(Courtesy: California American Mothers)
If you find yourself being the fundraiser chairman for the PTA, in charge of sewing costumes for the school play, agreeing to bake 100 potatoes for a church dinner, making hand-drawn invitations for a friend’s shower “because you’re so artistic”, hosting your husband’s work party, cleaning up after your teenagers have friends over, and taking care of all the family pets, taking orders for dinner, you might be a girl who can’t say no.
Although the delightful song from Oklahoma was about Annie’s relationship with men, sometimes we as women find we can’t say “no” to demands on us. We want to make everyone happy. We want to please people, sometimes to our own detriment.
Most of my life I have been a people-pleaser. What’s wrong with that? We are taught from childhood to do what we are told, to be kind, to think of others, to help others. But people pleasing is a dark side of kindness.
When I am pleasing people, I’m not thinking of them, I am thinking of what they think of me. Being attached to pleasing others is really selfish, because it is about me. I am the one who wants to be liked. I am the one who doesn’t want anyone to be upset at me. I am the one who wants to look good for others. I am the one protecting myself from confrontation. I am the one hiding who I really am.
The intense need to please and care for others is often rooted in a fear of rejection. If we don’t do everything we can to make that person happy, they may not like/love us anymore. Other times it is a fear of failure. We don’t want to disappoint others, or even be punished.
When we people-please, it means we are insecure in our own value and we need someone else to like us so we feel of worth. Our egos love to be liked, approved and validated.
Continue reading the rest of “I’m Just A Girl Who Can’t Say No” on our California American Mothers Blog.