When I talk about “people-pleasing” I am using a euphemism for “codependency.”
I have a blog because, as much as it pains me to write this, my “love-language” is overwhelmingly “Words of Affirmation.” Words. They mean everything to me. If I never received another gift again, I would be perfectly content as long as I had some nice conversations along the way.
Social media did funny things to me. I realized I have had a Facebook for 13 years. If my Facebook was a child, it would be an 8th grader! I did a lot of growing up in that time, as have we all.
One thing really started to seep under my skin over the past few years, was how compartmentalized I had become. My Facebook persona was mostly wholesome mom posts. My Instagram was where I put my hobbies or fitness selfies I was too sheepish to post on FB. My Snapchat is where I showed the more frustrating or less rosy parts of my day. And I didn’t mean to be fake! I think I am very adept at sizing up what I think people will like.
I became troubled by this.
I also realized that I had actual friends who never responded to a thing I did. Like, real life people who knew me, and didn’t like it when I was in my early motherhood days and posted nothing but baby pics. Then I was trying to lose babyweight and squarely in postpartum land, and they didn’t like any of those progress pics, either. They didn’t want to hear that I breastfed. They didn’t like that I flooded the feed with drawings I made. They didn’t want to hear how much weight I lost.
It all hit me that I didn’t have confirmation for this, I had the assumption that I was annoying and disliked, and I really cared if they approved. I actually have no idea what they thought or not! I was letting social media absorb into my mind and hinder my security.
It is hard to admit that, but it is true.
If I stayed a wholesome mom persona who never cursed, people would still hide me. If I shared my booty gains in tight pants, people they would still hide me. If I posted nothing by dark-humored memes, people would still hide me. If I peddled my singing exploits, people would still hide me.
I cracked up. I hit the wall. I always think of the Babe (the lil pig): “That’ll do, pig.”
I could not win. And I couldn’t keep scattering my personality around strategically. I am messy and complicated. I am a wholesome mother and also I like to look sexy. I enjoy wearing no makeup and hiking on dirt roads in mismatched clothes and sometimes I am a glamorpuss with a pound of makeup on. I have hope and am sometimes hopeless. I have unpopular opinions about politics and society. I like solitude but will long for a deep friendship that I don’t know how to facilitate. I am really soulful and also flippant.
*inserts questionable Marilyn Monroe quote* (Like, did she really say that? I am laughing. Ok moving on.)
I had to face that the deep, deep dysfunction I grew up in, the cutesie moniker of “people-pleasing,” was where all my worth originated. I had to anticipate everyone’s particular needs or desires before they ever knew they had them to try and create some sense of harmony or functionality. I took responsibility for being this intense caretaker and soothsayer, piling on such unrealistic pressure to minimize chaos.
I can’t even call it “people-pleasing” anymore. I was a codependent mess and social media exacerbated it. It really, really bothered me.
So now, I am sorting my way through it with incredible growth. Like, you don’t even know! It is good. I have more peace than turmoil, more self-awareness than confusion, more resiliency. I don’t want you to think I am fishing for encouragement. I am typing it up because I wished someone else would. lol. This piddly blog challenges me a lot. I don’t even look at the “views,” I just keep writing.