Hand in hand with my exploration into whether or not I am a people pleaser, is another aspect: Addicted to Approvals.
Yes, of this I have definitely been guilty. Sadly, it, more so than people pleasing, is still a part of my life.
Don’t get me wrong. I can, will and have told my boss, “no, can’t be done” on a number of occasions, but I would always (usually) look to my co-worker to nod in agreement. That co-worker is now moving on to bigger and better projects and I will have to continue this on my own. I have less that one week to figure this out, because otherwise, I may be stuck with a project manager that I cannot and will not respect. I have to step forward and stop being the nice guy.
1. I need to say no without apologizing.
2. I need to be well informed so I can make a definitive “no”.
3. Some people are not going to like me.
Perhaps things would have been different with FHPA had I had this fore-knowledge. That was 10 years ago, though. I was young. I was a different person than I am now. I had never held a job for more than one year as a teacher, my contract never being renewed.
At the same time, my dream wasn’t to do what everyone else wanted it to do. My dream wasn’t their dream, but I had a council. It was a democracy and one that failed because we didn’t all have the same dream.
I could have stood my ground, but then what was the point of the council. I remember struggling with that. “Do I tell them that it’s my way or the highway?” or do I play along and see if we can make this work.
Guess what, I played along and it didn’t work.
The non-profit organization aspect of the FHP really wasn’t part of my dream. At that point in my life, I was a people pleaser. But I learned from the experience, no one was irrevocably harmed and a lot was gained. I do not see that time in my life as a failure.
My secondary 3 step program (adapted from a webarticle) is as follows:
Step 1: Identify and refute the irrational belief that the approval of others is necessary.
Step 2: Identify your fear of: rejection, neglect, abandonment, disapproval, and look for the origins of these fears. Identify rational means to desensitize yourself to these fears.
Step 3: Develop a list of issues important in your life, those you never let others know about for fear of their reaction to them. Develop a plan of action by which you systematically let others know your beliefs concerning these issues.
I do not need the approval of others. (Affirmation) I am me. Me I am.
Per Mac’s suggestion, I adopted the following affirmation:
“I am the dark and terrible Goddess of my Universe. I am the last Law and the only Authority.”
It all started in high school.
“Ironically enough, the greater your need for love, the less people will tend to respect and care for you. Even though they like your catering to them, they may despise your neediness and see you as a weak person. Also, by desperately trying to win people’s approval, you may easily annoy them, bore them to distractions, and again be less desirable.”
I had no friends because I tried too hard. I did everything for them. I gave them my French fries and pizza to help buy their love. And they hated me.
This is not something we are taught. This is not something that is easy to learn and our school systems facilitate these situations and worse with bullies and such.
The big one here is my paganism. I have not shared my beliefs with many people, but recently I have stopped hiding it so much. Immediate family are not aware of my beliefs, which I define currently as honoring Mother Earth, the sky and all things living, but I do feel that that will be changing soon as well. Same goes for work. On my FB page, only one group of people cannot see my religious beliefs, those that are in my Ogden Pubs group. Those I have blocked from many because recently we had a situation where people were told to do and not to do certain stuff on the public forum such as Facebook. At that point, I removed their permissions from seeing my wall. Soon after, I released the information of my religious beliefs, but I blocked that from my work as well. No reason to shove it in their faces. I am in the bible belt, after all.
So, Step 3 has already started. Actually, all steps are started. I just need to follow through and be aware. Awareness is the most important thing to changing a behavior.
It is a process. I still occasionally feel the need to seek approval.
So, I will make myself aware and then I will examine myself each time I sense it happening. “Keep peeling away the layers of this onion. Don’t accept the first answer that comes into your mind. Challenge the response by asking ‘Why do I want this?’ or ‘why is this important to me’? – and you’ll go further… until you see that the road leads to a need for approval.”
“Any time we look for an outside source to give us recognition, we are setting ourselves up for misery when they withhold their approval or appreciation.”
Hence my issues with my parents. I was (am) miserable when they don’t approve. (Plus they are more stingy with gifts, money, etc. when they disapprove) but I’m 40 years old!! It shouldn’t matter anymore, but it does!! I’m doing better. Since they cancelled Christmas and we opened our home to have it with us instead of with them, I feel that it began the process of leaving. Cutting those apron strings, if you will. The next step may or may not be paganism. Right now, they don’t like or approve of Thorik. It makes me sad, but, I’m not going to lose the best thing that ever happened to me just because they don’t like him. No. I may have dated some people in my youth to be rebellious, but Thorik is a good man and I would be an idiot to not see that and desire to keep him in my life.
“Words of recognition are fleeting. Even the feelings generated by expressions of approval are fleeting. So we continually need a new ‘fix’ to keep us going.” Hence the addiction. Hence the thought process from What the Bleep. Perhaps I need to watch that again with my addiction to approval as the forefront.
“Paradoxically, once you approve of yourself – and have no need for anyone to give you approval – you’ll find that you’re receiving more approval than ever before.”
Where do we learn the skills to not be people pleasers? When do we learn to say no? Is this something I need to look at with my son? Yes. Because is he getting good grades for himself or for me. How do I teach him not to see my approval? Ah, but he liked Barney and I never belittled him for that. I told him that I did not like that big purple dinosaur, but he was welcome to. The same held true for his first step-mother. I did (do) not care for her, but I told him that he was welcome to love her and I would encourage and allow a relationship with her, especially for the sakes of his half-sisters and brother. Is this teaching him that he does not need to be a people pleaser? He does not always need to seek approval? School is important. Approval of good grades versus disapproval of bad grades. I tell him that he must always do his best. I just hope this isn’t something he will have to deal with when he gets older. School is such a breaker of souls and spirits. All I can do is be here for him and try to help him as need be, but mostly, this, like so many other things, is something he will have to figure out in his own way. I can guide, but I cannot do it for him.