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Are You a “People-Pleaser?” Be a “Self-Accepter”
Almost as long as you can remember, you’ve probably been told how you should think and feel about yourself. As a toddler, you were hugged and complimented when you said something cute or acted in some endearing manner. As you grew older, you realized that what others thought of you was becoming ever more important. Instead of developing a solid sense of self, you may have focused on pleasing others to get their approval.
You may be a “people-pleaser,” and it isn’t a healthy thing. In our culture, this need for approval is cultivated in women much more than it is in men (not to say that some men don’t operate this way, too). One of TriVita’s Essentials for Health and Wellness states “Develop Acceptance.” I’d like to suggest that this means developing a full and unconditional acceptance of who you really are—and this may differ from the impression you give others.
This topic reminds me of a former colleague, a woman, a brilliant physician who was afraid to speak her mind. She was afraid of upsetting others, angering them, and eventually losing their friendship and support. In meetings, she often “softened” her remarks, no matter how insightful, by stating her case—and then giggling. In relationships, she deferred to others and “gave in.” As a result, she kept her anxieties, frustrations and uncertainties inside, feeling emotionally and physically stressed. She developed headaches, back pain, fatigue and sleeping problems.
You don’t have to be perfect to have love, kindness, intentions
When you feel that you’re not “good enough,” it’s so easy to sabotage your efforts—selling yourself short, allowing another to control your life, quietly accepting a paycheck that is less than what your services are worth. When your inner critic takes over, you tend to eat unhealthy foods, especially fats and sugar, to squelch the uncomfortable feelings of inadequacy, feeding even more disdain for yourself.
There’s no better time than now to affirm yourself. Look in the mirror, gazing directly into your eyes and state: “I accept myself exactly the way I am. I accept all parts of me knowing that I am the creator of my happiness, success
About Mamiko Odegard, Ph.D.
Dr. Mamiko Odegard, a messenger of hope