by Grant McGeachie
If we have a deep need for other people to approve of us, we may become so focused on keeping them happy that we damage our own well-being. This behavior is commonly referred to as people pleasing. In this post, Grant talks about his experience with this and what did to change things.
My Name is Grant and I Was a People-Pleaser…
Up until recent months, I lived my entire life for others and never myself. Acting this way required suppressing my true feelings – I slowly lost every fiber of my being.
People-pleasing led me too:
Low self esteem
Lack of Confidence
Lack of Self Worth
Zero Self Will
People pleasing meant an inability to move on with my own life. It was also an important factor in my decent into addiction.
Confrontation and the Art of Ignoring Feelings
As long as I can remember, I did everything to keep the peace and avoid confrontation. As part of this process, I ignored every feeling that ever came up in my life – burying them, drowning them, and pushing them down into the pit in my stomach.
My Happiness depended on everyone around me, so I was completely at their mercy for my well-being.
When I look at my life today, it is easy to see how my life has played out up until my sobriety date 9/6/2015. I had never been sober long enough or had the courage or strength to ask what I really want out of life.
I was a SON of parents that used to fight a lot – I was the mediator from a young age.
I was a Brother – I made sure all my brothers were safe & had enough money.
I was the Friend – I now recognize I was often taking advantage of due to my need to be viewed as kind
I was the Boyfriend – who always pleased his partner. I always put her happiness before mine. I did everything to make sure her life was perfect at the detriment of myself.
Every example above illustrates how one can lose his/her Identity by taking on the world’s problems – thinking you’re doing the right thing. When you stop expressing your own needs, it is a dangerous slippery slide, and one I am determined not to do again.
My Life Today
I am now 8 months clean & Sober and after a lot of work on myself and looking within I now live my life for me one day at a time.
Was this easy? No… it was my biggest challenge yet. Trying to undo 30 years of self-destructive behaviour.
My councillor encouraged me to be more assertive – I needed to start putting my own needs first whilst I was in treatment. This was extremely difficult as every people-pleaser knows because we all want everyone to like us and really care what people think of us.
This was the best lesson I have ever learned. As difficult as it was, it really opened my eyes as to others reactions towards me being assertive. I was starting to be a respective peer and a figure people followed and looked up too. It really re-shaped my life.
Today I have
But most of all I have control of my life again as I live for me.
Read More from Grant McGeachie – Grant’s Recovery Story
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