I grew up as a chameleon. I always felt insecure, inferior, and inadequate. You seemed much more interesting and worthwhile than I did, so I tried doing the things you liked, tried having the same interests, the same goals.
Of course, at the time I had no idea I was living a life driven by people pleasing. It wasn’t until I was older and in sobriety that I became completely aware. I had no idea who I was because I had spent most of my life trying to be someone else. Looking back it is painfully obvious why I never felt like I fit in, why I always felt my life didn’t quite fit me… because it wasn’t mine to begin with.
What is mine, though, is the experience. Every piece of our journey serves a purpose.
I didn’t really meet myself until this past decade. Every day is a gift. Unwrapping and learning more, experiencing more. Learning more and more about what I liked and what I didn’t like. Like a puzzle, each one a piece of me, that had never fully come together.
I never set out to sacrifice myself to people pleasing, I don’t think anyone intentionally does. It was a slow process, seeking validation from outside sources starting at a young age. Wanting to be loved, wanting to be valuable, wanting to fit in… No one should ever feel that they aren’t enough.
The craziest thing is once I stopped trying to be someone else, live up to what other people expected, trying to be liked by everyone… Life got a lot easier. I found things that I truly am passionate about, I learned that it’s okay to be me. That no matter what, I am always allowed to be where I am. That there is no such thing as perfect other than what exists right now in this very moment.
Here are some of the biggest things that have helped me to let go of people pleasing:
Have Faith in the Process
Looking back it’s easy to see every time I behaved, “liked” something, or acted in a way out of fear that I’d lose someone or something. This was especially true when it came to relationships.
When you do this, you push down a piece of you, telling yourself that piece isn’t good enough. Even if you don’t even realize you’re doing it. Once you let go and embrace who you are and how you feel, it’s completely liberating. Sure, some people may not like it, but you will attract the ones who like and appreciate you for you.
100% serious. Do you. One of the most profound times in my life was when I intentionally chose to be single for a year. No dating, no sex, just me. I nurtured non-romantic relationships, including the ones with myself and my higher power. I hadn’t realized that before that, I literally ran from myself. I would never be at home, rarely was alone, and when I was alone, it wasn’t by choice.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to do it the way that I did. But taking time for you, and only you can do wonders. Something as simple as having a date night with yourself once every couple weeks, or even once a month can create huge shifts. It can change how you perceive yourself and create clarity.
I mean, let’s get real… if you can’t spend time with you, you have some serious work to do.
Screw Social Media
Social media can really exaggerate the struggle with being who you really are. It can be full of judgment, comparison-itis, and lots of not-so-good feels. On the flip side it can be a place of encouragement and support.
If you are at a place where if you’re really honest with you, you constantly compare yourself to others, post things that are completely out of alignment with who you are, or refrain from posting out of fear of being judged… it may be a really good time to take a break from social media. Deactivate it temporarily if you need to.
You can also go and either remove or hide any contacts who are less than nurturing to your soul. Remember, you get to choose your tribe!
Being Authentic isn’t Selfish
You may think that cutting the cord on people pleasing is selfish. I shouldn’t just think about me. That’s not what it’s about. Of course you should be mindful of the feelings of others and respectful, but not at the expense of yourself.
The most selfish thing you can do is deprive the world of who you are. You are the only you in this entire universe. That’s pretty damn special, way too special to shove down and ignore.
When you work on changing this mindset, I promise, wonderful things will follow!
Starting to embrace and honor who you are can be uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s like getting to know a stranger, but it’s so worth it. This is your life. Those things that you’ve wanted to do, the goals, the dreams, every little bit that you have shoved down over the years, let it surface.
If you need a jump-start on your journey to self-discovery, check out my free guided meditation below. Specially geared to drop the people pleasing persona and embrace your own inner light.
In the comments below, share something that you love about yourself. It can be a quirk, a talent, a hobby, a weird interest, anything at all!
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