When People Want More From You
It’s been a busy week preparing for school to start up again, so I thought that this blog would hit home right before things get back into full swing!
I’m a people-pleaser.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to say “No” when the people you admire and care about are asking you for your help. And the worst part is, you end up stretching yourself to the max because you convince yourself that their every request is meant out of the desire for your best. That, they believe in you with every task they put on your plate and you do it because you don’t want to let them down.
It’s not that this action is bad. By all means, it’s a good thing to be challenged by the people who see your potential. It’s truly a positive thing when you feel powerful and encouraged by their belief in you. The issue comes when you’ve spread yourself so thin that there’s nothing left to give anymore. The issue comes when you don’t have standards or boundaries for yourself. The issue comes when you don’t have the ability to say “No” without (wrongly) feeling like the worst person in the world.
I’m a people pleaser. I’m an ISFJ, the Defender. The Dr. Watson. The Samwise Gamgee. And on top of that, I’m a Type 2w2. The Helper.
I’m, basically, a helping machine.
It is my natural desire to help others, especially those I admire and love. And when I was younger, I didn’t know how to control this feeling. I would find myself tiring out very fast, then feeling bad when I had to say “No” to others who needed my help. Being in college for a while, I’ve been learning more about boundaries and taking care of myself. Prioritizing my needs more often.
Now that I have grown and changed my habits to fix that thinking, it can be a difficult thing when someone recognizes that trait and uses it to their advantage. I’m not saying that they’re automatically trying to manipulate me to do something I don’t want to do, rather they realize that I’ll be more likely to help out than other people. This tactic has worked many a time before, I’m sure, but since I’ve grown I can recognize it. It’s not something I really appreciate either. Because the thing is, I’m trying to make more time for myself. Trying to be healthier, happier, and more successful. And having someone I admire or care about using my helpful attitude to their advantage — for instance, asking for help with extra responsibilities when I have a heavy workload as it is — isn’t something that makes me feel good.
Believe me, I’m thankful that people even care about my talents and want to see me improve in multiple areas. I think the issue comes when they don’t really hear you when you say “No.” It feels as if they don’t believe you when you say it. And that can be extremely frustrating when you mean it. You’re not slacking off. You’re not ignoring the future. You’re not dodging a challenge. Simply put, you want them to respect your decision when you say “No.” Because you do have a lot on your plate and know your abilities. If you know it’s too much, or if you would just rather not do it, they need to realize you are aware of your decisions and respect them even if they don’t agree.
Fellow people-pleasers, college student or not, respect yourselves. Please. Don’t choose to let yourself get overwhelmed, stressed, or filled with anxiety. I can hold a tight lid on my emotions and thoughts. A lot of people don’t even know what I’m feeling deep down, sometimes. Why? It’s my natural instinct not to burden those I care about. Don’t be like that. Your issues, feelings, thoughts, they matter. Speak to someone. The only way to move on, to improve fully, is to address that stuff and let it go.
I hate to say it, but the education system is driven to unhealthy levels of success. We are raised to believe that you work all day, even all night, to get something done. I would say that here and there, it’s okay to stretch your time commitments. But it isn’t a healthy work ethic on a regular basis. We all have deadlines, but for goodness sake don’t be encouraged to have unhealthy behavior. If it’s a regular thing, talk to your professor or mentor about it.
If I sound frustrated, I am. I am a student who has been in private school all her life. I have always been encouraged to work harder, get higher grades, higher GPA, etc. These are good things and the kind of things all students should be encouraged towards. So, why on earth are we believing that this is the only way a student can be successful? Why are we letting the masses believe that living anxious, stressful, exhausted lives is the normal? I don’t believe that nor do I have that goal for my life.
I’m going to be successful without living in constant fear of deadlines and the disapproval of those I admire and care about. I can make good grades and a high GPA without stretching myself to the max. I can actually have a life outside of school. I can truly wake up each day, knowing full well that I have difficult projects and early deadlines, and still be excited to live life. No one should feel like that’s wrong. No one should be made to feel like that isn’t challenging enough.
Sure, sometimes we really do need that push and we really do need that uncomfortable sensation. Just not all the time. That’s not a fair or realistic outlook. Thus, when people begin to unnecessarily pressure you, ask yourself if it’s something you: want to do, are capable of doing, and have the time to do. By going through this process, you will feel in charge. Your people-pleasing nature will be put into the right perspective.
I say all of this to encourage you. College students and all others, you are in control. Respecting yourself is a part of self-care, and something that should become a habit if it hasn’t already! You are valued, loved, important, and special. I want you to take care of yourselves in every way:
Challenge yourself, even if you’re scared & Take time for yourself, even if others don’t agree.
Loving yourself involves a healthy balance. Love yourself to the best of your ability, and show others that success is even sweeter when your outlook is healthy! May you have a wonderful school year, my friends. It all starts with you.
All my love,