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You Are Not For Everyone
It's time to live for yourself
Repeat after me, “I am not for everyone.” This is the key takeaway from Dr. Aziz Gazipura’s book Not Nice.
Whenever I find myself in a difficult situation, which historically would have caused me to adopt people-pleasing habits, I remind myself of this.
I don’t like everyone, so it is ok and normal for others not to like me. After all, I am not for everyone.
It is exhausting trying to please everyone, and ultimately it doesn’t work. It leaves us feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and often resentful.
Are you a people pleaser? Maybe you aren’t, but I suspect you know people who are.
Here are 10 common traits of people pleasers:
Struggle to say “no” to others.
Have a low opinion of self.
Have a strong desire to be liked.
Make excuses for others.
Suffer from low self-esteem.
You adapt yourself to fit in.
You feel responsible for other people’s feelings.
You struggle to express your own needs.
The vicious cycle of people pleasing
We can’t please all of the people all of the time. Ironically, when we lay ourselves down and allow others to walk all over us, we aren’t lending ourselves to being liked.
Terms such as “I don’t mind” or “whatever is easiest for you” have their place, but can also be frustrating to others and aren’t endearing.
People pleasers detect energy changes. They often internalise someone’s mood and believe it to be personal. This instigates an action to seek validation or reassurance.
We might ask questions such as “are you annoyed with me?” or “have I done something to upset you?” We can torment ourselves by replaying situations to figure out what we have done!
Remember, often, other people’s moods aren’t even about us.
We must learn to trust ourselves. Any adult worthy of our time will not treat us with passive aggression. And if they do, that’s a them issue, not a you issue!
Breaking the chain of people pleasing
Learning to recognise our own self-worth is a challenging lesson. We must love and respect ourselves before we expect others to do so. We don’t need others to validate us.
For people pleasers, the hardest word in the English language is “no,” closely followed by the word “help!”
Last week I said “no” to several things the old me would have said yes to. When we say “no” to others, we say “yes” to ourselves and make space for other opportunities that may come along.
I’ve come a long way; the best part of saying “no” last week was the feeling of empowerment I experienced. I didn’t feel guilty as I would have done in the past. Instead, I felt myself standing taller and puffing out my chest. I was honoring myself and my own needs, and it felt good!
It’s time to start practicing the power of “no!”
Don’t want to go on the work night out?
Don’t have the time to help a friend move house?
Don’t have the emotional capacity for a friend to offload onto you?
Fed up with giving your time freely to others who want to “pick your brain” for free advice with no pattern of reciprocity?
Just say, “no!”
This is a full and complete sentence, and it is ok to say it. Heck, it’s more than ok to say it.
Practice saying it. “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.” Now say it like you actually mean it.
There are different kinds of no.
There’s the “no” when you are interested, but the timing is off - you may be super busy and don’t have the time or headspace for anything else without burning out (people pleasers are prone to taking on too much and burning out - quelle surprise).
There’s also the “no” when you are just not interested. This can be the hardest “no” to execute, as we have no excuse. But here’s the kicker - we don’t need an excuse!
“Thanks for thinking of me, but I don’t have the capacity to take anything else on at the moment. Feel free to come to me with other opportunities in the future, though.”
“Thanks for thinking of me; this isn’t something I’m interested in”
What do YOU want?
It feels good to be around people who know what they want and aren’t afraid to ask for it. These people ooze confidence and self-assurance. They amaze me, but I am slowly becoming one of them.
You don’t have to be a sheep and fit in with the wishes of the flock. If you would rather see one film over another, say so. If the idea of attending a house party fills you with dread, don’t go.
It is not selfish to do more of what you want. Afterall, who will advocate for you if you don’t do it yourself?
When you know how to use the word “no” effectively, the things you say “yes” to become more meaningful, and you live a life with a greater sense of fulfillment and joy.
If you are interested in learning more about how to break free from the restrictive chains of people-pleasing, I highly recommend Dr. Aziz Gazipura’s book Not Nice.
Sunday’s newsletter for paid subscribers will develop the idea of curtailing our people-pleasing habits and outline how we can live more assertively.
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