My name is Tim and I am a people pleaser. I think I always have been. I want people to be happy. I want them to enjoy themselves. I don’t want the to have bad experiences and I want to help them avoid any type of unpleasantness. For years I ran a small B&B and made sure that my guests were ‘happy’. I catered to their needs, indulged their whims, offered advice and went out of my way to make sure that they had a pleasant stay and a nice time in my town. That was my job. I enjoyed it and rightly so, people were paying for that service.
However, I suffer from the disease of more. I thought that without me, they couldn’t have a good vacation in my town. And of course, I didn’t stop with just guests. I was like this with everyone. I didn’t express how I was feeling. I did ‘favours’ for folks when it really wasn’t convenient. My needs were set aside for the needs of others. I felt that your needs, feelings were more important than mine. I believed it was the right thing to do: suppress my needs because that was the ‘Christian’ thing to do, the ‘human’ thing to do. If I didn’t, what would people think about me? What would they say about me? I was always the nice, polite guy who went along with everyone and everything. Problem was, I still had my needs and desires. They became distorted by neglect and gave me one more excuse to indulge in my addiction. And I started to believe that I didn’t matter and neither did my needs, or wishes. I believed ‘Love thy neighbour, but deny thy self.’
‘What others think about me is none of my business!’
How difficult it was when I first arrived to hear and accept this radical idea, Wow, that was not how I was wired. I thought that it was my business, my only business. What will the neighbours think? What will the family think? What will my friends think? Those were the questions I worked with. What does Tim think? That didn’t matter all that much.
Through working the steps I learned that I do matter and that what I think is important and that I have self esteem, I value, I’m worth it. One of the ways I made that change in thinking is by ignoring what others ‘might’ be thinking about me, because there really was no way of knowing. As well, someone pointed out, other folks aren’t thinking about me, they are mostly thinking about what still others think about them. Finally, I was told that this attitude was an Ego trip. I was doing it all for me, in a obtuse way, so that everyone would like me. I wasn’t doing it for you, I was doing it for me!!!! Pow! Right in the kisser!!!!
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Seuss
It is difficult to climb down off this steep mountain of Ego. I’m learning to accept who I am with my faults and my merits. I am learning that while I am not “everything and a piece of cake”, I have value and so do my thoughts and ideas. I share my ideas. I try new things. I help out others, but not at my expense, and not just so that they will like me. Well, okay, I’m working at it. Sometime quickly, sometimes slowly, as we hear in meetings. I work things out with me, my Higher Power and my sponsor and if others think that it is a good idea, great. If not, well, I’m learning to deal with that too.
I can’t please everyone every time and I don’t want to. I can do things that I know I need or want to do. I have no desire to be a bull in a china shop, but I will no longer stand aside and let the world trample on me because of what it ‘might’ be thinking about me. The happiness of the world doesn’t depend upon me. My happiness does. When I’m happy, I have a different perspective on the world out there and it makes my world in here a whole lot brighter! I’m working on it.
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