Is Any of This Hard For You?
Having the guts to be true to yourself amongst others opinions. Saying NO to others. Disappointing someone whose asking you to give more than what’s comfortable for you to give. Having a hard time refraining from doing what others expect you to do, especially when it doesn’t work for you. Making self respecting choices when others around you are choosing differently.
If the situations above are frequent challenges, you might be a people pleaser Babe.
With that said, I had a topic suggestion from a friend that I want to speak too because it seems to be a common struggle. I believe it’s a topic that many of us will be able to connect with and the root of it lies in self respect, self love and our ability to have good boundaries.
Here’s the question:
“How do you balance the desire to be a supportive friend without compromising your own energy and boundaries?”
Being a supportive friend does not entail compromising things that are healthy for you. Having good boundaries and showing up for your needs are two factors that a healthy connection does not ask you to compromise.
Remember that “supportive” doesn’t entail tolerating being “dumped on.”
Within friendship, or any relationship for that matter, “stuff” is gonna go down. Friends are going to have upsets that they share, that’s a given. Even more so when it’s a close relationship. Although, there’s a very different energy to distinguish between sharing information with someone vs. dumping information onto someone.
Sharing is healthy; Dumping is not.
When someone is “dumping” on you there’s a draining, exhausting and heavy energy to it.
If you feel a consistent hesitation when a particular friend calls for your support or a hang out, this could be a red flag that you’re compromising something within yourself when in company with this other person. This doesn’t mean that you need to let go of the friendship. It does point to tightening your boundaries around this relationship. With doing so, the connection will either become healthier, shift for the better and grow or not.
Here’s some perspective on how to get past your guilt so you can go about putting boundaries on a friendship that needs them.
Your Feelings Are Legit
There’s a reason for your feelings. Honor them. When something feels off or icky, it’s probably because it is. Trust yourself and be mindful to not validate “why” this person needs you. You need to show up for yourself first. Nobody needs you as much as you need yourself.
Too Nice is Not Nice
I’m all about being friendly and nice. I think having empathy, being open and polite to others is such an amazing way to be. I also think that you have to honor and respect yourself, which means making sure you’re not only being nice to others, but also being kind to yourself. Usually this entails saying “NO” from time to time. For the record, compromising your needs is not a self respecting choice and will drain your energy. Hyper hospitality is often a symptom of people pleasing that gives others the go ahead to walk over you.
Hang In There
The reality is that if you’re going to establish good boundaries, it’s essential to be able to tolerate the guilt of not pleasing someone. I know, it’s going to be uncomfortable for a bit. While tolerating the guilt of not being everything to everyone, you give yourself the opportunity to establish a new way of being by setting well intentioned boundaries. Just like anything that ’s a process, you have to get through the guilt by allowing the feeling to be there while deconstructing your guilty feelings with perspective. Reminding yourself that you’re not being “mean” or “selfish” for making self honoring choices sounds so basic, but it’s important to practice. Often times, when we’re functioning from a people pleasing place, we feel a lot of guilt for not being or doing what others want us to be and do. This is the wiring that we have to correct in order to establish a healthier way of connecting with others. This will begin to shift the dynamics within our relationships.
Allowing space for your friend or partner to work out their own stuff is healthy; It’s not mean. If that person guilts you for not constantly being there when they need you, that’s more of a red flag for you to pay attention too, rather then jumping to the conclusion that you’re a negligent friend.
Healthy adults have the capacity to work through their own stuff. Healthy adults don’t expect you to take care of their emotions. You’re there to support them. You’re not there to fix it for them.
When we’re coming from a people pleasing space there’s often a confusion around fixing vs. being supportive. Take a step back and give a situation space so you can establish your boundaries. Also, make room for that other party to work out their own stuff.
To sum this up: Babes, please take the pressure off yourself to BE everything to other people. It’s exhausting and it’s not the way to build healthy and fulfilling relationships. It’s just not. Remember that people respect people who respect themselves. Period. One of the most attractive and magnetic qualities to have is self respect. One of the biggest actions to take in order to cultivate that quality is to have solid boundaries.
We need you. The world needs your energy. It doesn’t need you continuously self sacrificing and giving beyond your means. Establishing boundaries will help you see your relationships in a new way and will leave you feeling more confident about you.
*Image by photographer Amy Lynn Bjornson