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So, is anyone else...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

"...a guilt-ridden, stressed out, tired purple people pleaser?"


"So, I have a horrible habit of trying desperately to please everyone around me...except, of course, myself. I work hard to make a difference but then constantly feel that I have to upstage myself over and over and inevitably I just can't keep up with my own expectations and end up giving up altogether. I recently did this here, on spark people, after months of excellent work, losing weight and getting into an amazing workout routine...I burned out. I wanted SO much to make the top...to be the best. The very advice I was handing out, I was ignoring in my own life."

"I don't want to be a people pleaser any more! I just don't ever seem to notice myself doing it until its too late. I don't ever seem to recognize the signs. I want to reach my goals...not to make any one else happy, but to enjoy my life more! I just don't know how to do it! "

"If you have the time....please help!"

Being the wonderful SPARKlings you all are, I know you'll go over and lend your support!


Because I think A LOT of SPARKlings can identify with her frustration, and since I've been back to edit my response to her several times, I decided to record my response here in my blog... and she is now free to ponder in peace, LOL!

Truth is, her questioning and frustration resonates deeply within me. Before SparkPeople, I very much felt like "a guilt-ridden, stressed out, tired purple people pleaser" (BRILLIANT play on words, BTW!). I still fight the inclination to please others over myself ALL of the time... especially those from whom I crave approval. I've come to understand that my perfectionism and need to compete is, in part, deeply rooted in my apparent and 'little girl' need for approval and recognition. I've never in my life before now felt FULLfilled and secure in my place in the world, and my initial journey here became a reflection of my neediness, rather than as it should be... one growing from a conviction about my worth and my strength.

Perhaps the most important lesson I've begun to practice in the last four years here, is that I must first live my own approval of self, and value it as being far more important to me than anyone else's approval could ever be.

For me, actually living the difference took hold when I finally took the time to figure out what IS truly important to ME (by working on my vision collage - an on-going work in progress, reading the book 'The Road Less Travelled' by M. Scott Peck, by slowing down - being more deliberate about my choices in every aspect of my life, by questioning my actions - discerning as I go)... I now know that the more I focus on what makes me happy, the less I get sucked into my tendency toward perfectionism, and into my need to compete against anyone other than myself (and to be the 'best'), which then ceases to hollowly feed into my apparent and 'little girl' need for approval and recognition.

Interestingly enough, as I 'please myself' in an ever-increasingly authentic way, those who matter to me most (my husband and daughter... even certain friends) - in fact, everyone around me - are happier, too. In the wake of my increased respect and compassion for my own needs, my relationships are more need-fulfilling and enjoyable, compassion for the world has replaced my impatience and judgements, and life is more FUN.

I've realized that I had to make my first goal 'happyness'... all my other goals stem from this first one... I think this is the key to meeting all your goals without 'burning out'.

Here at SparkPeople, there is tremendous pressure to do things a certain way (and the rah, rah, rah, go, go, go mentality that pervades most teams can be an overwhelming tide that sweeps away individualization and genuine self-reflection). I needed to back right off all teams (through no fault of their own, they became a direct extension of those in my life who expected me to be a certain way... they were another box against which I had to struggle); I focus on blogging (getting in touch with my own INTERNAL dialogue); and I immerse myself in Spark resources and self-reflection to figure out what fits ME... my personality, my interests/joys, and my life as it is NOW (not at 'goal weight'). Once I'd got a handle on some of these things, it was baby steps like everything else. A lot of how I grew through this process is faithfully detailed here in my blog, which has become my best resource for evaluating how my adventure is shaping up.

And like with everything else, it (living outside boxes, pleasing myself, making my own happiness central to the journey) feels 'wrong' for awhile... I still get moments where I feel 'selfish' rather than assertive. There are still moments where the 'push back' takes my breath away and nearly brings me to my knees... but now these are opportunities for me to assert my own commitment to 'happyness' rather than accept them as an indictment of my character.

The thing is, that whole adage about the oxygen mask is really true... you do have to be well and happy yourself before you can be all you'd like to be for those you love, and with respect to all that is important to you... so for a time, and with respect to certain goals, you have to put yourself and your needs first. I couldn't change my habits and lifestyle until I put my own needs first for a time... and yes, everyone around me had to 'get with the program'. I look at it this way... if anyone in my life doesn't want what is best for me (health and vitality)... if they can't be supportive of my heart's desire and my dreams... they are not people to whom I must give sway in my life... at least not in the day to day immediacy of it. This process, while improving your body/health, will also change your relationships... give it enough time, it WILL transform your life from the inside out.

As a mother, this process has a special consideration, because there is nothing more need-fulfilling in my life than putting that 'you really do hang the moon each night' look on my daughter's face... and it's not ever easy or comfortable to deny that to her, or myself. Yet, I've learned specifically with respect to my daughter, and kids in general... it's GOOD for them to sacrifice their wants occasionally for someone else's needs, and invest in the well-being of another... this is how we teach them compassion and to be a contributing part of a whole. It's not good for anyone to be the centre of any 'universe'. I'm watching my daughter take her lead from me... and while she may not be happy every minute because she has to delay her own gratification at times because of my needs, she is learning compassion, self-discipline, dignity, conviction, how to be supportive, and how to prioritize her own needs, instead of feed her every want... she's learning how to develop her fullest potential because she watches me grow into mine. Can there be a better gift for your children than this?

If you're interested in an exercise that helps you begin this conversation with yourself, you can find one here:

Leaving NORMAL

Another key element for me was tossing out my 'all or nothing' mentality... I finally realized that even if I couldn't follow my plan perfectly every day, I could ALWAYS do some (and reap the rewards), while I continue revising and clearing space for more ("You can't always get what you want, but if try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need"). It really is about the baby steps, starting with a few key foundational things (and everyone's foundational things will be different... use the Spark 'Fast Break' phase to help you discern your own key elements), and then building from there. The plus to this is that while there might have been more 'push back' from others had I demanded that everything change at once, they've barely noticed some things changing until they themselves were also adjusted to the changes. The bonus for me right now is that when I started on SparkPeople four years ago, my husband wasn't at all engaged in my process or even the idea that I needed to do this and was, at best, indifferent to my efforts. Now, four years later, he's right in here with me, supportive, enthusiastic, making changes and engaged in a process all his own.

OUR lifestyle has changed and it's good for all of us and, as a result, I don't have to work so hard at clearing space for me because what pleases me, also pleases my peeps... so no more conflict of interest!

Thanks for reading!!!

May today and every day bring to you a ridiculous abundance of whatever you need. May all your concerns, struggles, anxieties and fears fall like ashes as you rise on eagle's wings, SOARING above all that would hinder you along this tremendous adventure of being and becoming all you are created to be. May the grace of God simply "overtake" you moment by moment. May the joy and victory of the risen Lord be yours in a very personal way... may you always be overwhelmed by the grace of God, rather than by the cares of life!

{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}


...Because life (and SparkPeople) is a journey toward HAPPYness!



'BEFORE' Pictures (May 31, 2009 - September, 2011) & Continuing PROGRESS (February 2012)!

(I'm now keeping these right under my nose... in addition to being part of every blog I post, they are printed off and taped to my bedroom mirror)

Measurements, Musings & Motivation to MOVE!

(UPDATED: February, 2012)

I've Reached My Goal Weight!!!!!!!

NOTE: My weight tracker is NOT a truthful representation of my weight. Instead, I am using it as a tool to help me visualize my goal as though it's already been achieved!
(Tom Venuto)

UNTIL. (My 'Just Do It' blog)

DONE Girl Love...

(the footsteps into which I place my own feet)

Words CAN Be Enough... page 2

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    well done, again, Ramona... I was such a pleaser as a child, I remember so clearly an incident that made me even at the time, realize I needed to change...

    I was 13 and away for a week with an aunt and uncle, as their live in babysitter. We were in the "game room" of the cabins/resort and my uncle gave a quarter to play 3 songs on the juke box ( does that age me or what) I asked him what he wanted to hear, and he said "pick what you want?" I literally couldn't make a choice, trying to decifer what he'd want to hear. He wouldn't give me an inch, "Play what YOU want," he said again, more emphatically.

    Just the way he looked at me, made me so internally aware that I had a problem. It was the beginning of change. Took awhile, and got worse again during one particular relationship, but I feel pretty good about my effort to take care of me, most of the time. Hence the trip to Florida (sans kids/DH) to visit mom and dad for 5 days... starting Friday. I feel like an 8 year old waiting for vacation... literally have a hard time thinking of anything else.

    I have chiropractor/massage as my bi/weekly me time, and to take some time to myself each evening... (sleep does suffer to get it sometimes...) but it's all a work in progress.

    Going to see your friend, next.
    Love ya
    2226 days ago
    Can't thank you enough for this enlightening blog! Thanks! :)
    2226 days ago
  • JIBBIE49
    2227 days ago
  • BEACHBUM2002
    I gave up on trying to please others a long while ago. Now, I struggle to find balance between "screw you" and "I love you"--in relation to others. Wow, that was honest...not that I care what you think. hahahha ( :
    2227 days ago
    I strongly agree that you have to spend time with some self reflection to make achieving goal weight a reality. You do have to not let the rah-rah and the goal dates (weddings, cruises) be the whole thing. Losing the weight is really a journey of self-discovery. I think Spark does a geat job covering all aspects of this whole process. I daily get email prompts from Spark with journal prompts. I woefully often don't look at them because I know it would require me "thinking". Self discovery and placing value on self is work.
    2227 days ago
    Great blog Ramona, I've paid a visit to your friend emoticon
    2227 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.