I have been wanting to write this for a while now and today is finally the day when I share with you how I freed myself from the shackles of people pleasing.
For the better part of my life, I realized that I wanted everyone to like me. I really did, it would hurt me so much if I found out that someone didn’t like me or agree with me or want to be my friend, and I’d go crazy trying to fix it. What a colossal waste of time and energy! I did this for years and years and frankly, I didn’t even realize that it had become a thing, and that the one person I had failed to please and make happy was me. I had to make a drastic change when I realized that I had dug myself into a hole that I needed to get out from and here’s a few of the hard truths I told myself:
Step 1- Discovery: Sometime in 2015, I came to a phase of my life where I needed to speak up for myself but somehow I couldn’t find my voice. I dreaded confrontations of any kind and I was tolerating crap from people rather than calling them out on it and demanding for better. So like a light bulb, it came on in my head and cast a light on all the bad decisions I had been making and I had to ask myself some questions like: why is it important to you for every one to like you? Why? Are you jollof rice and peppered chicken???Why do you avoid confrontation when necessary? Why are you so scared of losing people who aren’t even trying to be there? It was a difficult conversation to have with myself but I had to because if I treated these people the exact same way they treated me, would we still be in each other’s lives?
Step 2- The Magic Word: After all my soul searching and introspection, I decided to become a tad bit selfish. To put myself and my mental well-being first and to learn to say NO. No to negativity, no to suppressing myself for others, No to insults to my person and just plain No. I learned the value of saying No without any explanation. If I cannot do something for you, I honestly can’t and the sky won’t fall because I didn’t. I am not saying become rude and hateful, I am just saying learn to say no to toxic people and the drama that they bring along with them.
Step 3- Boundaries and Accountability: The old me always let snide comments pass without speaking up even when I was hurt by them. I’d excuse myself in my head by saying oh I’m a stammerer I shouldn’t argue, haha! Well, if my tongue won’t let me talk, my key pad will. So instead of swallowing it and smiling I’d politely speak up and voice my displeasure and like I said If I couldn’t verbally say it, a text message works just as well. I also began to hold myself accountable for certain actions and I reevaluated my friendships. A lot of times, in the bid to stay sane and feel better I’d over share certain aspects of my life with friends that honestly didn’t feel the same way about me, because I truthfully didn’t know much of what was going on in their lives! They never told me anything but I’d foolishly tell them everything! I would do this and get nothing in return because it never occurred to me before then that friendship was a two way street, it goes both ways so if we aren’t walking towards each other what then is the point? After I took my L and learned my lessons, I also learned the fine art of shutting up and making do. So I whittled down my circle to my God, my journal, my sister, my mum and a hand full of friends who have truly been there for me all along and I cannot even begin to explain how happy and at peace I am after sanitizing my life. Down size, you do not need everybody to know everything, emotional intelligence is a valuable asset.
People that belittle you and ridicule you and treat you poorly shouldn’t be in your life, it’s self maintenance. In the grand scheme of things, everybody and their opinion of you shouldn’t matter much, won’t matter much when you realize yourself and your worth. I shall live my life gloriously happy, live it in ALL CAPS, boldly and vivaciously.
It’s okay to be an acquired taste, not everyone has to like you and that’s very ok! Live a life that makes you very happy. If my conscience is fine with it, and my mother is fine with it? Then all is well with me.
“Don’t be afraid of losing people, be afraid of losing yourself trying to please everyone around you.” – Anonymous
“Live your life for you, last last; everybody go dey alright “- Lagos Lingo