It’s such a lovely thing to make other people happy isn’t it? To know that you’ve done something that’s pleased another is so good for the soul. Thoughtfulness is one of those human traits that shows us that there really is good in the world.
I’m sure, like every baby, I learned the first pleasing rules in toddlerhood, laughing and clapping at the right moments as everyone wanted, even demanded, my happy twinkling eyes. I perfected it over the years, needing to play my part in keeping the peace at home. If I was a good girl and did good girl things my parents might not fight or shout at me for…well, whatever. By the time I went to war with my hormones, pleasing had become confuddled with a desperation for love and an ingrained habit that meant everyone was served before me.
I was last. For everything. Love, attention, time off from babysitting – blah blah blah. If you’re a woman reading this I don’t need to fill in the blanks. You know. You’ve lived my life just as I have yours.
Those relationships that I can’t examine too closely without shame, guilt and a heavy dose of ‘oh my god WHO WAS I?!?!?!’. Those friendships where I kept telling everyone I was happy to go with the flow but had to neck a bottle of wine to stop feeling I was always in the wrong place, all of the time.
I looked the other way when I should have stared him down. I planned, purchased and packed when I should have told her ‘I can’t afford it, sorry’. I served her tea and homemade cookies when I should have refused to open the door.
Being taught to be last created a habit that made me choose to put myself last.
We should celebrate every time we do something that makes someone else happy. It’s a truly beautiful thing to do a good thing for another – as long as you are doing it for the joy of doing it – not to avoid negative consequences.
This is where drinking becomes a thing isn’t it? Even if you don’t consciously know that your pleasing activity is being done for the wrong reasons your subconscious is always nudging you down the booze aisle.
Once your drug of choice becomes ingrained and stuck in your life you’ve created two bad habits that feed each other.
The answer? You know the answer. Stop drinking. Simple right?
I know for some of you changing the habit of drinking can be difficult, however, it is possible. There are thousands of women in Sobersistas Closed Group who have given up with a variety of different tools that suit their lifestyle and the support of the amazing, non-judgemental women in the group.
For some of you, giving up will be easy. You might feel a bit rubbish in the early detox days but when the poison has been expelled, you will have a moment of clarity that will change your life forever. There are just as many women in the group who have found giving up easy.
You can never change other people – no matter how hard you try. They can only change themselves, in the same way that no-one can change you other than yourself.
Focussing first and foremost on getting sober is the best way to free yourself of your people pleasing (and lots of other bad habits too!). The clarity that sobriety brings will enable you to see yourself and your habits for what they are and for whom they are being done for.
Since becoming sober I have been more honest with myself than I have in 40 years. I don’t lie to myself about anything anymore and whilst sometimes that can feel a little brutal (and at times a little irritating) there are always good and wonderful things that follow.
You should never give up being kind to others or helping someone who needs it but if you are drinking to mask your unhappiness about always pleasing others then it’s time to stop. Isn’t it?
The people who truly matter will still love sober you.
When you stop people pleasing some people might not like the fact that you aren’t there for them 150% of the time. If they stop ‘loving’ you because of it, your clear sober mind will be able to see their actions for what they are.
All of the support you need can be found in Sobersistas Closed Group. See you there.