An open letter to myself and my fellow people pleasers

I’m calling you out.

When someone mean spirited doesn’t like you, it isn’t that hard to accept. But when someone generally kind doesn’t like you… It’s really hard not to take that personally.

You think you must be misunderstood so you try to clear the air –set the record straight. Maybe you’re a little too desperate and come across as defensive. Which isn’t exactly off the mark. But your explanations are left on “read.”

You figure there must be something wrong with you. Otherwise how could this person who preaches empathy and compassion judge you so wrongly?

You lie awake at night and ruminate over interactions long past. Like that time you thought you were expressing care for a friend but it was construed as gossip. Or that time you argued on social media and maybe it felt like it got away from you. You play out all the different things you could’ve said instead, and how it wouldn’t played out differently. You long for a time machine that could take you back to each moment that keeps you up at night and let yourself be walked over just a little bit.

But here’s the hard to swallow pill: not everyone is going to like you.

There are going to be people who aren’t going to bother really getting to know you. They won’t take the time.

There are going to be people who you offend somehow, and they’ll never get over it.

There are going to be times when you have to put yourself or your family first, and people might judge you as selfish for it.

But their opinions don’t shape reality. Your worth is independent of the perceptions of others.

Maybe you’re just like me. Maybe you sacrifice yourself for the comfort of others. And maybe you’re terrified of doing anything different because you can’t bear the thought that anyone thinks of you as selfish or unkind. In which case I hope you will join me in a self-challenge. A challenge to put yourself first sometimes. To say no. To stand up for what you believe in without apologies. To stop yourself before you send that PM explaining and justifying yourself to someone who could care less. To remind yourself everyday that you don’t owe anyone an explanation.

And above all, be ok with knowing not everyone likes you.

“A friend to all is a friend to none.” -Taylor Swift, “Cardigan,” Folklore

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