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I’ll Probably Always Be a People Pleaser, But At Least I’ve Learned to Please the Right Ones

·463 words·3 mins
Confessions of a Recovering People Pleaser

Once upon a time, I really wished someone would save me. Things were very bad then. I’ve written about it a lot and don’t feel like wallowing in it today to write this essay.

Anyway, people often cry when I tell them about what happened, even though by now I’ve accepted it. And to me, it seems normal. It was my childhood, the only way that things could have happened for me. It feels done. Resolved. Like something that isn’t going to ever be undone, so I don’t spend a lot of energy (these days anyway) wanting that.

Anyway, during the worst years, the ones that almost broke me (and maybe did for a bit), I often found myself wishing someone would save me. Fantasizing about it. Coming up with elaborate ways it could happen. What my savior would be like. How it would all unfold.

And if I rolled it around in my head for long enough, I could almost believe it. But not quite.

It never did quite what I needed it to do.

So I made a deal with myself one day. If I couldn’t find the kindness that I needed from other people, I would try to be kind to other people. Look, this sounds great and noble and all that — but I was self-destructive about it at first. I was kind to people who didn’t deserve it. Who weren’t good to me. And who certainly didn’t appreciate that kindness.

And I also ran myself down way too low, trying to support these people. In ways that were hurtful to me. And sometimes drove me to do things that made me ashamed.

It was ugly. Very ugly. I’m not proud of that either. I’ve wrote about that a lot too and won’t go deep into that today, for similar reasons. Today is a quick day, a day for the surface — and by the way, make sure you give yourself these kinds of days too. Make sure you allow yourself days where you can just do a little bit and not necessarily do it well.

Anyway, I did get better at being kind. I learned how to differentiate between selfish people and people I should be supporting. I don’t know that I’ll ever stop being a people pleaser. But I’ve learned how to please the right people, and that’s enough for me.

And I’ve learned that I count. I’m a person too. I should be on that list.


Any time I write a rougher or shorter article, I’ll hear from people complaining that it ended too soon. Or “Is that it? That’s not a real article.”

And that’s fine. I’ll say it again. Everyone needs a quick day, a day for the surface. Even me, even you.


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