Love Letter #13: Disappointment, Perfection & The Need to Please

I know that I do not have to earn love. I am lovable because I exist.

Louise Hay

This is the quote on my calendar for today. It feels perfect as I reflect on the idea of being a disappointment. 

As a recovering people-pleaser and healing perfectionist, I have often disappointed myself in order to be liked, accepted, validated by others. The trouble with this is while trying to keep others happy, I was disappointing myself. I was putting my energy into trying to control who likes me by saying yes to things that didn’t align with my values. 

So many of us learn to seek love and validation outside of ourselves. I’ve dismissed my own needs and intuition because I believed I had to earn love. Have you? 

Perfectionism encourages this. To compare our lives to others lives, to measure our success against some made up idea of what success ‘should’ be. To see ourselves through the eyes of others…instead of the eyes of the beloved – our own.  

I’ve found that being a disappointment to others is key to no longer disappointing myself. It can be very uncomfortable at first, and still is at times…but it beats the discomfort of saying yes when I really want to say no. 

Just this week, someone asked me to do something for them that was out of alignment with my values; with who I chose to be. I knew immediately the answer was no – I felt it in my body. 

Of course my brain kicked in immediately too and that’s where I can get tripped up. I had lots of question…wondering why they asked me? What’s this really about? Shouldn’t I help a friend? What if they’re disappointed? Will they still like me? 

But I realized all these questions came out of my ego – wanting to be liked. The truth is in how it feels in my body. The body is the master – the brain the servant. 

I can’t say if that person was disappointed with my answer or not. And, sometimes I still have guilt pangs when I follow my intuition. But being a disappointment means I am not disappointing the most important person in my life – me. I am not putting myself through the emotional gymnastics of figuring out how to do something that isn’t right for me. 

That doesn’t make the person asking right or wrong, or the ask good or bad, there’s no judgment here…it is simply not right for me. 

If you find yourself saying yes when you want to say no…I highly recommend being a disappointment – then at least one of you won’t be disappointed. The most important person in your life – YOU. 

I think you’ll find saying no and risking disappointing others to be a powerful tool for personal growth and healing what perfectionism there may be in your life. 

Oh…one more thing. It’s okay to tell someone you’ll get back to them and not answer immediately. This gives me an opportunity to respond in a way that speaks to how I feel and do so with love for me and the other person. 

With love,

When you finally decide your life isn’t what you want it to be. And you finally decide that what you’ve been doing isn’t working. And you want to step out of your comfort zone and do things differently so you can begin to see that life you truly want…I’m here for you and Women Writing Their Lives is a safe space to begin creating the change you desire. We’re enrolling now for the next session.

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