"ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WAS HAPPENING, AT AN ALARMING RATE."
This is the phrase I use to describe most of my life; my life before I learned to put my foot down firmly on the brake peddle and just allow myself to STOP. I gave myself permission to stop handing my power over to the burdens, obligations, shoulds, and especially those pesky "but I might regrets". I was living in some serious delusion. I thought I could somehow curate a future without fear, pain or disappointment by filtering all my behavior so that it would affect someone else's perception of me. I wasn't living my life at all, I was living the life that I thought, someone else thought, I should be living. The odds of this type of dynamic working out well or leading to happiness are slim. When I say happiness I mean my happiness AND the happiness of all those people I was contorting myself to try and please. I was busy doing nothing of substance or value to me. I was rush, rush, rushing and getting nowhere. Nothing was happening at an alarming rate.
"PEOPLE PLEASING IS AN INHERENTLY SELFISH ACT."
You are not a "people pleaser" you are a "self-pleaser". I want you to really get this. People pleasing behavior is not generous, kind or beneficial in any way. It is behavior based on the idea of getting people to like you. It's not about pleasing them it's about manipulating them into seeing you in a good light. It's confusing and inauthentic and a total waste of time because - surprise - you can not control anyone. It's a recipe for resentment and misery. So:
"STOP TRYING TO MAKE ANYONE HAPPY."
This is the first thing to stop. You can't do it. It's impossible. You can no more make someone happy than make their heart stop beating. Not yours to control. Keep it simple and focus on what you want to give, provide, offer. Is it love? That's a good start. Then just give love. Love the world silly but don't expect it to make anyone feel any certain way. Love because it feels good to love, Love because it's the right thing to do. Love because generating love is important. Bit don't, for the love of Pete, love because you have expectations of it doing anything.
"STOP DOING ANYTHING THAT MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE CRAP."
....Unless it feels like crap to pick your kid up from school or pay your bills - I mean you gotta do some things that don't feel good but what can you get creative about and really just stop doing.
Example 1: I realized that every morning when I woke up and went into the bathroom to brush my teeth I picked up my old, worn down toothbrush and felt worthless. I would use a toothbrush till it was nothing but a stick before buying myself a new one. Why? I don't know - somewhere along the line, I learned that I was not worthy of a new toothbrush and it stuck. Imagine. This was the way I was starting and ending my day every day. I would look at the toothbrush and a quiet voice behind my eyes would whisper "you suck". No more. Easy to remedy and relatively cheap too. Transformation does not need to cost $7,000 and involve walking across hot coals. It's as cheap as a 3 pack of oral b's stashed in the linen closet and replaced regularly. It doesn't take a lot of money but you do have to pay. Pay attention.
Example 2. When I lived in New York City I realized that I didn't want to go to the grocery store anymore. I would have to stop a few times a week (I didn't have a car and had to schlep bags for quite a few blocks) and spend precious hours shopping. I don't so much mind shopping but it was becoming a nagging pain in the arse. Not to mention the stress of point of sale purchasing that I had constant guilt over. Chocolate and Ice cream issues. I always fantasized about using a grocery delivery service. Cue small voice behind the eyes that says "you can't just DO that. Who do you think you ARE, having groceries delivered, isn't that a little above you?" I gave myself permission to try the service as an experiment. Go figure, it saved time. It saved money because I was now able to order things at a bulk discount. It saved my waistline because I conned myself that I couldn't have ice cream delivered and I so was ordering healthier foods. A chore that had hitherto generated feelings of meh, and bleh, was now a pleasure and felt good.
"DOES THIS NEED TO BE DONE? DOES IT NEED TO BE DONE NOW? DOES IT NEED TO BE DONE BY ME?"
It's worth the nanosecond it takes to run some things we take for granted through this filter. What can I give myself permission to stop? Responsibly, what can I drop, quit, shit-can, delegate? Play with it, life is an experiment. Here's a worksheet if you'd like some guidance. Try it, you might like it.