I have a Secret
I have a secret. I'm a recovering people pleaser. Yup. I used to bend over backwards and even circle back around to make people happy. I would constantly sacrifice myself and sacrifice my family. I wanted to make everyone happy and have everyone to like me.
I ruined myself being a "people pleaser." I also damaged my relationships that mattered. The people who were repeatedly taking from me weren't my true friends and family. These people may have seemed like friends before I realized what was truly happening, the lack of balance of give and take in our relationship, and my true friends and family suffered.
I learned my lesson the hard way when I put my family in a tight spot. I realized what I was doing to them. That I wasn't nurturing our relationships as I should because I was draining myself into other people, people who didn't care if I ran dry. I realized that it wasn't okay to allow my family to be treated that way and, therefore, it wasn't okay for me to be treated that way either. So, I quit the trait.
It's quite an adjustment, stepping away and setting boundaries. I've struggled with the guilt of saying "no." I feel ashamed and selfish and can get down on myself. Then, I remind myself to look at the situation from someone else's perspective. If I substitute someone in my place and play out the same scenario and come to the same conclusion that "no" is an okay answer, I can tell my self-doubting-insecurities that I'm not wrong. If it truly turns out to be a selfish situation, I change my attitude and my answer.
I use this same tactic of building my self respect and self value when it comes to people's approval of me. There are definitely people I desire to have approval from - family, friends and peers. That's just the people-pleaser nature in me. There have been times that I've questioned my value because someone else doesn't acknowledge it. I've let their "disapproval" swallow me and deter me.
My biggest realization? That's on me. It's my job to always do my best, no matter if it's noticed or acknowledged. It's my responsibility to know and build my worth. It's my responsibility to set boundaries, keep them and react properly when they are pushed. Most importantly, it's my responsibility to harbor love in my heart, always, for others and myself.
So, you know that specific affirmation you're looking for from that one person or group? You don't need it. Would it be nice to have? Yes. Would you appreciate and treasure it? Of course. Would that affirmation make you any more valuable? NO. You are already valuable. If you're thinking about and seeking that affirmation it's because some part of you already knows and believes you deserve it. Don't rely on someone else to confirm your value.