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Disappointing Others Versus Disappointing Yourself

Over the last couple of months, I have been thinking about the concept of being willing to disappoint others so as not to disappoint myself. I’ve also had the opportunity to practice this multiple times – with my children, my employees, my friends, and my other family members.

So why would I want to disappoint others? I am a recovering people pleaser and was trained well by our societal culture to be caring, giving, and think of others’ needs. It’s like an unspoken rule for women. If we think of ourselves, we are considered selfish and self-serving. When we have the experience of being a mother, this is ingrained in our minds even more so. There are cultural expectations that our needs are less important than our children and our spouse, if we have one.

The thing is that when we do something for someone else that goes against what we really want, we are harming our psyche. We are telling ourselves that our desires and needs are not as important as putting on a good face to the world – being codependent to others and sacrificing ourselves in return. It eats into our feelings of worthiness and self-love. It contributes to us feeling less than.

This theme has showed up so many times in my life, and I have ignored my feelings too many times to count. I married my first husband out of obligation to my family and friends that had invested in our joint company. I married my second husband and stayed in the relationship far past its prime, out of obligation to my children.

In one of my businesses, I have employees that help me serve my clients. Over the last 12 years, I have more times than not, kept on employees longer than needed or desired, out of a feeling of obligation to them and their life situation or to how they came to me as an employee. I have been overstaffed and tried to find busy work to give them more hours. I have prolonged training with people that should have been let go way earlier when they demonstrated they were not going to be a good fit. I have sacrificed my bank account for their needs. There were a few years where this was not an issue, as there was plenty for me to share. This year with Covid has been a different story.

I have been running the company as lean as possible to keep the doors open. I am not apologetic about the low hours, as it is out of my control. I no longer feel obligated to pay for unnecessary labor. I am not willing to work with an employee that has to be reminded each time we work what the protocol steps are for what we do or feels they want to reinvent the wheel and do it a different way. There is no room for putting up with annoyance at different levels. My bullshit tolerance is at a zero. I am willing to disappoint my employees to not disappoint myself. This week, I released one of my employees.

My husband and I decided recently to move our family to Hawaii. This decision disappointed my mother, who lives in our current hometown. It will possibly disappoint my son, who may not be able to join us right away when we move. Regardless of what others think, we are doing what is best for us.

I have disappointed my father because I cannot be around his toxic ideas. I have disappointed friends and family for speaking my truth and not sacrificing my time and energy when I could not give it. I have disappointed my children in not allowing them to see their friends during this time of Covid.

When I am in a situation that requires me to ask myself if it will disappoint me or the other person, I now choose to disappoint the other person ALWAYS if the situation would disappoint me instead. I am the one that will always be with me, wherever I go in this life. I am important. I am worth it.

So I ask you, when you are in a situation that feels like an obligation that you do not want to partake in, what do you choose? Do you disappoint yourself to please others or are you willing to disappoint others so as not to disappoint yourself? Choose yourself.

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