September 2017 archive

The Life of a (Former) People Pleaser

I had a roommate in college who never learned to drive. As her roommate, it quickly became my responsibility to take her to and from work, drive her to campus and wait around until she was done to bring her home. Sometimes, I would go home, eat dinner, run errands, hang out with friends and go back for her later. In return, she never offered to pay for gas, expected my help at the drop of a hat and rarely thanked me for it. I’m not exactly sure why I agreed to do this or how I wound up in that position to begin with, but I never complained. I just kept on doing it. Why? Because I wanted her to be my friend. And because I was afraid if I didn’t drive her where she needed to go, no one else would and that would be all my fault. I was the quintessential people pleaser. After we graduated, my roommate and I drifted apart. It turned out we weren’t as good of friends as I once thought (surprise, surprise) and frankly I was tired of being her doormat. It was my first step in a long journey toward being comfortable with putting myself first. I read recently that people pleasers tend to say yes to everything and everyone because they either fear rejection or failure or both. Check off both boxes for me. I’ve learned that being a people pleaser, can bring on stress (check) and depression (check) in a person’s life because we are constantly putting other people’s needs before our own (check, check). These days, I would describe myself as a recovering people pleaser. There are times when I find myself going back to my old ways, doing everything for everybody until I’m exhausted, get mad at myself and quit cold turkey. As I get a little older and a lot wiser, I’m learning to put my own goals and dreams first because let’s face it – I’m not getting any younger. That doesn’t mean that I’m not willing to do favors for people or be supportive or show up in a time of need. I’m still that kind of person. I’m just making a little more room in my life for me. Here is what that looks like right now:

  • I’ve started writing again.
  • I get in my 10,000 steps a day (more or less)
  • I spend more time with my family and friends.
  • I volunteer for what I want when I want.
  • I make the kids do the dishes 4 times a week and soon they will be doing their own laundry.
  • I ask for help instead of trying to be a Superwoman all of the time.
  • I’ve learned to say no.
  • I’ve set goals for myself that I plan on reaching.
  • I’ve allowed myself to dream a little more about what I want to accomplish.
  • I’ve given myself permission to dedicate more time to make those goals and dreams a reality.

And the ultimate success of being a recovering people pleaser is that I wake up every day feeling happy about it all, fulfilled and not the least bit guilty.

Am I Serious?

There are days that I think to myself that there is a book inside of me waiting to come out. I wonder if I’ll wake up one day and these random blog posts will appear to me as a complete work worthy of publishing. I actually have an idea for a book that has nothing to do with this blog, but I can’t do it alone. I’m also not sure if I have the time to write every day when I already have a full time job, a husband and two kids. I’m also not sure I have the discipline it takes to sit down and write every day, although I do try. I’m just not sure. There are other days when I don’t think about my so-called book. I think about my great-great granddaughter who might want to know what life was like at the beginning of the 21st century. I’ve always thought that all of us are a part of history – whether we are making history or witnessing and reacting to it. I wonder if she will come across my journals one day when I’m long gone and be excited to read them. I only hope she can understand my handwriting. I take my writing seriously, but I don’t necessarily think of myself as a serious writer. To me, a serious writer makes the time to write every day. I don’t have that kind of time. And when I do, I admit that I get easily distracted watching the 3rd season of the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix when I should be writing. I have a stack of books about writing that I’ve read over and over again for inspiration. I devour the advice in the latest issue of Writer’s Digest. I even have a favorite kind of pen – a Pentel RSVP fine point pen. Trust me, it’s a great pen. Does all of this make me a serious writer? My purse needs to be big enough to throw in my light green Moleskine notebooks so they are with me when I’m on the go. You never know where or when or what is going to inspire my next big idea or next riveting blog post and I need to be ready to jot it down. Does that make me a serious writer? I’m honestly not sure if I’d call myself a serious writer. But I know in my heart that I love to write and that is what I’m meant to do, no matter who reads it. There are stories to be told, memories to be shared and lessons to be learned and to be serious that is what matters most to me.

Why I Write

There are days that I think to myself that there is a book inside of me waiting to come out. I wonder if I’ll wake up one day and these random blog posts will appear to me as a complete work worthy of publishing. I actually have an idea for a book that has nothing to do with this blog, but I can’t do it alone. I’m also not sure if I have the time to write every day when I already have a full time job, a husband and two kids. I’m also not sure I have the discipline to write every day. I’m just not sure. There are other days when I don’t think about my so-called book. I think about my great-great granddaughter who might want to know what life was like at the beginning of the 21st century. I’ve always thought that all of us are a part of history – whether we are making history or witnessing and reacting to it. I wonder if my great-great granddaughter will come across my journals one day when I’m long gone and be excited to read them. I only hope she can understand my handwriting. I take my writing seriously, but I don’t necessarily think of myself as a serious writer. To me, a serious writer makes the time to write every day. I don’t have that kind of time – and when I do, I admit that I get easily distracted watching the 3rd season of the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix when I should be writing. A serious writer has a goal in mind – to be a published author – I’m not there yet. But I’m envious of those who have these goals in clear sight. There are a lot of people in my writing workshop in different stages of their manuscripts. They have done the research. They live with the characters in their head and are working on their next plot twist. They take the writing prompts given in class and write out whole scenes with dialogue to add to their work. I have a hard time with dialogue. I’m so impressed by these people – but I’m not 100% sure I’m one of them. But, I know in my heart that I love to write and that is what I’m meant to do, no matter who reads it. There are stories to be told, memories to be shared and lessons to be learned and that’s what matters most to me.

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