Ever had those moments, where someone asks something of you, and while you’re not really feeling it in your heart of hearts, you go along anyway, because you don’t want to disappoint?
Or you see a group of people that you think would be awesome to be accepted into, or hang out with, and so you find yourself doing and saying things to get their approval?
Or you spread yourself so damn thin in an effort to appear useful and helpful to others?
You’ve been bitten by the Purple People Pleaser. He’s a hungry sucker. Big bloated and self-important, he likes to fill you with self-doubt and an over-exuberance for putting others first. Don’t worry, I’m right there with you. I am so, so, so guilty of being a PPP. I teach others not to do it, but then I go and do it myself. Hypocritical psyching since forever.
When we try to please others, we lose sight of so many things. We become that one eyed little dude that some person made a whack song about. Probably from the same people that made In the Night Garden. LSD works wonders, people! We turn ourselves inside out, we worry about what others might think or say about us, and some of the time, we even stop being us. We’re trying to be something else for someone else, and that never works. The PPP can actually make us sick. Like really sick.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we get so eager to please others? Because it’s that ridic thing of belonging and need. We all like to belong, and feel that we’re needed. That we’re a valuable member of the tribe. And we don’t want to rock the boat sometimes. So pleasing others affirms our spot in life. Which on a rational level we can say is insane, but emotionally….well that’s just so hard to shake. And even though we are doing an awesome job, we never want to believe ourselves. We’re our own worst enemies sometimes.
If you’ve been bitten by the PPP, take heart. You’re not alone. And it doesn’t have to be a lifelong affliction. We need to take control back. Because the crux of it all is that we can’t please everyone. Someone will always be shitty with us- in varying forms. We can’t do what everyone wants all the time.
I think as we become adults, we can get more conflicted with demands from others- everyone wants a piece of us. While we might not care as much what others think, we also feel we have to be certain things for certain people. I mean, who wants to feel like they’ve let others down?
Want some tips to fight off the PPP? No? Shit, sorry, I’m going to throw them at you anyway. Bear with me:
- Assess your priorities. What do you really need for YOU?
- Ask yourself- why do I need to please others? What’s in it for me?
- Know that you have a choice. You don’t have to do it all. You don’t have to be everything for everyone
- Break things down into smaller steps- negotiate if you need to
- Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries! Put those boundaries around yourself and set them firmly. You can totes help others, or do stuff for others, but you need to make sure it’s not at the expense of you. Or that you’re not doing it just to please others.
- Be aware. Aware of yourself, and of your habits. It’s easy to slip back into the PPP mindset, and it takes a bit of conscious effort.
- Throw the guilt away! You know what? That guilt is useless. It does no good, for anyone! Those who are true friends, will be cool with you not bending over backwards to do x,y, and z for them. Those who can see the kind of lovely person you are will appreciate when you’re honest and can’t do it all.
- There’s a difference between doing something nice for others, and people pleasing. You can tell from your gut reaction. Is it something you really want to do? Or is it something you feel like you have to do? Therein lies your answer.
In a nice way, it’s about putting yourself first. Which we’ve already banged on about round these parts. Because you can’t be there for anyone else unless you’re there for yourself. Fact.
So time to kick PPP to the curb. It’s doing you no good. And if you’ve got little ones? They’re looking to you right now to see how to act and what to do. And ain’t nobody wanting little mini PPP’s going around infecting our cherubs. So we have to lead by example. And maybe I need to take some of my own tips. That could be handy, couldn’t it?
Have you been a PPP? How do you deal with it? What’s your top tip to get that sucker to bugger off?