I’m a people-pleaser through and through. I find great joy in seeing other people happy and great sorrow in their sadness. If I can contribute in any way to another persons joy and happiness, count me in.
On the contrary, seeing people upset, disappointed, or just generally unhappy causes me distress. I recently realized I’ve passed this trait down to my son when he came home with a poem he wrote at school about himself that read, “who fears sadness, sharks, and spiders.”
Apparently the fear of seeing someone sad (or possibly experiencing it himself) is as terrifying in his 12-year-old mind as a shark or spider. Even more terrifying for both of us is to be the cause of someones pain or suffering. I’ve witnessed his eyes immediately tear up when he thinks he has disappointed someone or caused them any kind of anguish.
When I realize I’ve caused pain in others is hurts me to the core and makes me question my self-worth. I know the counter to upsetting someone shouldn’t immediately be that I’m unworthy of love, yet that’s usually my automatic response.
As I contemplate this personality trait, I realize that there is certainly some good to helping to create peace among your peers, your family, and your friends. However, when it becomes a way to escape or hide from more challenging conversations, it is no longer serving your highest good. In other words, by attempting to keep the peace with others around you and outside of yourself, you are quite likely compromising your peace within.
How do you maintain your personal power and integrity for yourself when you know your go-to is to play Switzerland and maintain sovereign grounds for all? How can you keep the peace while still honoring your thoughts, emotions, and needs?
Is it even possible?
Maybe. Maybe, not. But it is worth trying. Having hard conversations are sometimes necessary - especially if holding it in and not speaking your truth is causing you pain and suffering. Your happiness and worth is just as important as the people around you that you try so hard to please. It is sometimes hard for us to remember that, especially if we experience joy is seeing others happy.
Making a quiet agreement with yourself that other people’s peace is more important or valuable than your own, is like signing a contract to give away your personal power. Owning and acting on what you feel and know is right (for you) can be instrumental in helping you reclaim your power.
It’s scary and uncomfortable. But, apparently not nearly as terrifying as a shark or spider.