Mondays with Meg: The Paradox of People-Pleasing

 

"When you say 'yes' to others, make sure you are not saying 'no' to yourself." -Paulo Coelho

Hello again Campus Calmers! I’m glad to return back to my usual blogging day after a loooong break. Unfortunately, school work and my master’s thesis finally caught up with me, and I needed to devote some serious time to planning all of that out. That being said, I took some time to reprioritize my life and I’m happy to be posting once again. :)

I want to touch on a subject that I know I’ve talked about before: the need to please others. It’s a theme that seems to be reoccurring in my life and something that I continue to grapple with. The idea of pleasing others isn’t necessarily “bad”–bringing happiness and joy to people I care about is one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had. Yet, I find that I believe that I need to make sure everyone is happy, even if it means sacrificing my own personal happiness.

It’s the same idea behind saying “no” to people. There are times when I just can’t seem to do it, even though my schedule is booked. Why? Because of this need to please, this need to make sure someone isn’t mad or disappointed in me. It’s not easy for me to say “no” to someone I care about or someone I’m hoping to impress. But is it worth taking on another task, another favor, another assignment just to win someone’s approval? And why do I even need their approval?

Ultimately, I think my own people-pleasing drive comes from a source of insecurity. As a recovering perfectionist, I am still very self-critical and usually seek out the approval of others to legitimize my decisions, thoughts, and actions. But I’m realizing more and more that the only approval I need is my own. I need to accept myself and be confident in the decisions I make. The approval of a friend, classmate, colleague, or a professor may be a “confidence booster,” but ultimately, I am the only one who can manifest and maintain my own personal confidence. It starts with me, with making myself happy.

We spend so much time trying to make other people happy and accommodating for others, rather than focusing on our own personal happiness. We juggle schedules, push things aside, and rearrange our lives to bring happiness to others. What would happen if we could do that for ourselves? What if we legitimized our own life events and recognized their importance? What would that life look like?

Making personal happiness a priority has changed the way I live. It’s still a very new concept for me, and there are times when I “slip up” and put others before myself. The approval of others–our parents, our friends, our professors–is not the key to a happy life. But making the time to say “yes” to yourself–even if it means saying “no” to others–allows you to build the inner harmony that is necessary to personal well-being, confidence, and happiness.

Happy Monday :)

-Meg

-Meg Rindfleisch, Lead Her Intern, Campus Calm®

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