Are you a people pleaser? I am a people pleaser. People ask me for a favor or to provide something for them, and I go out of my way to fill their need. I often give up something of my own to help them out.
My first career was as an elementary teacher. There are a lot of people you need to please in a classroom. First, the students. You need to make sure that thye get what they need from their education while also teaching them in a way that they learn best. Did you know that 25+ kids each have different learning styles? Yowzer! Lots of trying to please people there!
And then there are the parents. They also have expectations for how you’ll do things in the classroom. Oh, and many parent couple don’t agree with each other, and so teachers need to find a compromise to please them both. Ouch!
Teachers must also please their co-teachers in order for procedures and schedules and routines to run smoothly. If kids see other teachers, schedules must be firm yet fluid because many things affect changes in the day. A two hour late start will change the schedule. So will a guest speaker. This affects the music teacher as well as the speech teacher, and if you switch for subjects like math and reading… well, there is a lot of pleasing going on.
Then there is the principal, If you don’t please the principal, it can make for a tough year. Conflicts in meetings, conflicts when dealing with parents, etc., offer a lot of stress. It’s just easiler to please the principal than to ride against the wave.
Of course, there is the school board and superintendent. Your very job depends on their being pleased with you. Keep them happy, and you have a paycheck.
Some people don’t realize that teachers also need to please their own families. A difficult task, especially when we’ve expended so much energy toward making everyone else happy. I used to work long days, and then bring home more work for the evenings and weekends. That cut into family time, and I am sorry to say that my family often got the short end of the stick with my time.
The problem with being a people pleaser is that it takes a lot of energy from you. It’s not a natural use for our time. And eventually, you have no more energy left to give.
That’s why I left the teaching profession after 24 years. During those elementary school years, I could not recover my energy anymore. Summer was usually my charging up time. Usually by August, I would look forward to the school year. The last two years of teaching, I was not ready for the kids, energetically, on the first day of school. I did the best I could, and I was still a pleaser, but it literally was making me sick.
Did you know that when you run out of energy, there is a physical correlation with the body? Your immune system begins to fail. My allergies started in my early 30s. Had I known the signs at the time, I would have been more careful. But as I was sapped of my energy, I suffered cluster headaches for quite awhile. I also suffered from constipation. In the end, it was ulcerative colitis that made me realize that I could not physically keep pleasing others by giving up my own energy. When you wake up one day and ask yourself, am I dying, you know that you have reached a point where you either continue the self-destruction or you reverse it.
Today I am a wellness consultant. I take the lessons that I have learned and share my stories with others. I offer Circles on topics that feed us energy. I teach yoga to make us aware of our bodies and our alignment to our minds and spirit. I try to help women fill in their empty tanks with loving, positive energy. And this charges me, as well.
I am still a people pleaser. I try to arrange schedules and types of yoga routines to match my clients’ needs. But I now understand the balance. I take naps and rests during my busy days, to recharge my energy level. I accept that I can only please some of the people, some of the time. “Just this” becomes my daily mantra. I can only do “this,” and that is good enough.