I saw the word "people pleaser" a few minutes ago on FB, and it reminded me of some thoughts i've been chewing on this week. i *am* a people-pleaser, at least by nature. i routinely think i've failed if i don't manage to please everyone. which is crap of course, not possible, and utterly unhealthy to boot. but very ingrained.
i ran into a situation last weekend where i thought it was impossible to please everyone, and wound myself into a bit of a knot before i decided that the best plan was just to do what i wanted to. not worry about who i (might) possibly offend, but simply do what i felt like. it worked beautifully, and if there were hurt feelings i didn't hear about them.
a lot of my people-pleasing ideas seem wound up tightly with obligation, which is a word i've come to hate. i dislike obligations in any form whatsoever, and have started eliminating as many as possible from my life. if my calendar is filled with regular appointments, i try to find ways to get out of them. make sure i feel free to skip them. keep it free, fluid, and light. it really makes it easier to follow your nose, or the weather, or whatever opportunity crops up. it makes advance planning hard, and i've come to do less and less of it.
we're down to just one regular appointment per week (fynn's cello lesson) and one home schoolers meetup that we try to make it to most weeks. it's enough. some of it may be overreacting to having such a very regular and scheduled life when i was younger, running between school, church, work, and the few extracurricular things that i was allowed to do. there was very little down time. free time. follow-your-nose time. i've come to value that so highly that it takes a lot to make me commit to something.
then when things do work out, and visits and stuff happen, they feel spontaneous, enjoyable, and full of delight. i marvel at folks that fit so many things into their vacations, and often get a twitch of reflexive guilt that i'm not packing as many meaningful experiences in for my kids. all the missed museums and monuments and parks and rivers. you know, the things that other folks plan their trips around and i point out from the window as we sail by on our way to someplace deemed more important.
then again, we do fit a lot in, just not the same way. lots of people, and destinations, but there rarely seems to be enough time in each place. working on that bit, and the more trips we take now that we have a reliable vehicle, the less desperate i feel that we've got to fit so many things into each one.
sometimes my loathing of obligation makes me end up regretting not doing things, or planning a bit more in advance. it's hard to pull off an exciting birthday for your husband when you live in the sticks, and don't start figuring out what you're going to do and get until the morning of. some things do benefit from some kind of forethought. it's funny though, because i really enjoy planning stuff, big stuff, crowd stuff. i stress about it, but get a real kick out of it too. perhaps i'm just still in a bit of my hibernation phase, and didn't realize those feelings were still hanging around.
so is obligation really insidious? feels that way to me at the moment, but i might come back around on it. doesn't feel healthy for me right now. space and freedom are too valuable. delightful. satisfying. healing too.
last thought, you know what i label as obligations seem tied to so many assumptions. about what someone wants, how they feel, or might feel, what they expect of me, and what might make them happy. but if i'm not participating with my whole heart, it's fairly worthless. i prop my choices up on assumptions, though they're greasy and flimsy supports at best, and often burst into flames in the middle of it all. best to ditch them entirely.