdraw into myself, overthink and worry. I can let others speak to me in aggressive ways but not defend myself. I simply want everyone be happy and calm. When others feel that way, I can then feel happy and calm too.

I’m working to change that aspect of myself because I’m realizing it’s not very healthy for me to carry such a weight and fear of not pleasing others. I’ve begun to put my foot down and make sure I hold it there without wavering. 

I’ve set goals to encourage myself to develop a thicker skin and a stronger voice. There comes a point where I realized I was living to satisfy everyone around me, and in the process forgot to care about or protect myself. 

The only people we can make happy is ourselves. Trying to take care of everyone else is tiring and impossible. I’ve wasted a great deal of time focusing on other people. I’ve decided I’m going to take small steps to take care of myself first.

These steps include beginning to defend myself even if it’s uncomfortable, saying no without feeling guilty, stopping needless apologies before they come out of my mouth, doing what I want to do instead of doing what is requested or desired by others and being myself without fear of if others like it or not. 

I’ve been a people pleaser for many years, and the transition will be uneasy at first since it is my normal behavior. However, I’m going to take a stand and begin living and caring for myself as I have others. I believe I deserve that now.

Standard reporter Atlanta Northcutt can be reached at 473-2191.