I saw a quote the other day, "Leave people happy to have had contact with you," or something like that. I thought about it, and realized that is definitely NOT my goal. My goal is to set boundaries and stand up for what I think is right. There seems to be a fine line between being "nice," versus being a "doormat." Every situation is different, but, as a recovering people pleaser, I can tell you, being "nice" will eventually leave YOU feeling unhappy and resentful. This is because there are so many people out there who have structured their lives around taking what they can get from others. Now, you may think this is negative, but I do not see it that way.
When I lived my life in servitude of others, I felt like I was "a good person." But I was also miserable and angry inside. Others may have thought I was "nice," but I hated myself, and became clinically depressed. It took me years to understand how to set boundaries and find my own happiness. I have been called some names in the recent past, which are the opposite of "nice," but I no longer live my life to please everyone but myself. Some might call this "selfish," and that's ok. I don't think being selfish is so bad, if it means I don't have to live under the weight of what everyone else thinks of me. It's an acceptable result if I am happy inside, and am really in touch with what fulfills me on a deep level. The people who I want in my life, are the people who appreciate that, and are not looking for me to help them, heal them, or otherwise fix their lives for them.
The unexpected result of this metamorphisis has been that I actually WANT to help others now. It comes from a place of happiness and love, as opposed to duty and obligation. Others will tell you that being selfish makes you miserable, but they are likley the ones who need you to heal them in some way, and they are desperately trying to keep you on the hook for their happiness. Imagine what would happen if we all actually took 100% responsibility for who we are inside, and the choices we have made? What a wonderful world that would be.
If you are struggling with some "people pleaser" issues, shoot me an email. I can help you! And yes, I do see the irony in that:)