I love people and I love being loved and appreciated by people. I love being popular and I love positive attention. This is one of the major contributors to me falling into depression. Another major factor was my history of abuse and me identifying with abuse and allowing it to continue without realising it.
As far back as I can remember I have always gone out of my way for everyone around me, winning favour where ever I could and giving so much to the people around me. I gave and gave, and everyone took and took. As long as I was giving, I felt great because I thought that people liked me. I was confident and happy while not realising that I was being completely drained. I remember running from one get together to the next, never wanting to disappoint anyone by saying no. My weekends were completely exhausting, and I was feeling as if I was drowning. I was absolutely exhausted at the start of each week and I never felt rested at all. I was literally driving on fumes and not coping with day to day things. My concentration levels were really low, and I was wasting excessive amounts of time rechecking simple things because I had been unable to concentrate properly in the first place. Small tasks felt like huge mountains and I was waking up each day feeling exhausted and dreading the day ahead. I was simply wishing my days away. Waiting for home time, waiting for bed time, waiting for a break that I could just sit and breathe.
Tanu B. Singh. said:
“Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice because the flow has passed and will never pass again. Enjoy every moment.”
I was watching time go by, not realising that I could never get time back. I was in zombie mode and I was literally wasting my life. All because I wanted to please everyone. Time is a very valuable commodity, wasting it is a tragedy.
At the end of the day I was only damaging myself. I had become so used to putting everyone else first that I had become someone that I wasn’t. I had become the person everyone wanted me to be instead of being true to myself. I had to hit rock bottom before I even noticed how far I had slipped into the very damaging world of the people pleaser. I have a terrible habit of trying to save the wounded and find the lost. This is the very reason that I got into the first abusive relationship at 17. The guy I got involved with needed saving, needed me, or so I thought. Although I wouldn’t go back and change the past, I need to remind myself to stop putting everyone else first constantly.
Not only is people pleasing completely draining, it is very dangerous because as quickly as you build your self-esteem up on the positive attention from people, your self-esteem can be broken in an instant by negative attention. You make yourself completely vulnerable to being made or broken by people. People’s behaviour is completely out of your control, but you are basing your self-esteem on them. This is without a doubt the most dangerous thing you can do and the effects on your mental health are catastrophic. It takes one person to knock you down into the pits of depression or to give you an anxiety disorder. And at the same time you have completely lost yourself.
Suddenly the people pleaser is faced with turmoil and this is when I was given the amazing opportunity to find myself. This was the time to get to know me and to learn how to set strict boundaries and put me first. We grow up being told not to be selfish and to give unto others, but I am telling you right now, be selfish, look after yourself, put yourself first. Take time to get to know yourself, take time to grow, learn, and better yourself. Take the time to build your self-esteem on YOU. You are the only solid foundation on which to build your self-esteem. If you build your self-esteem on others, you give them the power to destroy you. Never mind the fact that you are left completely emotionally exhausted pleasing everyone and having nothing left for yourself.
I am not saying don’t do anything for anyone else, I am saying put you first. Set boundaries, be assertive and learn to say no. Give yourself time and love yourself first. Spend time with yourself, take time out of your day to spend on you. Stop wasting energy on what other people think of you. What people think of you is entirely their business. What you think of yourself is your business. And if you have areas within you that you need to work on, do it. Fix the things you don’t like and be the best version of you.
Doing good for others is healthy and creates happiness, don’t confuse this with being a people pleaser. Giving is good but trying to please everyone is when giving becomes dangerous. When you look after yourself first, you become content, happy and confident and you are able to analyse and decide what you want to give and to who.
Take time to do something that is purely for you. Paint, draw, write, whatever you enjoy doing, find a hobby. The satisfaction you get out of doing something you enjoy for you is worth all the weight in gold. Remember you are the only person who truly knows you, so change what you don’t like and learn to love yourself. Loving yourself is truly the very best thing you can do for you and everyone around you.