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People Pleasing.

People Pleasing

I don’t know about you but I hate letting other people down. Especially those I love and care about. With a chronic, invisible illness like Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis, we often have to cancel plans and can come off unreliable to those who don’t understand what it is we go through.

I have noticed that I used to do anything and everything in my power to please other people

I’d do this in order to make up for the fact that I couldn’t attend something or be there for someone. I often would put other people’s needs before my own. I would push myself enormously to do what everyone else was doing so I wouldn’t let other people down – knowing full well my body wasn’t physically capable of it.

For example, a number of years ago, a bunch of my friends were going white water rafting. I had a lot of athletic friends who enjoyed the outdoors and I wanted to be part of that. When one of my friends asked if I would be joining, I didn’t really know what it was and despite my dad telling me at 90lbs there wasn’t a chance I could do it, I still told my friend I would be there. **My dad did explain what it was and said it in a loving way, just to clarify 🙂

As the time got closer for us to go, one of my good friends who knew a lot more about my situation than anyone reached out to me and told me he didn’t think it would be wise for me to go. It wasn’t that they didn’t want me there and I could definitely meet up with them that night, but he felt like after all I went through it wouldn’t be a good experience. As I thought about it more, I also realized if I wasn’t able to pull my weight, I would be ruining my friends time as well.

I ended up not going and at the end of the day, it was the smart decision.

I have said “yes” to a lot of things over the years, knowing full well it might put my health in jeopardy, because I wanted to be a part of things. I wanted to be like everyone else. I didn’t want to let my disease control me. So, I over-scheduled myself way too often, only to have to either cancel or just fall apart during whatever event I was attending.

It took me a while to really listen to my body and stop feeling a need to please others just because I had to cancel or reschedule plans a lot. I felt so guilty for seeming like an unreliable friend that whenever anyone asked me to do something that seemed fun I almost always said yes.

I would even say “yes” to things that I wasn’t that interested in doing

but felt like I kind of owed someone because they reacted well when I had to bail at the last minute for something else.

I was, and still am to a large degree, a people pleaser. I want the people in my life to be happy. I also find myself saying “yes” to things months in advance thinking I will be perfectly fine by that time, only to realize I was kidding myself.

It is only natural to lean towards being a people pleaser when you live with such an unpredictable chronic illness like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, it is important to understand and listen to your body and mind. If you rest when needed and don’t do everything that is asked of you, you might just have more energy to do the things YOU actually want to do – for the right reasons.

Are you a people pleaser? Did that come more so after your IBD diagnosis? I would love to hear others experiences in the comments below!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    8 months ago

    I can absolutely relate to this. I am a definite people pleaser. I too, even say yes to things because I bailed to something else prior and I feel bad. So I even force myself to do things I don’t want to do just because of that fact alone.

    But like you say, it’s best to take care of yourself and rest, so that when things come up that you actually want to partake in, you can.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

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