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YOU- Body, Mind, Spirit #5: People Pleasing - MarciaGrace

 I’m your Modern Meditation Mentor and let me explain why I say ‘modern.” The way I teach meditation to my clients is different than anything else you probably have experienced.

Many people think they have to clear their minds or burn incense or chant or do stuff like that. Those are all cultural activities that come from meditation practices in India. They have nothing to do with meditation at all.

The process that I explain and teach is very different and I think it’s fun. I like fun, fun is good! And fun becomes joy as you comprehend the immense power and wisdom that resides in your own mind.

This is # 5 in our Body, Mind, Spirit series today. I woke this morning still not knowing what to talk about today. But then I had a conversation with a business associate, and she was complaining about having so much to do.

I asked, “What’s keeping you so busy?” And she explained that so many people were pressuring her for help so she couldn’t finish writing an article she’d promised for a journal.

That made me stop and think. And that’s how the topic for today was born. I realized my friend was a people pleaser who felt obligated to take care of others’ problems before her own.

 I think a lot of spiritually minded people can tend to be people pleasers, and I don’t mean someone who cares about other people or wants to be helpful.

Do you think of yourself as a broad-minded, big-hearted kind of person who is thoughtful and caring? That’s all great. That’s wonderful. That’s what we tend to be when we’re spiritually motivated. The difference is, it’s all good unless the word ‘no’ doesn’t enter into your vocabulary. That’s where the problem comes in.

 

I know this very well because, for many, many years as a young woman, i was a people pleaser and it was the ruination of my life. Really.

I used to believe that if somebody asked me a question, I had to answer it. I can tell you I had a huge realization about that! Just because someone asks you a question, it doesn’t mean you have to answer it. You could say, “That’s not something I discuss, or, “It’s none of your damn business.” No, I don’t ever say that, but I think it sometimes! Or simply change the subject!

I also used to believe that if someone asked me to do something, well, then I had to do it. And I never stopped to question why that was. What made me think that I had to do something just because somebody asked me?

I didn’t realize how it was affecting me. I felt guilty if I thought about even possibly not doing what they asked. I just lowered my sense of self-esteem. I didn’t think about myself at all. I was all about pleasing the other person. And then it started to cause resentment. I got annoyed. “I don’t have time to finish my own work because I’m busy doing this thing for that person.” Resentment percolates.

And if you don’t confront it (which I didn’t), if you don’t face it, then you internalize it and it builds up, and explodes as anger or depression. It comes out in different ways, but for me it came out basically as anger. And I would lash out at the people I love the most, my family. Because they were closest, they got the brunt of my upsetness. (Is that a word?)

Talk about being stressed, right?

This is one of the most common ways I see people experiencing stress. They try to do too many things for others and not take care of themselves.

I’m so grateful I found my spiritual practice, which has been with me for over 40 years now, A Course in Miracles, and it taught me what real love is.

What I thought was being loving, doing all this stuff for others, was my way of thinking I’d be loved if I helped these people. That’s why I needed to do these things. Fortunately, I realized that’s not love. That’s bargaining, that’s making deals. It’s not real love

What happens if you say no, and then that person has no need of you. Is that love? No, of course not. So I started to learn. It took a long time. I can’t say it happened overnight, but I did begin to love myself. And that’s the first step.
So how do you stop being a people pleaser?

Well, you need to take care of you first. You must take care of your needs, whatever they are. You get up in the morning. You have responsibilities. You have a business to run. You have work to do. Make sure your priorities are taken care of first.

Then, make sure you give yourself some ‘me’ time. Time just for yourself to have fun, to relieve the load of everyday living. Read a book, go for a walk. Have a glass of wine or a beer with a friend and laugh. Do that to let off steam, to allow yourself to be who you are without any need to perform. Just do what you love.

That’s going to help a lot in letting go of stress.

You need to schedule. Schedule your work, schedule your fun. When someone asks you to do something (because now everybody knows you’re a soft touch and so they figure “Piece of cake. He’s gonna do it. No sweat!” right?
But now, you say to yourself, “I don’t really have time to do that,” and you say to them, “let me check my schedule. I’ll get back to you” Let me check my schedule! All of a sudden you have a schedule!

 Wow, that’s gonna be shocking, right? But hey, that’s a good answer. It’s a great answer because then you don’t have to make an instant decision! You don’t want to make an instant decision, because if you make it immediately, you may rue it later (probably will!).

So you’ve got a schedule. Now you’ve put yourself in a place where you are taking care of yourself and feeling good about yourself. You’re getting your work done and aren’t worrying about the whole world out there.
Because you can’t do it all. None of us can do it all, even those of us who are extremely motivated to be of service (and that’s a lot of my clients.)

It’s very easy to fall into that trap of taking care of other people before yourself so be on the lookout. Really watch yourself and make sure you’re doing the things that you absolutely have to do. You’re never going to get everything done in the day that you plan.

At least I certainly never do, but I do get the most important things done.

For instance, I must feed Clawdia. if I don’t feed her she will cause me bodily injury if not death. She runs up my leg or dashes across my path or sits by my feet meowing her head off. So she needs to be fed or else!

Just say no. It won’t be the end of the world. No one’s going to fall down dead if you if you pass. In fact, they most likely will just say “Oh, ok, I know you’re busy” and they’ll go off and find somebody else or do it themselves. It’s not your problem.

I actually think you’re helping people when you decline their requests, because you don’t want to initiate a codependent relationship. It’s essential to our well-being to take care of our own responsibilities and let others take care of theirs.

That way, you’re helping other people by helping yourself. I love when it’s a win-win situation for everybody.
It will take courage at first to say NO. I know. It’s hard to change your habits.

My yoga teacher read this wonderful passage from the Upanishads to our class. It expresses my feelings exactly!

“Watch your thoughts. They become your words.
Watch your words. They become your actions.
Watch your actions. They become your habits.
Watch your habits. They become your character.
And watch your character. If becomes your destiny.”
So don’t let your destiny be subsumed by other peoples’ needs and wants. Let your destiny be who you really are: the wonderful, brilliant person with a mission.
And then you can be truly helpful because now you’re helping from your abundance, with your unique gifts, and you are totally comfortable being of service.

Leave people-pleasing at the door and be helpful when it’s really the right thing for you to do.

 

Love and Peace Always,
MarciaGrace

 

And remember,
Everything Begins with a Thought,

 

So monitor your thoughts and eliminate the ones that hurt.
So don’t let your destiny be subsumed by other peoples’ needs and wants. Let your destiny be who you really are: the wonderful, brilliant person with a mission.

And then you can be truly helpful because now you’re helping from your abundance, with your unique gifts, and you are totally comfortable being of service.
Leave people-pleasing at the door and be helpful when it’s really the right thing for you to do.

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