** Disclaimer **
If you think this post is aimed at you, then it probably is − you know, if the shoe fits…
If you think this post isn’t related to you in any way, then it probably isn’t.
It’s all up to you, really.
I mean, seriously, you’re the BEST. You have so many amazing qualities and there really isn’t a thing I’d want to change about you.
Except maybe this. Oh, and while we’re at it, that too.
You know, now that we’ve dived into the subject, you’d also need to address this to be an even cooler person. But really, you’re so awesome.
I’m only telling you this so that from now on, you can be the most pleasing person on the planet.
People-pleasing mode: activated √
When you’re guilty of being or having been a people-pleaser, you’ve spent a considerable amount of time learning patterns that consist in muting yourself and your own wants and needs in favour of what other people want and need. It takes a lot of work to reverse this habit and unlearning said patterns can take a lifetime. To this day, I still struggle with staying in touch with what I need and want when I’m around someone I want to like me or whom I care about on some level (more on this here).
This and the fact that I’m generally very accepting of other people’s preferences and boundaries (as I think one should be!) and (arguably often too [see here]) accommodating of their needs seems to make it easy for them to share their evaluation of my qualities or lack thereof with me. Don’t get me wrong, receiving constructive feedback is a good thing and should always be welcomed IF 1. you’ve asked for it and are indeed open to suggestions (meaning you have the mind space to receive them) and 2. it is in fact constructive / healthy feedback. What I mean by that is that there’s absolutely no need to tell someone that you actually don’t like their hair colour unless they’ve specifically asked for your opinion about it.
Before I share my thoughts about anything (that concerns them) with someone, I try to ask myself the following questions:
Does sharing my opinion actually serve them or does it only serve me?
Is my opinion likely to enrich their life in any way or does it help them expand their horizons or contemplate a certain matter from another angle?
What’s my reason for telling them? Is it a purely selfish one?
Is it likely to cause them pain but nothing else?
If by the end of this process I find that sharing my opinion with someone will only make me feel better about myself but won’t be beneficial to anyone but myself, I refrain from doing so. Instead, I try to look inward in order to find out why I feel the need to share it in the first place. Oftentimes I find that my need to share is in fact rooted in my insecurities, which are trying to convince me that putting someone else down will make me feel better about myself. It’s a very childish and defensive (and automated) way of reacting, so I try not to act on the impulse*.
I’m aware that people will occasionally get hurt by my opinion, even if my (carefully chosen, hopefully) words will end up being beneficial to them and, considering that there can be no growth without pain, the pain will be worth it, so to speak. However, letting someone know you don’t approve of the way they look / dress / eat won’t make their life any better. On the contrary, depending on their personality, it may make them feel self-conscious and, if they’re recovering people-pleasers like me, it will trigger old behavioural patterns and potentially make them question their adequacy or worse, their self-worth.
Additionally, making (unsolicited) comments about other people’s choices (no matter the reason for these choices) and suggesting they ought to change some of them in order to be a more enjoyable person says a whole lot about YOU and quite little about the person whose choices you’re criticising. It doesn’t matter if your intentions are the best and purest − some things are better kept to yourself (or texted to your bestie instead, as depicted below**).
And no, not telling someone you think their glasses are ugly*** isn’t the same as being dishonest − it’s called human decency 🙃.
* I sometimes fail. But failure is a necessary stepping stone for growth, am I right?!
** My text “rants” are usually a way of processing what has happened, so it’s basically me and my main text rant buddy (you know who you are 🧡) working through my / our sh*t, so not technically rants.
*** Yes, this is based on a true story (not from my childhood years, disappointingly).