Disabled and a People Pleaser

Hello, my beloved readers, and welcome back to another blog and another week!

Who here is a people pleaser? It’s perhaps safe to assume that the majority of us are people pleasers, or we worry too much about what other people think of us, and we become someone we aren’t to try and feel ‘accepted’ in our little world.

I, for one, am a major people pleaser. Even from a very young age, the idea of upsetting people or disappointing anyone made me feel ill.

As a kid, you always have to ask your parents/ guardian’s permission to do practically anything. You are a child; they are the adults at the end of the day!

Unfortunately, that need to seek permission or reassurance has stayed with me into my adult years. I will still catch myself on the odd occasion asking for reassurance or permission about practically anything.

Each response, though, is always the same. ‘You are an adult, Rhi, you can do whatever you want’.

This is all good and dandy; however, what happens when you still, at times, feel that little inner child?

I know I have said it a few times now. When you are disabled, you often struggle to feel like you are an adult based on how people perceive disabilities and as a result how they treat you. It’s like a major identity crisis. Therefore, being treated or spoken to like a child will often leave you stuck between feeling like an adult, and still feeling like you need permission for the things you do in your life (hello feeling like a child trapped in a 24-year-old body).

People pleasing or that permission/reassurance often comes from not feeling truly like I can be myself in one way or another. It’s strange because I have always been allowed to be myself in my home.

I feel it comes from society and the perceptions, opinions and biases that come with disability. Sure, perceptions around disability are improving, but there are times when society wants you not to be disabled if you want them to accept you. So you try and do your utmost to be everything society want you to do or be.

You mould yourself to become what society wants you to become. You desperately want to please everyone because the minute you don’t, you are rattled with fear that you won’t be accepted anymore. You constantly want to make sure that any decision you make about YOUR life is cool with those around you. The simple thought of them not being okay with the decisions you make sends you fast-waddling straight to the bathroom, feeling like lunch will make a projectile reappearance.

When you have that deep feeling that you aren’t enough or that your disability is causing those you love pain, you will overcompensate by being a people pleaser. Never stepping a foot out of line, constantly seeking permission, questioning your decisions by asking everyone, including the family pets if you made the right call and still not being sure, being terrified of letting anyone down. Your life can very quicky turn into something that isn’t yours. Its been shaped by the visions, expectations or the permissions you received from others. And for some that vision includes not being disabled. I hate to break it to you but for a vast majority of us disabled humans, our disabilities aren’t going anywhere.

I am afraid that trying to please everyone in life will never end well. Sure, it will work for those you try to please because you keep them happy. But what about you? Have you stopped to wonder if you will indeed be satisfied?

Unfortunately, as disabled people, we are told we aren’t enough in society, that we have to be disabled and something else that is big enough to ‘mask’ our disability. But that is invalidating and ignoring the parts of ourselves that aren’t going away. It’s teaching us that we can’t embrace and accept our disability. And as long as we are keeping everyone else happy with our lives, we ultimately lose our spark.

People pleasing leads to losing who you are, pushing aside your boundaries, your values, and what makes you who you are to keep society happy. Boundaries, Values, and your disability aren’t going anywhere, and trying to please people will only keep making you invisible to yourself.

Not knowing who you are is a horrible way to live. You should be encouraged to be authentically who you are, and equally be embraced for who you are. Not everyone in society will be okay with who you are. And that is okay, too. You can’t force people to accept you or like you. Everyone has boundaries, opinions, and different values that simply just don’t match yours. So it is crucial that you accept you.

Your disability will take plenty from you over time. It is a well-known yet brutal fact. But the one thing it should never take from you is living the life that you want. And by that, I mean being the person you want to be. It takes a lot of courage and guts to do a deep dive into self-discovery land, find the person you are, and slowly chip away at the side of you; that is the definition of a people pleaser.

I am no where close to perfect when it comes to kicking people-pleasing to the curb. There are still times, like I said earlier when I will catch myself worrying too much about what others will think or feel I need to ask for permission. But I have reached a point in my life where I need to stand on my own two feet, and realise that my life is my life, no one else’s. Sure I will always want advice, but asking for permission to live my life, disabled or not, no longer serves me.

Living Abled is about stepping into your truth, finding who you are, accepting what you can’t control, and finding and cultivating a life that is truly for YOU, and for no one else. And that is what I chose to do.

till next week,


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.