Dear Soft Hearted Loves,
I have the pleasure of serving so many wonderful people who have this kindness to them that can sometimes be a “blessing and a curse.” Sometimes folks will come to me because they are traumatized from work as a fellow healer, or because they overextend themselves with codependency or people pleasing, or perhaps because they lose themselves in giving to others. How can you be there for others and still for yourself? One prayer I adapted from a friend is to please help me be kind to all (all includes myself without being individualistic).
I don’t want to prescribe self-care where people abandon the people and communities they love. I don’t want to shatter parts of people that may have helped them survive. For example, if you grew up in a home where your siblings had special needs you may have had to people please and help a ton to get love and attention.
When people come to me with people pleasing or codependency I honor those parts for all they did to help themselves and others. We then acknowledge how it no longer serves them. Is listening to others making it hard to sleep? Do you feel sore in your heart space or tightness in your shoulders or forehead from carrying stress? Do you feel overly protective of someone in your gut? What and where does it impact you? Or perhaps it is more concrete and impacting your money or time.
Once we thank the behavior for what it did bring we can take note of what it doesn’t give now. Then we can work to add more of what the person truly needs in their life. Perhaps they desire to attend a dance class or walk through a nature spot alone. Maybe they want new shoes instead of buying everyone else new shoes. Or maybe the person desires to silence their phone automatically past 8 pm every night. Whatever the person needs to get back to their authentic self is okay. Our authentic selves don’t need things like self-harm behaviors so it is okay to explore what you authentically want without fear it’ll put you into debt or destroy your body or spirit. The quiet, calm authentic self is waiting for you, patiently.
- Why do you have this people pleasing thing in the first place?
- Thank it.
- Give yourself what you need. Your oxygen for the community’s oxygen.
For all you reforming people pleasers, the cool thing is that when we get more back to ourselves we actually have more energies left for ourself and others! I know it’s cliche, but as a psychologist I find time and time again that our own oxygen mask must be on to help others get their oxygen too.