"When you're not used to being confident, confidence feels like arrogance.
When you're used to being passive, assertiveness feels like aggression.
When you're not used to getting your needs met, prioritizing yourself feels selfish. Your comfort zone is not a good benchmark." - @cosmicteaholisticshop
A friend shared this quote with me recently and boy did it hit close to home.
I've been a passive people-pleaser most of my life, and while I've spent years working through that in therapy, my limits have been tested as of late.
If you've listened to past podcast episodes, you've heard me mention my 'TikTok' drama. Well... here's what happened.
I posted a video poking holes in the notion that calories are all that matter when it comes to weight loss. I said hormones, trauma, stress, gut health, and a multitude of other factories can have a massive impact on your ability to lose weight.
Well, the people who preach nothing but 'calories in, calories out' did NOT appreciate my video.
In the course of 24 hours, my comment section was flooded with literally 1,000's of men (I say men because with the exception of maybe 2, ALL of the comments were in fact from men), who decided it was appropriate to bully and harass me.
Just to give you an idea, I got called smooth brain, bird nose, dumb bitch, stupid whore. I had people threatening my career.
I had some men come find other channels of mine just to send me direct messages telling me I'm a disgrace to the weight loss community.
I even had one guy book a consultation with me just so he could put in the notes section "You're a dumb whore."
We talk all the time about the fight or flight response... I've never felt it so acutely in my life.
My heart raced all day, I couldn't concentrate, my stomach was in knots, and I could physically feel my shoulders tightening up until it finally turned into a full on headache.
Being a passive people-pleaser was no longer an option. I had to set hard boundaries and take action fast.
And before I go any further, you may be wondering why I didn't just ignore the comments.
Had I ignored them and did nothing, the TikTok algorithm would take all those comments from those types of men to mean that's the audience it should continue showing my videos too.
I would have stayed stuck in TikTok Hell for who knows how long, unable to reach the audience I can actually help with my message.
So, here's what I did and how you can apply these lessons in your own life if you too struggle with people pleasing:
No one deserves to be bullied or to have bullies in their circle. If you find yourself in situations with people who regularly make you feel small, unworthy, or insignificant, this is your permission to remove them from your life.
If there's one thing I learned from being with a narcissist for years, it's that there is no 'winning' with a bully. You will not change their mind, they will not see the light. All arguing does is feed them and take from you.
I had so many men jumping onto other videos asking why I turned off comments, saying I couldn't take the heat, and saying 'no comments, no opinion.' But my TikTok page is my virtual home and no one has a right to be there. It is a privilege to be there. And frankly, my mental health is way more important than some rando person on social media being allowed to share their opinion on my page.
In other words, you do not have to justify your boundaries. In fact, the people who are upset by your boundaries are the ones who benefited from you not having them.
First I created a follow up video calling out to the women of TikTok asking them to like, comment, and share to help me fix the algorithm (almost 300,000 views of that video later, they absolutely did the job).
Then I reached out to a friend to take me out that night to get my mind off all the terrible comments.
I called my sister and asked her for advice on being more visible on social media.
And I reached out to find a virtual assistant who could go through and block all of the bullies so I could stop reading the horrible comments that were still coming through on other videos.
The point is, if you're in trouble, reach out for support, ask for help, and most importantly let people help you.
Here's my truth: that TikTok page exists for one purpose and one purpose only: to help women lose weight with holistic practices that foster a positive relationship with food and themselves. If anyone was commenting who clearly wasn't there for that, I deleted them.
Yes, even other experts who wanted to have 'a dialogue' about my approach (aka argue that I was wrong).
Because my purpose was clear, and if I want to have a discussion about weight loss strategies and what works and what doesn't, I'm not going to do it with a stranger on social media. I'm going to do it with a mentor who I know, trust, and whose opinion I value.
And that's just it, when you are clear about yourself, your goals, and the life you want, you don't need other people's validation or permission. You don't need to do things their way.
All of that to say, setting boundaries is hard, especially as a people pleaser. But you have to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing is more important than anything or anyone else.
And I know that may sound selfish, but when you take care of you, you get to show up for others so much better.
Need help putting yourself first and prioritizing your health and wellbeing? Book a free consultation and let's chat.
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