I feel bad telling people no. Even harder is to tell people what I want or need. So . . . I rarely do. I like doing for others and find satisfaction in making people happy. Yes, just call me "Ms. Pleaser." Sometimes, I have let this issue affect my life by making myself miserable, so that someone else can be happy. I've had friends and family tell me to stand up for myself, but I just assumed that it's one thing that I would have to figure out on my own.
For the past year or so, I found myself floundering about my future. I left a job that I loved and was trying to figure out what to do for the rest of my life. (One would think that by age 40 I would know by now. NOPE!) I was having an internal conflict. I knew what I wanted, but I couldn't verbalize it for fear of no longer being "Ms. Pleaser."
I was working as the Marketing Maven for the bowling center, but wasn't feeling it. I wasn't meshing in the environment. In the process, I was not pleasing myself or anyone else. I confronted my boss, Melanie, and she said something to me that, although I heard, I didn't process until later. She said: "You won't get what you want until you say what you want out-loud. No one knows what you want if you don't even know yourself. Don't worry if you don't feel deserving, let it be OK to get something that you don't deserve." Now, she communicated it much better than that. I'm paraphrasing because I can't for the life of me remember the exact words she used. (Maybe I should also work on my listening skills)
I worked for another couple of months for Melanie and then decided that I needed to find an environment better suited for me. I was fortunate enough to find a job at a local church. I've always felt that church work was the perfect place for me. It makes me want to be a better person. I enjoy helping people and the church has many avenues in which to do so. It was a month before I started working at the church and within the first few days, I knew I had made the wrong choice. It wasn't the right fit. But at that moment I knew that I had come to that place in my life where I had to please myself and no one else. Oh boy, this was going to be hard. I remembered the words Melanie told me. I had to say what I wanted and be OK with it. The hard part was telling my new boss at the church, after only a week, that I was quitting. I felt like I let him down in a big way. For a "pleaser", this was torture. It wasn't just the fact that I let him down, but that I was a quitter too. Ugh!!
In my conversations with Melanie, I verbalized exactly what I wanted. I wanted to work from a home office and be able to work on a schedule that allowed me to be more creative and more effective as her Marketing Maven. She took me back and since that time, I am no longer floundering. I have not looked at online job opportunities. I am as happy as a lark! I have exceeded my ability to be creative in ways that I didn't know that I could. I've actually started learning to say no to the things that I can't handle. It feels great! And on the days when I think I'm not deserving, I stop and think about what she said: "Let it be OK to get something you don't deserve".
I don't think I can ever express how much Melanie challenged me. (In a good way!) I am ever grateful for her outlook on life, work and fun. She encourages me to do the best work and brings out my full potential. Thanks Melanie - you have made a great impact on my life!