The following is an excerpt from Dr. Joy Martina’s 2018 Amazon bestseller: How to Use Your Intuition to Change your Life. You can purchase the book here.
The way I was brought up, “people-pleasing” was just what you did to get along with people, to keep the peace. You’re nice, you do everything for others, and then they’ll like you, right? Like so many women, I was conditioned to please.
When our focus is on pleasing others in order to be okay, we neglect our own desires and needs. Often we end up feeling frustrated and under-appreciated. We start to begrudge those we’re trying so hard to please. But we are the ones putting on the pressure, not the people we begrudge. That took me a while to figure out.
I was bumping along, being nice to everyone, doing what I always do to get by: ignore my own needs and power through. Then one day I overheard my mother-in-law on the phone with my sister-in-law. I had come home early that evening. What I heard shocked me deeply. My mother-in-law was shredding me to bits, calling me the most egotistical person she knew, a lousy mother and wife. She faulted me for pursuing my education, for having interests beyond my role as a mom and traditional housewife. She spoke as if I were a criminal because I delegated the task of ironing my husband’s shirts to someone else. She launched this tirade while babysitting my 9-month old son. I was horrified and hurt beyond measure. My whole, elaborate “be the perfect wife, mother, and daughter-in-law” strategy had failed. All of that effort and I was being judged behind my back. Harshly. The worst part was that I hadn’t even noticed how much resentment and judgment was going on while these two women were being sweet as sugar to my face. I felt betrayed.
So why was I going to such lengths to try to please these two women? Or anyone else for that matter?
That was a turning point. Their blatant inauthenticity showed me how inauthentic I had been by trying to please people. I was neglecting my truth by rarely speaking up and constantly giving others what I thought they needed, even though it often went against my own desires. I realized that my “I’m just being a good person” act was a sham, a lie. The only person I was deceiving and betraying was myself. Even more alarming, I saw that this pattern was pervasive in my life.
I had to get real. So I asked myself, “What am I trying to prove?” When I got really honest, I had to admit that the primary motivation behind my constant efforts to please everybody was to get love as well as to safeguard myself because, truth be told, I was terrified of being rejected, excluded or not approved of.
It was one of those “once you wake up you can’t go back to sleep” situations. Once I saw the inauthenticity of doing for others to gain their approval, that old way of giving became incredibly painful. I would get myself into a situation where I’d give and give and give, push myself aside, ignore my own needs and intuition, and give some more. I’d get home in the evening feeling absolutely drained. I’d look back on the day, and realize, “This cannot be what I came for, this isn’t real love. I must be missing something.”
Then I started to notice the difference between that old way of giving and true giving, giving from love, without any attachment. It was crystal clear: when I’m truly coming from love, doing for someone simply because I want to, the benefit to the receiver is far greater than when my motivation is to gain their approval. And I feel energized and fulfilled instead of drained and frustrated. Giving simply doesn’t carry the energy of love when motivated by a need to please or to get something back.
Metaphorically speaking, true giving is like feeding someone a nutrient-dense meal of colorful organic fruits and vegetables with healthy proteins and good fats prepared with great love. The pleasure you see on the other person’s face, when they enjoy your gift fills you with joy. Giving to get acceptance is like feeding them a heartlessly prepared meal of tasteless, nutrient-free processed food and demanding praise.
Tap into your highest wisdom and rediscover your INTUITION by grabbing your copy of How to Use Your Intuition to Change Your Life here.