A lot of us are people pleasers. I usually tend to say yes instead of no, even when I don’t want to. Where I’m from, the USA, we are taught to have three side hustles in addition to our full-time job. We are told to say yes at work, no matter how overburdened we become. We are often pushed to live beyond our means just to impress people we like, and often, people we don’t like. Why do we disregard ourselves for the sake of making other people happy? It’s surreal.
A New Way of Living
I moved to the Netherlands in December 2018. From then on, I had a new mentality: just be happy. I don’t need to please everyone. My health, my happiness, my personal life, are all more important than trying to please the masses. The Netherlands is a country filled with people saying nasty things to your face. They will tell you exactly how it is and what they think. If they don’t like your dress, don’t like your food, don’t want to hang out with you, don’t want to buy something, they will just come out and say it. Although this can be very hard at times, it’s a much better way of living.
People are much happier with what they have and who they surround themselves with. This is because they don’t take other people’s b*llsh*t. They know what makes them happy, and they stick to that way of life. As a newcomer, this was insanely hard for me. I felt like everyone hated me. They didn’t and still don’t. They are just honest and cut straight to the point.
Why Are We Always Trying to People Please?
I find it quite strange that in the US, we always want to impress everyone. How is that ok? We are constantly pressured to take on more work to make more money to buy crap to impress people we don’t like. Why can’t we just live within our means? Spend the money we make and just be happy. You don’t need fancy cars, clothes, homes, gadgets to be happy.
I have an iPhone 7. It glitches sometimes and isn’t the fanciest, most expensive new thing out there, but it works. People ask me a lot, especially in the states, why don’t I get a new phone. Why in the world would I buy a new phone because this one crashes? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. There’s no point in spending money on something that isn’t needed. This also goes for everything else in my life. I won’t buy name brands to impress people. It’s just not happening. My next phone is definitely not going to be an iPhone, because the phones start crashing after one year of use. It’s not worth the money when you look at the cost per use.
The same goes for hanging out with people. I recently told one of my friends that I am ending our friendship. She always made me feel bad about myself. Whenever I’d talk to her, I would end up just being upset. It’s so important that you spend your precious time with the people that value you, make you feel happy, and don’t bring you down. You have only got so much time in this world. Why would you spend it with lousy people?
The Risk of Burning Out Is Real
Saying yes all the time isn’t sustainable. At one point, you’ll just burn out because you don’t take enough time to yourself. You’ll burn out because you’re sick and tired of faking it. You’ll burn out because you won’t have enough money to keep living the way you do. You might even get into debt and pay a lot of money towards credit card interest. Why would you do that to yourself? Think about your future, and focus on what will make you happy in the long term. Think about how you can keep the lifestyle in the long term, instead of just right now.
I am writing this blog post on Friday after spending most of the week with friends. My friend texted me this morning asking to hangout. I told her that I don’t want to. I told her that I am tired and just need a day to chill out at home. And she understood. Your friends should support you, not hate on you. If they don’t understand that you need time to yourself, or you can’t afford something, or you simply just don’t want to spend money on that item, then maybe you should have a serious conversation with them.
Learn to Do What Makes You Happy
It took me a long time to learn to say no. I could work full time and have three side hustles, but that doesn’t make me happy. There’s nothing wrong with working part-time, or full-time at only one job. As long as it pays the bills, that is all that matters. There will always be haters everywhere. You can never please all of them. If I don’t feel like hanging out, I will just come out and say it. Just be honest.
I feel much happier now that I am trying to say no more often. I prioritize my time and my money on people and things that will make me truly happy. Happy for a long time, not just happy for a minute. I am not always perfect at this, but it is something I am striving to become better at. I challenge you to take a long look at your decisions and think before you say yes next time to someone or something. Do you really want to say yes, or are you just doing it to please people?
The featured photo was taken by Natália Korányi.
When is the last time you did something that made you truly happy?