Can I stop people-pleasing?


Is people-pleasing a form of naiveté? Maybe it is, because when you’re a people-pleaser, you think that if you can just figure out the pattern – – the code – – you can fix the relationship with that other person. And so you spend all of your time soothing that person and replaying painful incidents. “What can I do to make the other person happy?”

But some people will not be happy, but for a few days or months sprinkled here and there. It’s not in their make up. But you are not responsible for it. It is up to them to change–if they so choose.

And you’re also thinking you must be doing something wrong, or that person wouldn’t be angry with you or jealous of you or enjoy taunting you or whatever. But everybody is as messed up as you are. And like you, they will learn or not learn lessons as they progress through life. You can’t fix everything for them. You can’t even fix things for yourself, or you wouldn’t be a people-pleaser.

And so my goal today will be to stop myself anytime I try to put myself in another’s shoes. I know we are all taught to do this. But the fact is, we all have different lives–even those within the same family. We can never know what another experiences. But we can stop trying to squeeze their shoes onto our feet. If their feet hurt, they can tell us. Or not. And when they tell us, we can listen. Or not.

It’s part of our journey in the river of life. We are changed as debris flows toward us. Sometimes a log hits us and we suffer damage, or it bumps us in a better direction. More often, the detritus brushes our skin and drifts away. But we don’t control the river. And we don’t control which detritus sweeps ourselves or others. We can resist adding garbage to the flow–some of the time–but that is the extent of our control.

So for 24 hours, I will give up fear of passing leaves and bubbles and twigs. And flow with the current driving the log. Maybe I’ll even hold on and rest for a while; take in the view. And if I can do this for a day, then maybe two. Perhaps a week. With practice, a lifetime.

Hopefully, I’ll relax enough to smile. Gain confidence that myself and others will spill into the ocean mostly unscathed; ready to return to the river’s head, to jump in again no shoes at all.


Photo by Oldiefan with Pixabay.

Published by cafsamsel

Carol Fullerton-Samsel is a nearly-native Floridian who lives with her husband of 25 years and three rescue animals. She has a passion for day-hiking and nature, and also enjoys writing. Be sure to visit the TenPaths YouTube channel, which is still in its infancy.

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