August 28, 2017
For the People Pleasing Mom.
People pleasing is exhausting, isn’t it?
Making sure that the people who matter most to you are happy and cared for is a big job. An important one. But everyone else? They seem to want you to take care of them too. Friends, clients, coworkers, bosses, people you’ve never met online inviting you to mailing lists and events. Instagram feeds that subtly offer suggestions about how you could be doing more. It feels like a heavy weight, doesn’t it? That if you don’t keep all the plates up there, spinning, and everyone around you smiling, the world might just crack wide open and swallow you up.
And you look into your kid’s eyes, and you know that most of all they need you, right here in this moment. But giving them your presence is one of the hardest things to do, because everyone and everything out there is bearing down. Lists, logistics, plans, people. So many people, with expectations. And you just don’t want to let anyone down. You want to please.
But maybe letting all those plates crash to the ground, and seeing which ones you want to pick up and put back together, might just be the thing to do right now.
I will never forget when my second child was three months old. I was saying yes to everything. Taking on every client project, constantly overcommitting, imagining that there was an entire world of people out there looking at me, wagging their fingers, waiting for me to prove how committed I was.
I was caught in a cycle of saying yes, then not being able to deliver on that yes. Because I couldn’t imagine saying no. I couldn’t imagine who I would be without everyone’s approval. Would I even exist if they didn’t say “good job”? In reality, I was letting people down. Myself, my clients, my kids. Everything was broken, and I was skittering around from one corner of my life to another, patching up all the gaping holes with duct tape.
When it all came crashing down and the plates halted themselves, I realized it. People pleasing isn’t sustainable for our souls. As a woman, and a mother, my constant stance was to be sure everyone around me was okay. But that care never extended inward. Saying no, standing up when something was wrong, or daring to piss someone off seemed like an egregious sin that I wanted no part in. Until it almost took away my quality of life.
For the sake of your soul, your sanity, and your family- recognize your intrinsic worth. Accept that not everyone will like you, or even approve of your choices. Understand that you- beautiful, glorious you- are loved, affirmed, and accepted, simply because you are. No amount of outside approval or disapproval is going to add or detract from that. Let go of people pleasing. Sit still. Listen to what you need, what your soul is screaming for. And start there.
It's time to thrive, mama.
Enter Your Email Address for A PDF Download of the first three chapters of The New Mystique: Reimagining Motherhood and Work by Hilary Barnett