Re-writing the story-July Self-Care Retreat

Are you a people pleaser? I know I tend to be. As I explore new ventures, have the sense of mini badgenervousness/anticipation/fear and wanting so much for others to enjoy it. I was picturing success, and in my head that meant “doing a good job”, getting the approval of others, and me feeling good about that.

I realized that picture is backwards.

Let me back up a minute.

5 or 6 years ago, someone I cared about went gluten-free. So I, a recovering type A+ decided to make a gluten-free traditional round challah bread as a gift for the Jewish New Year. Of course, I needed to do a lot of trial runs—I believe I made it 8 times. Initially, I had it stuck in my head that I was doing it for this person. Somewhere along the way (maybe time 6?) I realized the project was really for me. I wanted to see if I could create this masterpiece, and I loved the experimentation process.

And the day came, I dropped off the challah loaf, and nothing. Not a word. Maybe a bread thief snatched it or who knows what, but I never heard any feedback of any sort. This was typical of this relationship (hence why said relationship no longer exists)

But I realized, even before I dropped it off, that I hadn’t made it for her. I made it for me. I had enjoyed the process of experimentation tremendously, and that was what mattered. I didn’t need to hitch the outcome on someone else’s response, I needed to give myself permission to focus on my part, and let the rest go.

So I’ve started asking the question, why am I doing this? What do I hope to get out of it?

Because seriously, what’s a bigger recipe for resentment than “I’m doing this because…

  • I want you to think I’m smart, talented, special…
  • If I do this I’ll feel like a good enough person
  • I was afraid of saying no or what you’d think of me if I declined
  • I want you to like me

Um, no. My magic 8 ball says that the outcome of that definitely does NOT look good.

It reminds me of this quote from Susan Jeffers: “Remove those ‘I want you to like me’ stickers from your forehead and, instead, place them where they truly will do the most good–on your mirror!”

And so I’ve gotten clearer in my motivations. I’ve needed to separate out what I’m doing for the purposes of my ego, and figure out what I really and truly want to do. I know that if I let that be the litmus test, there’s no such thing as wasted time.

I’ve also come to realize that many of the times I was attempting to be generous were misguided. Gifts with specific expectations (anticipation of approval, gratitude, etc.) are “generosity” with strings. I’m much more peaceful if I’m clear with myself on my intention, and if I’m not waiting for a specific response back. That doesn’t mean that it’s not delightful to get praise, positive feedback, or gobs of “likes”, but for me, giving with an open heart makes it easier to take in the good and be true to myself.

So my goals, for this month and beyond are to make more of my decisions about me—about me doing the best I can, showing up and sharing my passions and gifts, and letting that be my focus.

For me, that’s great self-care.

This is part of the July Self-Care Retreat. Our hostess this week is Iris of My Fairy Angel  (you probably also know her from The Daily Dietribe) and she posted on Letting Go and her 28 day challenge.

A bit more on our retreat:

These posts are to inspire you all to make July a month of reflecting on self-care and the many ways to nourish ourselves.  We encourage everyone to participate in this event in a way that feels appropriate to them, whether through making different choices around food, adding in movement, personal reflection, journaling or other self-care.  If you would like to share your experience with self-care, we would love to include you in the experience, whether you join us for one week or every week. We ask that you link back to this post so that more people can learn about this retreat, and leave a comment for the weekly theme host, too! That way, we can make sure we see your post and that you’re entered into the drawing.

Before we get into the “rules”, know that the main “rule” is to relax, enjoy, take good care of yourself and have fun.

Why join us? Because self-care takes a village, too.

I’d also love to hear from anyone out there who wants to share their self-care goals! We also have a Facebook group and we’d love to have you join us! Just send along a request (it’s listed as a private group.)

As a little added incentive, for each post on your goals and your progress you link back here or one of the other co-hosts, you’ll be entered to receive a $50 gift certificate to  (they are not sponsoring, I just wanted something with healthy gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, etc. options)

Our fantastic group of bloggers:


About Cheryl Harris

Life played a funny trick on me. I've studied nutrition for years, and much to my surprise, found out that I could manage many of my health issues via diet. I've been GF for years, and I've got a bunch of allergies and sensitivities. But it definitely doesn't keep me from cooking, baking and enjoying my food. Thanks for stopping by.
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2 Responses to Re-writing the story-July Self-Care Retreat

  1. carrie says:

    such a good post Cheryl and so true to look at the intentions of WHY we are doing something…and as a fellow (recovering?) people pleaser, I know how hard it is to take criticism or lack there of completely! And like you, once I realized I LIKE doing things for other people just because it makes ME feel good (regardless of whether I get positive feedback — although it’s always good to get the “likes!”), it really changed my perspective on why I do things. And as you said, liberated me from feeling like I had to do things to make others happy.

  2. I completely understand, Carrie! It is liberating.

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