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Week 32: Stop Being a People Pleaser

After last week's blog, I really hoped this week's entry was going to be centered around something positive, but unfortunately it just wasn't meant to be. Instead of writing about the mental benefits of enjoying much needed pampering, this week was yet another example of utilizing positive self-talk in a negative situation. This week, I was forced into being reminded how important it is to stay true to oneself and not second-guess the type of person I am.

It all started on Thursday, which was my Father's Birthday. I'd placed a reminder in my calendar so I wouldn't forget to call him, but when I found myself back-to-back with meetings I sent him a quick text to say, "Happy Birthday," and let him know we would call him as soon as all the boys were home from their various activities. Instead of saying thank you, or words to that effect, he responded by texting an odd reply saying there was no need to have the boys call him. At the time I didn’t think much of it and just got on with the rest of my day. A few hours passed and around 6pm I handed the phone to my middle son to have him call my Dad.

Not only did he not answer, but a few seconds after the phone stopped ringing he sent me a text message saying that he never wanted me to call him again; not now, not ever. I had no idea what I'd done, but after a little back and forth over text it became clear to me that in the eyes of my Dad - the one person who's supposed to have my back no matter what - for the past 18 years I'd been a terrible daughter and he no longer wanted anything to do with me. His text messages clearly requested a complete termination of our relationship, citing me as the cause.

Almost instantly, I began to put myself under the microscope: Had I done something wrong? Was I a bad daughter? As quickly as my internal inquisition started, I was able to squash my negative thoughts and realized that the answer to all my questions was a firm no. Could I have called him more? Of course I could've. Should I have made more of an effort to reach out over the last few months of COVID lock down? 100 percent! But was I a bad daughter? Did I deserve to be ostracized? I most certainly did not.

It was only last month that we were speaking on a regular basis via FaceTime, where my middle and youngest son in particular were enjoying chatting with him. I'd also sent him the "Battleships" game, hoping it would be something he could do virtually with the older boys so they could stay connected during the pandemic. I'll be the first to recognize over the last few weeks that I'd reduced the frequency with which I was calling him, but in my defense, my plate was pretty full with the new job, the home renovation, and the advancement of the COVID-19 lockdown, as well as spending a lot of my non-working time trying to figure out a makeshift summer camp schedule for the boys; my days were just getting away from me. Having said this, the last thing I wanted to do was argue or get upset, so I responded that I respected his wishes and that I will not call him again, but if he ever changes his mind my door will always be open with no grudges held or questions asked.

The thing is, when someone says hurtful things about you, it’s so easy to start doubting yourself, get upset, or even become defensive and argumentative. The harder response is to stay confident in yourself and dig deep inside to stay focused on what you know to be true. For me, this exchange with my father was the perfect opportunity to remind myself that I'm a good person, a good mother, a good wife, a good manager, a good friend, and in response to the current scenario, a good daughter. One thing I will readily admit is that I'm certainly not perfect, but the fact is, I'm yet to meet anyone who is. All I know is I'm doing the best I can with what I've got, so if that's not good enough for my father, or anyone else for that matter, then the best thing for all concerned is to let go and move on.

Regardless of whether it's family, friends, or someone you've just met, you can’t control who people are, what they say or the way they feel about you. However, what you can control is how their words and actions affect you; the more positive you are and the less you allow their negativity to be adversely impactful, the better you will be. Above all, it's important to keep reminding yourself about what you've done and what you plan to do.

When Sara Blakely was starting Spanks, she kept her grand idea to herself for the entire first year; not because she didn’t want to share it with others, or because she was antisocial, it was because she didn’t want to hear the negativity. Blakely didn’t want others to say her idea was bad or to convince her out of it; she knew it was a good idea and she was totally committed to seeing her vision through no matter what. Sara Blakely now has a multi-billion dollar business!

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