Hello, all. It is I, your resident recovering people-pleaser. I have written about this topic quite a few times, here and here, for example, but this seems to be a long-term process of unlearning, and I’m back for an update.
I’ve learned a few more lessons and I’d love to share them with you. Get your peppermint tea ready, yo, and digest these things I no longer have to do:
1. Laugh at jokes I don’t find funny
Whew, chile! This nervous laugh is the ghetto. I know I like to laugh– I love to laugh– but I’ve caught myself over the years laughing out of politeness. Out of “I-don’t-want-to-be-that-SJW-who-doesn’t-laugh-at-your-racist-joke-so-I’ll-just-give-it-a-chuckle-and-very-gently-maybe-sometime-tell-you-that-it’s-kinda-not-cool”-ness. (That’s one long noun I just created) I just don’t have to do that anymore.
Punch-down jokes aren’t funny. Racism, sexism, rape and poverty are very real issues most of us are trying to combat so, no, I don’t think you’re “edgy.” Rape is not a casual metaphor you can just use for anything that’s vaguely unpleasant for you. A Million Ways to Die in the West is a shitty movie. Get in, loser.
2. Apologise so much
Gatdamn, I say sorry a lot. My sister came up with the very original nickname “The Sorry Girl” every time I apologized for something I didn’t need to. And I found it quite trivial and unimportant for the most part, until quite recently when two or three new connections started pointing out how often I apologise. “Why are you apologising?” “You don’t need to apologise” “You’re polite, but you really don’t need to apologise so much” are common ones I’ve been hearing.
However, it’s not just for trivial things. I apologise when I know I’m not actually in the wrong, even though I get annoyed at the idea of that. But this extends into my next point.
3. Harbour guilt for disappointing people
Yo, I bend over backwards not to disappoint people. Yes, sometimes it’s so I don’t disappoint myself, but too often it’s for someone else. I’m getting to trust my gut a lot. Having a bad feeling about a person, a project, a situation is something I’m pretty much never wrong about, and my decision to exit those situations are always in line with my values, even if it’s hard. But I don’t need to beat myself up over the other party being disappointed.
My personality type, the people-pleaser, unfortunately attracts predatorily manipulative personalities. I’m constantly having to exit things I kinda saw coming but gaslit myself into staying in. My most recent experience felt like my last breakup from a toxic relationship; it involved a lot of guilt-tripping, a lot of anger towards me, and thankfully I was fully prepared for it. I accepted that the person would think I’m a bad person (or at least, imply that they did) and that I was totally okay with that. I know I’m f*cking awesome and I’m good, yo.
Some of it did get to me and I felt slightly guilty for flourishing after leaving those negative situations, but I realized that that’s just evidence that I did what was best for me. Glennon Doyle in her book Untamed puts it so nicely
“Listen. Every time you’re given a choice between disappointing someone else and disappointing yourself, your duty is to disappoint that someone else. Your job, throughout your entire life, is to disappoint as many people as it takes to avoid disappointing yourself.”
I’m not saying: GO LET SOMEBODY DOWN TODAY! I’m saying, if letting someone down is the cost of staying true to yourself, your values and your comfort, pay that price, bih.
Are you also a recovering people-pleaser? Feel free to share what you’re unlearning in the comments 🌸