Anna-Catherine Kueng ~ Assistant Editor
When I was in high school, I took the Enneagram Personality Test and got the result that I am a Type 4. According to the Enneagram Institute website, a Type 4 personality is known as the “Individualist” and is the “sensitive, introspective type.” However, Type 4’s are also more likely to struggle with pleasing people more than other types.
While I love taking personality tests, and I have memorized all of my loved ones’ Enneagram results (my mom is a 2, my boyfriend is a 5, my sister is a 7, and my dad is a 9), I did not have to read my results to know that I am a people pleaser. From a young age, I have always cared too much about making people happy.
While it is important to be sensitive to others’ needs, there is also a line between pleasing others and losing yourself in the process. I can remember countless times where I knew I did not have time for a certain activity, but I committed to it anyway because I did not want to let down the person who asked me to join.
For example, last year I was interviewed for a summer job in my hometown. I was under the impression that it was part-time, but after the interview, I realized it would be full-time. I did not want to take the job, and I wrestled with what I should do for a week. Eventually, I realized I needed to decline it. I was terrified to call my potential employer, thinking she would be so disappointed in my decision. Much to my surprise and relief, she was completely fine with it and wished me well.
After that nerve-racking week, I realized I am too hard on myself. The truth is, the world does not revolve around me, or you, and if I do have to disappoint somebody by saying no, life will still go on as usual. While you are important and your life matters, it is dangerous to think that you are responsible for the weight of everyone’s lives around you. Furthermore, it is important to realize that if you do not take care of yourself, it will be nearly impossible to take care of anyone else in your life.
I struggled with people pleasing excessively when I started my freshman year of college because I was trying to balance being a good roommate, student, employee, and family member. There were times when I needed to focus on my own problems, but instead I was trying to figure out how to live up to the expectations everyone had for me. That is one of the hardest parts about college for me and it has taken a lot of advice from my loved ones to realize I need to be more forgiving toward myself.
If you struggle with people pleasing like I do, just remember Elizabeth Parker’s quote: “The only thing wrong with trying to please everyone is that there’s at least one person who will always remain unhappy: you.”