People-Pleasing and its many tentacles has ensnared me for most of my life.
From early childhood, I was taught by many well-meaning adults that most decisions should first be made in total regard for the other person, while my true desires and needs came in as the close second. This compassionate view of the world served me greatly in becoming aware at a very young age of other people, uncovering within me a deep understanding of empathy.
And yet, years later I recognized that the high cost for me was authenticity and self-love.
Fast forward twenty years and loads, and I do mean LOADS, of spiritual exploration, inner work and healing later, I have shed the roots of my people-pleasing psyche (at least on my best days) and discovered that compassion and empathy must first be extended towards myself.
Selfish you might say, and I say to that, not so fast.
The soul to soul perspective invites us to live true in all areas of this most blessed life. Why? Because living with integrity means matching the inner world to outer expression, the highest form of authenticity.
I realized with a HUGE start a few years back that the anger, resentment, and guilt that I often projected onto others—the actual roots of these feelings—ultimately and often subconsciously were directed towards ME.
The above-mentioned emotional muck usually stems from not living true in word and deed—aka without true integrity. I discovered that when I offer my full-out "Annieness" to myself and others, I offer my best. It's really as simple as that!
A mask of diplomacy wreaks havoc with overall well-being—physical, emotional, and mental—holding us back from inner (not to mention outer) peace because it undermines highest potential and chips away at our authenticity.
When I speak of diplomacy, I do not speak of how a message is delivered, but rather the truth of the message itself. I always seek to offer my words/actions in kindness and gentleness to another, but I now include myself in the offering.
When this notion of people-pleasing is contemplated fully, we see that it is actually an epidemic in our culture.
In many ways, our world could change over night if we all began to worry less about pleasing the other in order to remain tightly ensconced in the status quo, and instead courageously and passionately lived true—quirkiness, oddballish, unique vantage point, and all.
The self-love that we all seek requires honesty, both within and without.
Unfortunately, people-pleasing leaves little room for that...