I am a people-pleaser.
My mother has said that I have a servant’s heart, and my close friends have referred to me as being easily made happy on more than one occasion.
And recently, when hustling for a contract writing job, I was asked to provide my personality type based on the Myers-Briggs test I remember from Psychology classes some years ago.
I’ve already forgotten the mix of letters this latest test produced, but I clearly remember the descriptor in large font at the top of the screen: MEDIATOR.
And while I do think that these are admirable qualities, I’ve lately found myself questioning my nature here.
Could I be too passive?
I’ve always been aware of my tolerance or acceptance of things that I’m not always actually alright with, putting my perspective aside for the sake of peacekeeping — saying “yes, of course” to most anything asked of me.
Not trying to be a martyr here, just implying that I don’t like making a fuss.
But then, something funny happened.
After some unrelated conversation, I was inspired to look up my astral chart. An astral chart is a lengthy piece of information that basically describes the positioning of celestial bodies during a person’s hour of birth, which — with a bit of ancient mysticism — are interpreted to describe that person’s nature and conduct.
And although I don’t subscribe to a whole lot of the astrological information out there, I do find the insight discovered when studying such things to be interesting, even if I think it may have the potential to be self-fulfilling.
But, I must admit, I was hard-pressed to find something in the interpretation of “me” that I didn’t agree with.
And something that I noticed over and over again in my chart was this description of once again being a ‘mediator,’ a people-pleaser.
The stars have proclaimed it! It is in my nature to keep peace with others.
But, I may be people-pleasing to a fault. Sometimes to the point of dishonesty, the chart said.
Dishonest! I was mortified.
Because I knew it was true.
Of course, any sort of reading like this is subjective — able to be interpreted in many ways. Heck, that’s kind of the point, I think. But despite that, I still had an immediate realization:
When I repeatedly accept what is unacceptable to me, I am being dishonest — dishonest with myself, and dishonest with others.
If we’re talking about personality and nature, I kind of pride myself in my moral compass, and it is bothersome to me to consider any aspects of myself as being dishonest — subjective or not.
And it is something I’ve set out to remedy.
So now, it’s becoming more and more difficult to swallow the, “You know what? Actually, I’m not ok with this,” which sometimes creeps up to the tip of my tongue. I am feeling the desire to simply say no, more often.
And you know what else? That’s ok — to not be ok. We don’t have to be ‘ok’ with everyone and everything, every situation, every time.
I think that that’s asked of us, especially women, a lot — to accept and tolerate something unacceptable to us — be it in our personal, professional, or social spheres. And I won’t continue like that anymore!
That is also in my nature.
As much as I am a peacekeeper, I won’t allow myself to be a pushover.
Because, perhaps my nature may be changing a bit, too, as I continue on making a big deal about entering my thirties…
Something is happening to me that I can’t really control — the manifesting of all sorts of different feelings and emotions and a new-found drive towards something that is suddenly uncontrollable and even sometimes uncomfortable and — my god, is this menopause?!
Just kidding. I’m pretty excited to be thirty, for some reason. I see it as the beginning of a new era, a catalyst for all of my ambitions. But yes, I’m a bit anxious, too — shaken by a certain determination towards something which is nearly all-consuming. Though, consumed with determination to accomplish exactly what? I’m still figuring that out.
What I do know, is that it all goes hand in hand… in hand.
I was reading some commentary a while back, which discussed the social pressure on women in their thirties, and how so much attention — often negative — is paid to being a ‘thirty-something’ year old.
But one comment in this discussion has remained with me for weeks, as a woman there described the liberation that comes with becoming older, and notably, with becoming thirty.
She explained that once the vanity and materialism so prevalent in our twenties begins to subside, we are freer to evolve into our true selves and pursue our real desires.
This idea really spoke to me, perhaps because I can feel it happening in my own life — this liberation, of sorts — permission for myself to evolve and pursue.
And permission, when necessary, to say no.
So, in reading this commentary, studying my astral chart, and rediscovering my “personality type,” I’m motivated by this new decade of mine to practice being a ‘no’ body — practice the fearlessness that is sometimes required when saying no.
Of course I will continue my people-pleasing, peace-keeping, and mediating, as it truly is my nature to do so, and I do pride myself for this ability most of the time.
But I refuse to do so anymore at the expense of my own liberation, my evolution, or — as is most important to me — my honesty.