I’m Alissa and I’m a recovering people pleaser.
People Pleaser could’ve been my middle name. I’m a people pleaser! I just like to make people happy.
I thought there was nothing wrong with it until I realized how much anxiety it was causing me.
Sure, it feels good to make people happy. Especially the people we’re closest to. But are you trying to make everyone happy? And for what reason? So they like you?
That is a losing battle, my friend.
I was also the queen of escalating ridiculous scenarios in my head.
If one of my girlfriends asked me to go to a concert and I couldn’t make it, it became the end of the world for me.
“She’s probably mad at me now and won’t ever want to hang out again.” I’d think. “Now all my friends are going to go without me and think I’m a loser for not coming.”
Like, really? I was afraid to define my own life because I unconsciously let my worth depend on how others felt about me.
I tried to minimize the amount of times I ever had to say no so that I was available at everyone’s beck and call. God forbid I had to face the nightmare of letting someone down.
If you want to live life on your terms and do big things, you have to get used to upsetting people sometimes. It’s naturally going to happen while in pursuit of your goals. It’s going to happen when you have priorities in your life that you’re firm about.
You aren’t always going to be available to everyone all the time, and thank goodness for that. No apologies needed.
When I was 22, I interned for a big retailer in Southern California. I came in hot, with a burning desire to knock their socks off. I only had 10 weeks to show them why they should hire me.
I worked harder than I’d ever worked before. I said yes to every opportunity and task. I always asked what I could do to help.
It worked. They hired me at the end of my internship.
Here’s where it got a little uncomfortable, though. One of the women training me had been with the company for a few years and was very comfortable in her position. So much so that my desire to work really hard began to outshine her years of experience.
They ended up shifting some of her job responsibilities to me. I later got promoted to a higher position before she did.
This made me feel incredibly guilty. I felt like I’d come in and stomped on another woman’s career.
Remember? I’m a people pleaser.
We went from being office friends to her avoiding my gaze and speaking one word sentences to me. I had to tell myself, though, that it was fair and square.
I never came in and set my sights on hurting anyone. I came in with the sole intention to work hard and do my best. As much as I felt guilty, I also knew I deserved it.
You’re not going to be able to please everyone. Ever. What would’ve been an even bigger tragedy is if I’d hindered myself just to make sure she didn’t feel uncomfortable.
This scenario was an invitation to start feeling okay with not pleasing everyone.
Are you afraid to start your dream business because you’re worried about what people think?
Are you scared of telling your friends “no” to Saturday mimosas because you want to work out instead?
Are you nervous about wearing that risqué dress because you don’t want people to think you’re “trying too hard”?
Here’s what I, a recovering people pleaser, have to say to that: LIVE YOUR LIFE.
If people judge, they judge. Then what happens? They have a thought about you? So. Freaking. What?
Self-help queen Rachel Hollis quotes her therapist, saying, “Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business.”
That phrase brings so much freedom. A big sigh of relief. Any time you find yourself worrying what people may be thinking, bring that back to mind.
Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business.
It’s painful to live for other people. We’re working against our true nature when we suppress ourselves to make the people around us feel okay.
Do you know what’s incredibly empowering? Doing what you want. Going after your dreams. Trying your best. That is a sure way to build confidence in yourself. It means you’re taking control of your life instead of playing victim.
Life’s most fulfilling moments often come from being uncomfortable first. So do something challenging. Take a chance and learn to say no, even if your voice shakes.