Pleasing the World and Losing Yourself
Empaths feel you. They really feel your pain or your judgement. They adjust their energy and behavior in accordance with what they feel. They soak up the room around them.
I was raised in the land of nice people, to be pleasing to others, and choose my words carefully to not cause offense. My goal subconsciously was to satiate others, to please others and gain their approval. I am more aware of this tendency now and try my best to explore my own identity.
Maybe at work, I didn’t want to seem too pushy, opinionated, or strange around co-workers so I muted myself or chose words that downplay my ideas. In a romantic relationship, I was overly agreeable, putting my partner’s happiness before my own. In relationships, I can pinpoint the exact moment that my worth started depreciating. It’s like an exhausting slow bleed or a deflating bounce house that withers and loses its shape with each stomp. All of the pleasing and painful niceness wheezes out, leaving a kind of vacant shell, and I am left scrambling to fill it up with something. The problem is, us empaths and people pleasers don’t know ourselves enough to find our own authentic joy. This takes work, and a lifetime of pleasing doesn’t help.
I feel like most of us have been here sometime in our lives. Either we learn our lesson, or we are stuck in a cycle of seeking approval. The scary thing is, we give so much power to those that haven’t proven their character to us yet. Is being unconditionally vulnerable a virtue or is it insanity? What happens to us spiritually and physically when we are so nervous to say the right thing and create that pleasing interaction? What happens when we are confronted with those that don’t share those traits at work or in different social circles and we need to “up our game” for survival?
When we diminish our needs, wants, and worth to accommodate any random person we come in contact with, we don’t have much to bring to the table. We can become someone that is too paralyzed to truly know and say what they need, desire, or love. I’ve learned this over time. Building up this false sense of self and confidence from the judgement of others, only to be left wondering what it is I can really offer the world and how to love what I left for myself. Important decisions are made trying to please others because their approval makes us feel good and right.
In making life-decisions, I have often chosen out of habit what the heart wants, over logic. This was satisfying my need for approval and the emotional security that it comes with. This is when life can become a rollercoaster if we let it. Our emotional intelligence is the key to so much of our success, but how can we trust how the emotions are derived? Do they come from a place of insecurity or a place of calm and steadiness.
I can’t ignore the heart, but I have spent years trying to tame it. Taking my time to make decisions and empowering my own voice above others. In the land of nice people we stay neatly in our comfort zone. It is a small and tidy place. When we do break out of our zone, it is like a surge of sweet adrenaline. We learn more about who we really are every time we leave and venture out into the unknown. We gain clarity and our decisions feel more aligned with our authentic selves.
When we start demanding how we want to live and realize the people whose approval we seek do not always have our best interests at heart, we are “released” from this kind of blind servitude. It can be a beautiful thing. For those lovely, pleasing souls out there, consider taking a moment to allow others to earn your trust and your kindness before you grace them with all of it. Provide yourself with a little self-love that can grow exponentially as you feed it and make your life truly your own design.