This book is awesome. I’ve read it a few times and it resonates so strongly.
You see, I’m a recovering ‘people pleaser’. One of those that can’t do enough for others. Whilst running around like a crazy person for everyone else neglecting my own self care and making sure all is well with others, like slow burning touch paper, over a period of time I have been known to ‘suddenly’ blow my top over ‘nothing’. Totally symptomatic of self induced burn-out. And when I realised those I did the stuff for are not up for reciprocating the favour if ever needed, it just adds the badly scorched cherry on top of the cake.
Being a people pleaser is exhausting. Sometimes you don’t know you’re doing it. Sometimes you know you are, they know you are, but you simply can’t help yourself.
Like most people, I always had a strong desire to be liked. Since childhood I would do what I thought was expected, didn’t rock the boat (too much!), had lots of different groups of friends and would make myself invaluable to each one. I thought that was the best way to be accepted. Be one of the tribe. To be liked.
To be fair it worked! I remain close friends with many from ‘back in the day’ and a lot of those friendship groups have continued to be close in one way or another. Not everyone gets through the minefield of childhood and teenage friendships unscathed.
And I didn’t either!
I went on into adulthood and gave too many f**ks. I cared waaaaaay too much about:
- Other people’s opinions of me.
- Something which was none of my business! Oh, and by the way, I hate to burst your bubble but they don’t really care enough to have you on their mind as often as you might think. When people are living their lives and in the moment, you may be a fleeting thought. But if you’re giving too many f**ks like I used to, I’d like to reassure you that you are most definitely not first and foremost in their minds eye. Let it go.
- Whether I was likeable, liked or even considered.
- The only thing we can ever be is ourselves. If you’re not being you, plenty of people out there will see right through you. I couldn’t stand to be around people like that, they drove me crazy. If I think hard on this, some of the reasons I felt this way was because I was jealous! I was never skilled enough to be fake and comfortable with myself when doing so. I did try occasionally back then, but my face always said more than my fake ever could haha!
- If I had said the right thing or not.
- This one makes me sad. It used to keep me up at night, going over conversations with a fine tooth comb and analysing every part of a conversation. The thing is, it also stopped me from saying a lot of things in the moment too. I was always known as the ‘quiet’ one. This changed when I got to know you. Then you’d get the funny, sarcastic and dry ‘one-liner’ me! But you wouldn’t know that unless I totally trusted you. I gave too many f**ks about your opinion of me. Knowing what I know now if you’re being your authentic self, what you say can never be wrong. It can be misconstrued by others – but cleared up too. You may not be able to verbalise something in quite the way you want to, but if it’s genuine and from the heart then how can it be wrong? Let this one go too!
- If I would ever find a tribe that totally ‘gets’ me.
- At 17 I was diagnosed with clinical depression. I had counselling and one of the things that came up (which I have never shared before) is the fact I never felt good enough for my friendship group. They were all skinny, beautiful and cool, knowing what to say in every single situation. I couldn’t have felt more further from these things lol. My counsellor explained to me that as social beings, us humans tend to seek out and spend most time with those that are like ourselves. People with similar interests, principles and standards of behaviour were more likely to be together than not. If these things are not aligned, it’s uncomfortable and we actively avoid discomfort if we can.
- I felt a huge responsibility for other people’s feelings.
- Whether I had negatively impacted them or not. Even if it was someone else and had nothing to do with me. I mean, how messed up is this one? How could I ever save everyone from pain or hurt? It was completely beyond my control. The only responsibility I had was how my own behaviour were to influence others and as you can imagine, I was always extra careful of that lol! I have since discovered I am an empath (a story for another time) and can feel over sensitive when it comes to others emotions. It is something I have to regularly keep check on and yes, I wanna change the world for the better – I just had to learn I couldn’t ever do this on someone else’s behalf, smh. I decided some time ago I’ll just do my little part in the world and I will be more than happy with that!
I’m now around five years ‘clean’ of this burden thanks to books like the one above. But every now and then I find myself slipping back into that doubt and my mind can trigger the age old question ‘Do I need to care more about that?’
A crucial part of this book that gets me back into my ‘vibe’ is the introduction of ‘f**k bucks’. A currency for how many f**ks you are going to give at any particular time. If I’m going to care so much, then I need to prioritise what to care too much about. I’ll spend my f**k bucks on the things that matter, not the things that don’t. It’s refreshing. And I’ll tell you something else. It feels pretty damn good too. Don’t give too many f**ks. They cost you. Hugely. Decide on a budget and stick to it.
Love and Light