Thursday, January 16, 2014

PEOPLE-PLEASERS ANONYMOUS

Like most women who grew up prior to the bra-burning years, I was raised to be a people-pleaser. I had an "awakening" in college during the early 70s, but relapsed when I married my engineer husband and followed him to a company compound in Indonesia, where wives weren't allowed to work. I was the youngest and most naive wife on the compound, surrounded by older women who were only too eager to school me in the ways of a proper expatriate spouse.

Come to think of it, that was probably one of the very best things about my "gap year" all alone here in Wimberley. I had distanced myself not only from job and family duties, but also from the many organizations, such as Band Boosters and PTA, in which I was entangled. My first resolution upon moving here was to strengthen my spine and learn to say "NO!" I was determined not to join any organization that I wasn't truly passionate about, and I did my best to retrain my little people-pleasing self, not to be self-absorbed or inconsiderate of the needs of others, but to at least take her own needs into consideration, before rushing off to please everyone else.

It worked pretty well, for a while. I resisted joining several time-sucking clubs, and only ended up on one board -- that of The Bountiful Sprout, an organization which I truly was passionate about. And of course, there was my weekly meet-up with my Muses.

Photo taken by Spirit Muse (Deborah Bowers) atop Enchanted Rock
A little over a year ago my fellow Muses started pushing for a group hike up Enchanted Rock. Now I love walking, but despise hiking and climbing. My short, stubby legs just aren't cut out for it. However, those girls are just too dang hard to say no to! So I agreed to go. But then one of them had to reschedule, then the next time the weather turned crappy, and somehow we never got around to it. I was dee-lighted! Several weeks ago, one of them brought it up again...even going so far as to make it her birthday wish. Crap. How do you turn down a birthday wish?

Normally, when I go walking in my neighborhood, I try to keep to the more level parts. I figure just getting up and down my driveway is hike enough! (Did you know that going downhill is actually much more stressful on knees than going up?) But once I realized the hike was back on, I began adding more climbing into my routine, trying to make it a bit further up the big hill behind us each time I went out. I was doing pretty well until a couple of days ago. I was coming back down the hill when I suddenly heard/felt a big POP in my right knee. It really caught me by surprise, for I realized that I had not had a lick of knee trouble since I quit doing Zumba on carpeted floors several months ago.

Fortunately, I was able to walk it off and make my way back home, and by the next day it was pretty much back to normal. For a moment there, however, I had visions of having to call my hubby to come get me. Then I thought of something even worse -- what if my knee went out on the Enchanted Rock hike, and the Muses had to carry me down?!!!

Anyhoo, it got me to thinkin' about people-pleasing again, and wondering just how far I am willing to go, in order to keep from disappointing others. All the way to knee surgery, perhaps?

4 comments:

Shelly said...

There must have been a rebirth of people pleasing after the bra burning years because I left home with it burned in my brain. Actually, my sisters have it even more engrained than I do. Maybe it's a Midwestern farmer's daughter thing. Who knows? Somewhere along the road before any knees/elbows/attitudes were permanently disjointed, I took a similar pledge to myself. My time is valuable and should be spent on the activities I enjoy. We'll see how that pledge holds up to eleven and a half more years of Harper's elementary/middle/high schooling! Looking forward to hearing how you do with yours!

Hill Country Hippie said...

Good luck with that Shelly! The very hardest things of all to say no to, are those relating to our kids. They once guilted my hubby into being a soccer coach, even though he had to get a book from the library to know how to play. Then our daughter walked off the field in the middle of their first game, saying she didn't want to play anymore!

Corrine at sparkledaysstudio.com said...

Thankfully I was not the joiner type. Too many people in groups all the time just wears me out. So no was always a word I kept handy....Hope the knee holds out for the hike or maybe you can have coffee waiting when they finish. xox

Hill Country Hippie said...

Unfortunately, I was led to believe early on that I was "shy", and it was something I had to force myself to overcome, so I kept joining stuff that I always grew to hate. It wasn't until recently, when I started seeing lots of stuff describing what it means to be an introvert, that I realized it was something I didn't need to "fix", and embraced it wholeheartedly!