A New Kind of Hangover

I recently discovered a new type of hangover.

There are alcohol-induced hangovers – thankfully I don’t have those anymore since I stopped drinking.

And you may have heard of the “vulnerability hangover.” Maybe this one’s more widely known to introverts, but it’s that “oh, what did I do?!?” feeling you get after sharing something about yourself. I used to get them sometimes after writing an especially personal blog post or sharing something personal in a group.

Your heart feels exposed, and you can’t help but close your eyes just recalling the outpouring of honest, heart-felt expression you spilled out. These are temporary, like all hangovers, but unlike alcohol-induced ones, they fade the more you partake in different vulnerable activities.

Last week, I had a new kind of hangover – I’ll call it the “people pleaser said no hangover – although it can come about when the people pleaser really only said, “You know, I actually would rather prefer if it went this other way…” 

Here are the signs of a “people pleaser said no hangover, from my most recent experience:

Sign #1: Minutes after the “said no” conversation, which could end on the best of terms or the worst of terms – it really doesn’t matter to the people pleaser, you will feel a visceral need to text “I love you.”

Sign #2: You’ll be in the middle of something else hours later and have this flood of “dreading” energy spill all over you as the memory of you asking for what you wanted comes back.

Sign #3: After a few day go by, when it’s all been resolved and it’s totally okay with all parties that the situation was resolved in the way you desired it to go, you’ll say quietly in bed, “I feel like I need to apologize for that whole thing…”

Luckily, I have a wonderful partner who listened to me explain how I was feeling and let me know very kindly, “You know this is all you, right?”

“I know!!!” I said with my head in the pillow.

This is part of the process of unlearning these decades-old “people pleaser” behaviors and feeling the growth pains that go along with all kinds of change.

Becoming aware of our long-held ways of being that may not serve us anymore and choosing to act differently can be uncomfortable as we get started.

But building new practices in our lives to help us expand gradually and in ways that don’t send you into hiding are so important!

If you identify as a “people pleaser” or someone who again and again finds themselves putting other people’s needs over their own, what are some small ways you can start to experiment with expressing your own needs and desires?

This doesn’t mean you become rude or dismissing of others, although you may feel like you are being this way because this is new territory to you. To many people pleasers it is viscerally uncomfortable to ask for what you want! And honestly, you may not even know because of all these years of prioritizing what others wanted.

As you practice clearly expressing what you want and saying no to what you don’t, trust it will get easier. Your “people pleaser said no hangovers will become less intense and less frequent. You’ll get to know yourself in a deeper way, and your relationships will improve because you will be sharing more of who you really are.

If this feels scary or you don’t know how to start, reach out and tell me what you really want. Start small: What do you want for lunch? What do you need in this moment? Start asking and answering yourself. And then, give yourself what you want and need.  

One step at a time. One simple want. One simple need. This is how we build new ways of being that honor and serve our true self.

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