confessions [of a Mel] post.people.pleaser.

 Have you ever known someone who seemed more nice than real?
Always sweet. eager to help. you say "jump" they say "how high?" kind of folks. 
I think they've been called: people-pleasers.

...yah, that was me for many years.
I used to think as long as I kept everyone happy, and never offended anyone... then all was well.

But it wasn't.
Because there's a whole lot of wrong reasons for trying to be 'nice'.

You're afraid to offend, because that could lead to rejection.
Or you don't want to disappoint.reject.hurt any one.
Or you just want to 'keep the peace' since conflict is uncomfortable.
These are the personalities you often find in 'social work' settings.
They are the 'rescuer' that wants to help everyone.
The bleeding heart that want to jump to the aid of every need. 

They give. give. give...
...and eventually, they may just burn out.
It feels like you either have to clone yourself to face all the demands, or just turn tail and run!
...after over eight years of social work (with teens) I have seen my share of this effect,
both in my life and others.
There are so many heart-breaking stories out there.
The more you intertwine yourself the more you can feel unravelled.

It was in these hardships that I had learnt a few valuable lessons.

To quote a past co-worker: 
"One person's emergency, is not your urgency".

This is a valuable reminder.
 Not every need in the world has to be rushed to and rescued by me.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating jerk-ism!  But I do see the importance of knowing what my priorities are and allowing that to dictate the choices I make.

What this looks like in reality...
...taking time to smell the flowers instead of running frantically to the next crisis.

Recognising that an uninterrupted conversation with my family is more important than running through the wall to answer a ringing phone.

Saying "no" to people when I know I can't give what they need... and not feeling guilty.

 Seeking to be more real, than just playing nice.

I figure that's the best way to be a pleasing person, instead of a people-pleaser.
What do you think?  Agree, disagree?  I welcome your 'realness' here too.

Mel ;o)


  1. Love everything about this pictorial essay!
    I haven't fully learned your lesson yet.
    Aunt D

  2. We have so much in common!

    I became a homeopath and while I love homeopathy to bits, I had to stop because I recognized that it was not healthy for me. I couldn't separate myself from others appropriately. I wanted to make everything okay for everyone and I was absorbing everything from my clients. They were happy about their treatment, I was completely exhausted and anxious. I recognized that it wasn't a healthy situation for me but I didn't really know what to do about it. That's the major reason that I stopped practicing for a long time. I've been thinking lately about doing it again, now that I'm better at boundaries, am more grounded, have a better sense of myself and know that it's not my duty to rescue everyone just because I can feel their pain.

    But this tendency can and did get me into a lot of trouble when I was younger. I often think about something my grandmother used to say. When I was younger I didn't think much of it. "Please yourself. Then at least you know you're pleasing somebody." Years ago, I think I thought that the saying described selfishness. Now I see that it says nothing about pleasing yourself at other people's expense. I think it's pretty wise advice, along the lines of take care of yourself before you take care of everyone else. Because if you are not strong and nourished, you have very little to give.

    You are delightful (even when you're not playing nice)!

  3.  Oh Andrea ~ you sweet soul!  First: your comment posted!! woo.  Second: thanks for sharing those experiences, it is such a fine balance eh?  Getting involved with others.. empathizing but not losing a healthy balance for your own state of well being (I think most people in social work settings must face these battles)...  I do hope you find a healthy way to rediscover your work that you love!  Sounds like Grandma has it figured out too ;o)
    We can only give as much as we 'got'... thanks for being such a 'nice' mama/friend in my world!

  4.  Thanks lovely.  Feel free to come practice being a 'jerk' with me anytime.. hehe...  "Hey D, want to come for dinner?"  "NO!".... ok, "dessert?"......"mmmmmYES!".  ;o) love you.

  5. oh my k now I am scared how you seem to blog about things at the same time I am thinking about that exact thing!! Literally just finished a convo with my hubby about how God's opinion of me is the only one that matters. Not what man thinks about me!!! A song that says is well is Sara Groves song " This Journey is my own" http://youtu.be/_EV4orRzqf0 
    Lyrics are: 
    When I stand before the Lord, I’ll be standing alone 
    This journey is my own 
    Still I want man’s advice, and I need man’s approval 
    This journey is my own 

    Why would I want to live for man, and pay the highest price 
    What does it mean to gain a whole world, only to lose my life 

    So much of what I do is to make a good impression 
    This journey is my own 
    And so much of what I say is to make myself look better 
    But this journey is my own 

    And why would I want to live for man, and pay the highest price 
    And what does it mean to gain a whole world, only to lose my life 

    And I have never felt relief like I feel it right now 
    This journey is my own 
    Cuz trying to please the world, it was breaking me down 
    It was breaking me down 

    And now I live and I breathe for an audience of one 
    Now I live and I breathe for an audience of one 
    Now I live and I breathe for an audience of one 
    Cuz I know this journey is my own 

    And why would I want to live for man, and pay the highest price 
    And what does it mean to gain a whole world, only to lose my life 
    And you can live for someone else, and it will only bring you pain 
    I can’t even judge myself, only the Lord can say, ‘Well done.’ 

    Oh, this journey is my own

  6.  I guess 'great' minds think alike... or something more scary ;o)  Thanks for sharing those true lyrics Rach! xo

  7. This is all very me. I am exactly what you explained and its hard trying to get out of it. I don't like causing conflict but sometimes i just can't help everyone. I have been trying to figure out how to snap myself out of this but its a work in progress I still haven't figured out. thanks for sharing mel! Glad I'm not the only one! 


  8.  Oh sweet Astrid, the fact that you are half my age and already so self-aware, and unique.. shows that you are miles ahead of most your age!  It took me a looong time (still figuring it out actually) that conflict is in fact healthy and necessary sometimes... and having an opinion is so much more important than just 'going with the flow' so as to not make any ripples.  You're a bright headed beauty, and I know you're going to grow through this well! xo


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