I recently experienced the receiving end of a pleaser’s giving, and it rubbed me the wrong way.
The first person, provided unsolicited help. I didn’t need help. I didn’t ask for help. They just gave it. It was a simple task and I felt as though they viewed me incompetent or were infantilizing me. I wanted to call and say, Don’t you realize I am a fully formed adult, more than capable to doing this simple task or asking for help if I need it?
If this person had asked if I needed help, it would have been a clear, no thanks. But they proceeded to do the work without asking, and it felt uncomfortable.
Another person reached out, trying too hard when I didn’t want what they were offering, they began to insist. They ignored my boundaries and pushed because they wanted to give. Instead of being helpful to me, I ended up feeling uncomfortable and didn’t want to be around that person.
Both of these situations are gifts. I know in my heart both of these people were being helpful, caring, and what they offered was given with love. I also know these are both people who pride themselves on helping others. They are always giving to everyone and putting themselves last. I know their intentions and respect that, but the truth is, their help didn’t feel like help; it created discomfort in me and changed the way I viewed the relationship.
What I love about these experiences is the awareness that came with them. I’ve been on the pleaser end before. I’ve done this to others. I’ve had the best of intentions, I’ve reached out to help someone thinking it was my duty. And very likely, more than once, I’ve caused people to feel icky.
I loved experiencing pleasing help from the receiving end. It reminded me it’s not my business to be in other people’s business. If I am invited to help, I still get to decide how to give help, if at all.
I am shifting and learning. I no longer want to fix people. I need to center myself and come from a place of authentic helping instead of pleasing. I’ll hold these experiences as a touchstone the next time I feel the need to insert myself in someone else’s life.
As ever…I continue to be a work in progress.