…on being liked

My name is Jodie Miller and I am a people pleaser.

Sometimes it works in my favour. Sometimes it doesn’t.

As a self-employed person in a service industry, my natural inclination to please has made it easy… no, easy isn’t the right word, anyone who is self-employed will know it isn’t easy… my natural inclination has made it possible to build a brand that customers associate with service. In fact, I rarely talk about my business as a business, even with the attached Pty Ltd, because the alternative word is a better fit. In any case, being a server and a pleaser makes it easier to get up every day and perform. It’s my MO. I can’t not do my best to make others happy, and making others happy makes me happy.

But if you’re a people pleaser too, you’ll know there is a dark side.

I have at times allowed myself to become entrenched in other people’s problems. I have quietly endured uncomfortable situations in order to avoid offence. I have stuck by friends who didn’t deserve my time and continued to respond to calls and messages long after I knew their contact wasn’t good for me. I know I would have been a more effective advocate if I had been more more willing to endure the discomfort of others. Instead, I tippi-toed around issues I should probably have delivered with a (metaphorical) head-butt.

I’m still not good at boundaries, despite hitting 50 and otherwise building a nice life. Either I make myself too available, or misread the cues of others as gestures of friendship or give too much, hoping for reciprocation and, naturally, feeling disappointed if my gesture wasn’t accepted or returned in kind. And if my sense of rejection or resentment reached a point of overflow, I might later regret what I’d said to make my feelings known. I still don’t know when to call a boundary, whether I’m being lax or harsh, gracious or a push-over. I still can’t bear the idea of not being liked. Never considered myself a good girl but that word, nice, is one I’ve been called more times than I care to admit.

Acclaimed songwriter and performer, Ed Sheeren, famously said the key to failure is trying to please everyone. There are dozens of similar quotes on the web by similarly famous people; a message so simple you’d think it would be a cinch to internalise. Yet here I am, spilling over again, reminding myself

I Am Worthy.

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