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If You're a People Pleaser, Disappointing Others Should Be on Your To-Do List

Earlier in life, disappointing others was simply unacceptable. Whether it was my high school or college teammates, my employers, my husband, and later, my sons, I perceived letting others down as a moral defect. It ranked up there with lying and stealing.

I’m not a brain surgeon so the majority of my mistakes were not highly consequential. Never-the-less, burning the rice, botching a play-date, or forgetting a friend’s birthday all resulted in profound shame and brutal self-criticism. 

I can’t say with any confidence when or why this warped belief system took over. I’m guessing it had something to do with being highly sensitive and having a critical parent. Looking back on my childhood, my accomplishments hid in the shadow of my mistakes. I thought that if I could only anticipate what everyone needed or wanted from me, then I could avoid disappointing them. One of the many problems with this false construct was that the more I gave, the more people wanted. Over the years, pleasing people brought me affirmation and counterfeit comfort. It became a form of addiction.

Decades of co-dependence, over responsibility, and trying to earn love led to resentment, exhaustion, and finally, serious health issues. My body simply could not tolerate the relentless demands I placed on it or the lack of grace I extended to myself.

I now know that if I’m not regularly disappointing people, my boundaries probably need to be adjusted.

To read the remainder of this piece, click this link to my blog.

To read lots more on this topic, grab a copy of Marriage in the Middle.

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