Reading a post on Zoe London's blog the other day, with her in a power suit talking about empowerment got me really motivated to wear my own power suit! And originally this post was just going to be me talking about this suit, about a slow-fashion faux pas, in the fact that I got this suit tailored 2 years ago in Vietnam and I have worn it the grand total of twice (including taking these photos). But that story might have to wait, as I had inspiration for something different, that I felt was important to talk about, for myself and for others out there reading. It's about putting yourself first, and ditching harmful people pleasing behaviours.
I'm a people pleaser at heart, everyone who meets me can probably tell this fact within the first 5 minutes of meeting me, and it's something that apparently I was just born with. My mum has always worried about my ultra people-pleasing nature and always tells me a story from when I was about 3 or 4, I was on holiday with my mum, her friend, and her friend's sons, we always went on holiday together, and I came crying to my mum about how one of them wanted to do one thing with me and the other wanted to do something else and I didn't know what to do because I didn't mind what I did I just wanted to be able to make them both happy. She tried to reassure me that neither one would mind that much which I chose and I could just pick whichever I wanted to do, but this didn't seem of any reassurance because I just kept saying that I wanted to do whatever made them both happy.

Suit - Tailored in Hoi An, vietnam
Shoes - second hand
Top - Old

17 years later and I really haven't changed that much. I'm still here trying to make everyone happy, which is sadly an impossible task. I think it's partly why I feel the need to spend so much time alone, to actually recharge, I have to look out for myself if I'm the only one there. But as soon as I'm back around people it's like "hey please approve of my existence, thanks".

Now with all of my established and healthy friendship this approval seeking thing isn't really an issue; I don't feel like I need to constantly impress them. They're my friends, I already have their approval, they accept me as I am. I value their opinion, a lot, and will ask for advice and take on board what they say, y'know all the normal friend stuff, but I'm generally fine just existing as myself and don't feel the need out of my way to try and impress them or "please" them constantly. I still want to do whatever I can to try and help them be happy, but it's never usually at the expense of my own happiness, my friends are very understanding, it all works fine. But I'm not like this with everyone.

It makes sense that I go out of my way to please and seek the approval of people I've just met, I want to make a good impression and I also want a proper chance to get to know them to the all smiling all extrovert looking Izzy comes out. This isn't really a big issue, I think everyone does this a little bit, just to different degrees.  But the problem comes when it's past the point of first knowing someone that I'm still there seeking their approval, trying to impress them.

Around some people it's like there's a switch in my head and as soon as I'm near them I have this urge that I cannot shake. It makes me feel a bit sick when I know I'm going out of my way to constantly get approval from and try to impress people around me, especially when I know I'm doing at the expense of my own emotional and mental health. But even though I am watching myself do it, knowing it's not remotely healthy, and feeling incredibly pathetic, I can't seem to stop. No matter how many times I say "today is for me, I'm not living today trying to please you" as soon as I'm around them it's like "oh goodbye me looking after my own mental health I'm totally put on this earth just to please everyone else, yes, validate me!".

Now you can argue either way whether it's my fault of the other person's fault I feel and act like this. In all honesty, for me personally, I think it's a little bit of both. It's my need to make everyone else happy coupled with something - I don't know what- in someone else  that just makes me feel like I'm never doing enough. But this is where the term healthy friendship, or more generally healthy relationship, is important.
In any relationship if you're constantly feeling the need for their approval, or for them to validate your existence, it is not a healthy one. Whether this feeling is caused by you, them, or a mix of the two, it's not healthy for either of you to keep going like this.

It might be that your mental health is really bad and so you do feel the need for people to constantly validate you, that ain't healthy and you should get help to get out of those thought patterns. It could be that they're manipulative, they put you down or gaslight you and give you the idea that you're never good enough for them, in which case they need to stop their behaviour and get help to not treat other people that way. Maybe both of you are in a rough patch and you're just feeding off each-other really negatively, in which case work through it or take a break until you're both ok.  Or it could just be that your personalities don't work well together, and that's just sometimes a shitty fact of life.

 I've constantly tried to get approval from people that have been bitches to me, for no other reason than the fact they just wanted to be a bitch to me, not cool. I've had friendships with people where I always felt like I had to show them a version of me that was "better", not cool. I've tried and tried to just show teachers who constantly put me down that I am smart, that I am good at their subject, I can do more, not cool. None of these relationships were healthy. I didn't need to keep trying to prove myself. I should have been enough.
But now I'm saying enough is enough, I can stop this constant need for approval from certain people, though I know it's not going to be easy. It will however, be worth it because it's something I've been struggling with an awful lot recently and has left me generally emotionally exhausted and very insecure.

So I've decided to set a little mantra for myself. Now when I get that horrible feeling, the urge I can't seem to stop, I just take a step back and breath.  Breath in "I do not exist for the approval of others". Breath out "I wasn't put on the earth to impress everyone". And say it as many times as I need, multiple times of the day,  because this needs to be something that I live by. To try and slowly unlearn this really unhealthy habit

My new mantra
Breath in "I do not exist for the approval of others".Breath out "I wasn't put on the earth to impress others"

I'm also going to try and somewhat limit the amount of time I spend around people that make me feel like this, because I don't need to be constantly around people who make me feel like I'm not enough. That's not a healthy way to exist. And I'm going to continue to work on my own mental heatlh, I seek the most approval from people when I feel the most insecure which often just ends in me feeling even worse so I'm looking after myself to further look after myself.

 I think it will help all of my relationships in the long run. It means I can focus more on cultivating friendships with people that are healthy, and also look out for my own mental well being at the same time.

I'm not here for other people's approval, I don't have to impress anyone, I'm never going to please everyone, and that's OK.

The power suit turned out to be appropriate for the post, maybe I will wear it more often.