By: Caitlin Cheevers, Guest Blogger
I tend to be a people-pleaser. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember.
I do whatever it takes for people to like me, even when that sacrifices what I enjoy and what I want to do.
I’ve tried every tip my friends, my family, and the Internet can give me, but it wasn’t until I realized one crucial lesson that I was actually able to follow through on these suggestions.
You see, not everyone likes me, but not everyone matters.
I could read all the tips I wanted, but without understanding this simple fact, none of the tips could resonate with me.
“Learn to say no,” my best friend would tell me.
“But what if saying no upsets the other person, and then they don’t like me?” I would ask.
If this person isn’t going to like me simply because I can’t get coffee with them every single weekend, then they clearly don’t appreciate me, and therefore don’t matter.
“Ask for what you want,” my mom would tell me.
“But what if asking for it ruins our friendship?” I would retort.
If I can’t ask for what I want, the friendship is probably quite one-sided, and therefore that person shouldn’t matter to me.
“Take time for yourself,” the internet would tell me.
“But I don’t have any time! There are too many things I have to do for other people!” I would say.
If I don’t have time for myself, though, I’ll half-ass everything I’m trying to do for other people. I have to go back to the beginning, learn to say no, and accept the consequences.
It’s actually impossible for everyone to like me. What one person wants me to do, another person might want me not to do. Not everyone will like me, but not everyone matters, so I shouldn’t let it bother me.
This has been really difficult for me to accept.
Not everyone needs to like me.
Not everyone matters.
Going from a people-pleaser to someone who only tries to please herself and the people who matter is not an easy transition.
It’s going to take time. It’s going to take patience.
Going from a Yes Woman to a Well-Maybe-If-I-Have-Time Woman takes a conscious effort to evaluate if the person matters, if I actually want to do what they are asking, and if a “no” answer will negatively affect our relationship.
It’s going to be difficult, but man, will it be worth it.
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Caitlin Cheevers is the entire marketing department at an office technology dealer in her hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. In her free time, she writes, designs, and publishes her own blog, www.andpossiblydinosaurs.com, where she obsesses over hockey, blogging, graphic design, DIY projects, Africa, feminism, books, travel, coffee, food, and possibly dinosaurs.