I am not your doormat

A huge number of us in this world are "people pleasers"

We love to help other people - but we often do it at the detriment of ourselves.

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

  • I need to be nice to people even if I'm in a bad mood
  • I feel selfish if I do something for myself
  • I go over and over everything I do and say, concerned how it might cause others to react or think about me
  • I love positive feedback, but negative feedback hits me hard and can take a long time to get over
  • I can't say no to requests from others, even if I don't really have the resources to complete the request

We are often brought up to think that doing things for other people shows how nice and kind we are, and saying no means we are rude and selfish.

It's true, doing things for other people does show how nice we are, and we usually get positive feedback for doing it, which our egos take and use to confirm to ourselves that we are indeed good people.

But it is not true that saying no means we're rude and selfish, when we do it in a considered way in line with what's important for us.

  • Why do you need to be nice to be people even if you're in a bad mood?
    • Does being in a bad mood make you a bad person?
    • Are you a human who is allowed to be in a bad mood sometimes?
    • Are there often things going on for you, which other people don't necessarily even know about, which contribute to your mood?
  • Why is it selfish to do something for yourself?
    • Think about the aeroplane safety announcement "put your own oxygen mask on before helping anyone else" why do they say that?
    • Is anyone who ever does something for themselves always selfish when they do it?
      • I like going out with my friends - am I selfish?
      • I love reading - is taking a few minutes with a book and a cuppa selfish?
      • I like to relax in the bath - is doing that selfish?
    • Why are you any different?
  • Why do you worry what others might think about you?
    • This one is usually based in a need to belong - which comes from our distinctly lower chances of survival outside our tribe in caveman times… but we live in 2022!
    • Does everyone think positively of everyone?
    • Does one person having one negative thought about you mean anything about you as a person?
    • Or does their opinion of you reflect much more on them than it does on you?
  • Why do you love positive feedback?
    • It literally gives us a dopamine (happy chemical) hit causing us to feel good!
  • Why does negative feedback hurt so much, and last so long?
    • Again back to caveman times: negative feedback kept us alive, so we learned to listen to it, put much more weight behind it & remember it for future reference. In 2022 our brains don't know that negative feedback won't save our lives but it treats it with the same level of importance!
    • Is negative feedback always true?
    • Does the person giving the feedback have their own perspective and purpose for the feedback which might not actually be in our best interests?
    • Is the feedback even important in our lives, or could it be minor and ignored?
    • Or what can we learn from the feedback and then move on?

Saying yes is often an accumulation of a lot of the fears based on the other thoughts mentioned at the top.

But ONLY doing things for other people actually means we place little value on ourselves.

When we value ourselves, we can make much better decisions on how and where to spend our limited time, energy and effort - which will sometimes be on things to help other people, and sometimes be on things for ourselves.

There is no need for guilt for saying no, you are not rejecting the other person (even if they tell you you are) you are simply putting yourself and your priorities higher than theirs.

And if you don't do that, nobody else will.

It's your choice.

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