Lindsay Hausch

@lindsay-hausch | contributor
My first memories include the pulsing fear of anxiety. During my first pregnancy I met a new friend called depression. These struggles of mine make me more complicated, and more beautiful. Recently my 2 year old was diagnosed with a rare and chronic disease called Juvenile Dermatomyositis–I want to help her find the beauty in that too. I write to calm my buzzing nerves, I write to speak truth, I write to shine light in the dark places. I write to remind people in their struggle and uncertainty, that they aren’t alone.
Lindsay Hausch

Making Quilts for Children With Juvenile Myositis

How can quilting make someone a hero? That was the question I was challenged to ask when I was introduced through a support group to Sue Carpenter, known by many in our circle as “the quilt lady.” This group wanted others to know about Sue and the way she sews back together the brokenness of this world with her handmade quilts, patched together by stubborn hope and love. I don’t know Sue, but I know a glimpse of one of the monsters she and her family fight on a daily basis. My daughter and hers have the same rare disease called juvenile myositis (JM) — a rare, sometimes life-threatening, autoimmune disease that affects three in one million children each year, causing the body’s immune system to attack its own cells and tissues. I scheduled a time to interview Sue, to hear more about her daughter and her personal mission to quilt, but after one search of “Sue Carpenter” on Facebook, I was sucked into her story, as told by a newsfeed chronicling the last eight years of Sue’s struggle with her daughter’s illness, along with her selfless sacrifice of time, money, patience, and sore fingers in order to make over 300 quilts that she sends in packages across the globe to surprise children struggling with JM. We can feel overwhelmed at the enormity of brokenness and hurt in the world, even in the face of our own life challenges, but Sue teaches us that we can sew our world back together one stitch, one quilt at a time—bringing vivid color to a world whitewashed by doctor’s office and sterile hospital stays. She teaches us that sometimes a smile is enough to keep fighting the good fight. It was a smile that started it all eight years ago when she sent her first quilt to Mason Smedley. Sue describes Mason as “a very special JM boy,” whose “strength, positive attitude, and wisdom was far beyond his years.” Mason lost his battle with juvenile dermatomyositis at 10 years old, but is remembered for his love of life, and an irresistible smile. After Sue saw a picture of Mason with his quilt, it spurred her personal mission to reach more children with JM—by sending a handmade love note in the form of a quilt. She’s collected many more smiles in return. Sue’s family hasn’t had an easy journey. She lost her husband to cancer eight years ago. Her daughter, Kristen has had JM for 14 years and hasn’t reached remission. In addition to JM, Kristen has many other health complications. By day, Sue teaches full-time, by night she sews her heart out, inspired to keep going by her “can’t stop, won’t stop” motto. When I see Sue, I see a “can’t stop, won’t stop” hope, a “can’t stop, won’t stop” fight for light in a world that can easily become hopeless when someone is dealing with health challenges. Sue is an unstoppable force for good, an inspiration, and a reason to smile in the face of life’s hardest challenges. Her quilts dot hospitals across the country, across the globe, leaving a patchwork map of love and encouragement for JM kids as they bravely fight back.

Lindsay Hausch

Making Quilts for Children With Juvenile Myositis

How can quilting make someone a hero? That was the question I was challenged to ask when I was introduced through a support group to Sue Carpenter, known by many in our circle as “the quilt lady.” This group wanted others to know about Sue and the way she sews back together the brokenness of this world with her handmade quilts, patched together by stubborn hope and love. I don’t know Sue, but I know a glimpse of one of the monsters she and her family fight on a daily basis. My daughter and hers have the same rare disease called juvenile myositis (JM) — a rare, sometimes life-threatening, autoimmune disease that affects three in one million children each year, causing the body’s immune system to attack its own cells and tissues. I scheduled a time to interview Sue, to hear more about her daughter and her personal mission to quilt, but after one search of “Sue Carpenter” on Facebook, I was sucked into her story, as told by a newsfeed chronicling the last eight years of Sue’s struggle with her daughter’s illness, along with her selfless sacrifice of time, money, patience, and sore fingers in order to make over 300 quilts that she sends in packages across the globe to surprise children struggling with JM. We can feel overwhelmed at the enormity of brokenness and hurt in the world, even in the face of our own life challenges, but Sue teaches us that we can sew our world back together one stitch, one quilt at a time—bringing vivid color to a world whitewashed by doctor’s office and sterile hospital stays. She teaches us that sometimes a smile is enough to keep fighting the good fight. It was a smile that started it all eight years ago when she sent her first quilt to Mason Smedley. Sue describes Mason as “a very special JM boy,” whose “strength, positive attitude, and wisdom was far beyond his years.” Mason lost his battle with juvenile dermatomyositis at 10 years old, but is remembered for his love of life, and an irresistible smile. After Sue saw a picture of Mason with his quilt, it spurred her personal mission to reach more children with JM—by sending a handmade love note in the form of a quilt. She’s collected many more smiles in return. Sue’s family hasn’t had an easy journey. She lost her husband to cancer eight years ago. Her daughter, Kristen has had JM for 14 years and hasn’t reached remission. In addition to JM, Kristen has many other health complications. By day, Sue teaches full-time, by night she sews her heart out, inspired to keep going by her “can’t stop, won’t stop” motto. When I see Sue, I see a “can’t stop, won’t stop” hope, a “can’t stop, won’t stop” fight for light in a world that can easily become hopeless when someone is dealing with health challenges. Sue is an unstoppable force for good, an inspiration, and a reason to smile in the face of life’s hardest challenges. Her quilts dot hospitals across the country, across the globe, leaving a patchwork map of love and encouragement for JM kids as they bravely fight back.

Lindsay Hausch

The Positives of Parenting a Child With Juvenile Myositis

My daughter is one in a million. We hit the lottery when she was diagnosed with a rare disease called juvenile myositis (JM) at 18 months old. “You could probably count on your hand the number of kids under two years old that have been diagnosed with JM in the last 10 years,” one of her doctors said as he wrung his own hands. Most who have a rare disease would probably agree that it is hard to be one in a million. But what about the good that comes out of it too? For my family, 2017 felt heavy as we grieved this new diagnosis, but in 2018, we want to find the opportunities that come with being one in a million. So, we’ll start the year off right with a list of the five opportunities that come with my daughter’s rare disease: 1. People come to us when they’re struggling. In the last six months, so many of our friends have faced difficult things like cancer, job loss, chronic illness, and loss of loved ones. They see my husband and I as people who have walked this unmarked road of struggle. They have come to me with their pain and uncertainty, and shared their uncensored stories. I know the vulnerability it takes to be honest and real in those hurting places, and I feel so blessed that they feel safe to let me hold their hearts and their hands, even when their life is messy and complicated. 2. We have two new families. I waited in the clustered line at the pharmacy inside our local hospital. I overheard a mom in front of me talking about her son’s infusion, “Do you go to OPI?” I asked referring to the hospital’s outpatient infusion center. “Yes! You too?” she responded smiling warmly. “Every month,” I said pointing to my 2-year-old. “Well then, we’re family, sister!” We are family, forged by needles, and IV’s, tears, and a clenched fist hope. We have family at our infusion center as we fight the evil of disease together. We have family dotted across the country fighting JM together. 3. We get to be a spokesperson for her disease. I started writing for The Mighty after my daughter’s JM diagnosis. My family also became involved with Cure JM, and this year with 300 other JM families, we raised nearly $900,000 dollars for JM research. Because of the IVIG blood infusions my daughter receives each month, we have dozens of friends and family that donate blood regularly because they see the impact its having on our little girl’s life. 4. We know what being rare feels like. When you’re one in a million with a rare disease, you can feel like the unlucky one. But when we see all the ways we have grown, all the things we have learned, and the strength, compassion, and determination of our little girl — one in a million feels like maybe we’ve been chosen for a special purpose. 5. We appreciate the good days. When my daughter runs, or twirls, or plays, when she has a day thats free of pain and filled with laughter, we feel grateful. I’m grateful that being one in a million means we don’t take these precious days for granted. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Getty Images photo via Saklakova

Lindsay Hausch

Mental Health List of Reminders for Christmas and Beyond

It’s the final sprint to Christmas, and I’m standing at the crossroads of anticipation and sadness. I love the festivity Christmas brings. It brings people together in joined anticipation. It gives us a reason to wear pretty clothes, string up lights and hang wreaths. Our hearts beat a little faster at Christmas in preparation and excitement. But what happens the day after Christmas when the paper is torn and the shopping malls rush to disassemble it all? It’s a day we don’t discuss in the days leading to Christmas, a day we put up on a shelf to face when we must, when we’re forced to look at our long list of to do’s reserved for “once Christmas is over,” once again. But before you think I’m a total Christmas buzzkill, I’m getting at something, I promise. I’ve heard the Christmas wishes of the different children in my life. Bree wants a unicorn, Hannah wants a bike, Ava wants an iPhone. I have my own little list of the things I’ll shop for at the after-Christmas sales. Then I think of the famous song by Amy Grant, “My Grown-Up Christmas List.” I would love for those hopes to be fulfilled too. Things like “no more lives torn apart, that wars would never start, that time would heal all hearts.” Yes please to all three. But as grownups we know we live in a world that will always be a bitter blend of beautiful and ugly — that restoration comes in the dark corners and broken bits of life. So I sit here looking at the twinkle of my tree, and a glimmer of hope in my children’s eyes. My heart is full of hope, and love, and faith, and yet a deep ache for something more. Something more that I’ll have to face on the other side of Christmas, but is hushed to sleep with sugar, and wine, and pretty paper. It challenges me to ask how I can take the bright hope of Christmas into the days that follow. It challenges me to think of the things I can unwrap on the 26th, 27th, the 30th, and January, February, July and the long dark days that scatter between. So, this is my Christmas list: 1. Laughter Every Day: Even if it’s laughing at this mess of life, I want to find a reason to laugh every day: kid’s belly laughs, laughs that cramp my stomach and escape in tears at the corner of my eyes. I wish for bowls and bowls of laughter. 2. Heart-to-Heart Conversation: The kind of talk that makes me feel seen as the beautiful mess I am. I wish this year I see more people holding out their hearts so I can cradle them, more people who know me enough to love me through all my aches and victories. More time with the people who already do. 3. Inspiration: Whether it’s books or poems, center pieces or paintings, I want my life to spill creativity, and the hope that it blooms. 4. Song: I’m learning that music lifts my mood and inspires my words. I want to remember that even on the days that feel too somber for song, I need to turn it on, and let the hope crack open my heart. 5. Ordinary Grace : I don’t just want the holy grace I experience in the words of forgiveness from a pastor. I want to share and experience the reckless grace from loving wildly. I want my kids to learn grace as a life, and not just a precious word between the pages of scripture. 6. Messes and Face Time: I want to abandon my chores to read my kids books, to cook impromptu muffins or to leave my house in a moments notice to sit and listen to a friend in crisis. 7. Lovely Contradiction: Too much of my life I’ve wanted to organize things in a way I can understand them. This makes me the ultimate judge and curator of life. I’m learning people are a knot of complication and nuance. That I’m not called to understand or approve, but to love and be loved in a world that doesn’t have enough. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Lead photo via contributor

Lindsay Hausch

Mental Health List of Reminders for Christmas and Beyond

It’s the final sprint to Christmas, and I’m standing at the crossroads of anticipation and sadness. I love the festivity Christmas brings. It brings people together in joined anticipation. It gives us a reason to wear pretty clothes, string up lights and hang wreaths. Our hearts beat a little faster at Christmas in preparation and excitement. But what happens the day after Christmas when the paper is torn and the shopping malls rush to disassemble it all? It’s a day we don’t discuss in the days leading to Christmas, a day we put up on a shelf to face when we must, when we’re forced to look at our long list of to do’s reserved for “once Christmas is over,” once again. But before you think I’m a total Christmas buzzkill, I’m getting at something, I promise. I’ve heard the Christmas wishes of the different children in my life. Bree wants a unicorn, Hannah wants a bike, Ava wants an iPhone. I have my own little list of the things I’ll shop for at the after-Christmas sales. Then I think of the famous song by Amy Grant, “My Grown-Up Christmas List.” I would love for those hopes to be fulfilled too. Things like “no more lives torn apart, that wars would never start, that time would heal all hearts.” Yes please to all three. But as grownups we know we live in a world that will always be a bitter blend of beautiful and ugly — that restoration comes in the dark corners and broken bits of life. So I sit here looking at the twinkle of my tree, and a glimmer of hope in my children’s eyes. My heart is full of hope, and love, and faith, and yet a deep ache for something more. Something more that I’ll have to face on the other side of Christmas, but is hushed to sleep with sugar, and wine, and pretty paper. It challenges me to ask how I can take the bright hope of Christmas into the days that follow. It challenges me to think of the things I can unwrap on the 26th, 27th, the 30th, and January, February, July and the long dark days that scatter between. So, this is my Christmas list: 1. Laughter Every Day: Even if it’s laughing at this mess of life, I want to find a reason to laugh every day: kid’s belly laughs, laughs that cramp my stomach and escape in tears at the corner of my eyes. I wish for bowls and bowls of laughter. 2. Heart-to-Heart Conversation: The kind of talk that makes me feel seen as the beautiful mess I am. I wish this year I see more people holding out their hearts so I can cradle them, more people who know me enough to love me through all my aches and victories. More time with the people who already do. 3. Inspiration: Whether it’s books or poems, center pieces or paintings, I want my life to spill creativity, and the hope that it blooms. 4. Song: I’m learning that music lifts my mood and inspires my words. I want to remember that even on the days that feel too somber for song, I need to turn it on, and let the hope crack open my heart. 5. Ordinary Grace : I don’t just want the holy grace I experience in the words of forgiveness from a pastor. I want to share and experience the reckless grace from loving wildly. I want my kids to learn grace as a life, and not just a precious word between the pages of scripture. 6. Messes and Face Time: I want to abandon my chores to read my kids books, to cook impromptu muffins or to leave my house in a moments notice to sit and listen to a friend in crisis. 7. Lovely Contradiction: Too much of my life I’ve wanted to organize things in a way I can understand them. This makes me the ultimate judge and curator of life. I’m learning people are a knot of complication and nuance. That I’m not called to understand or approve, but to love and be loved in a world that doesn’t have enough. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Lead photo via contributor

Lindsay Hausch

Mental Health List of Reminders for Christmas and Beyond

It’s the final sprint to Christmas, and I’m standing at the crossroads of anticipation and sadness. I love the festivity Christmas brings. It brings people together in joined anticipation. It gives us a reason to wear pretty clothes, string up lights and hang wreaths. Our hearts beat a little faster at Christmas in preparation and excitement. But what happens the day after Christmas when the paper is torn and the shopping malls rush to disassemble it all? It’s a day we don’t discuss in the days leading to Christmas, a day we put up on a shelf to face when we must, when we’re forced to look at our long list of to do’s reserved for “once Christmas is over,” once again. But before you think I’m a total Christmas buzzkill, I’m getting at something, I promise. I’ve heard the Christmas wishes of the different children in my life. Bree wants a unicorn, Hannah wants a bike, Ava wants an iPhone. I have my own little list of the things I’ll shop for at the after-Christmas sales. Then I think of the famous song by Amy Grant, “My Grown-Up Christmas List.” I would love for those hopes to be fulfilled too. Things like “no more lives torn apart, that wars would never start, that time would heal all hearts.” Yes please to all three. But as grownups we know we live in a world that will always be a bitter blend of beautiful and ugly — that restoration comes in the dark corners and broken bits of life. So I sit here looking at the twinkle of my tree, and a glimmer of hope in my children’s eyes. My heart is full of hope, and love, and faith, and yet a deep ache for something more. Something more that I’ll have to face on the other side of Christmas, but is hushed to sleep with sugar, and wine, and pretty paper. It challenges me to ask how I can take the bright hope of Christmas into the days that follow. It challenges me to think of the things I can unwrap on the 26th, 27th, the 30th, and January, February, July and the long dark days that scatter between. So, this is my Christmas list: 1. Laughter Every Day: Even if it’s laughing at this mess of life, I want to find a reason to laugh every day: kid’s belly laughs, laughs that cramp my stomach and escape in tears at the corner of my eyes. I wish for bowls and bowls of laughter. 2. Heart-to-Heart Conversation: The kind of talk that makes me feel seen as the beautiful mess I am. I wish this year I see more people holding out their hearts so I can cradle them, more people who know me enough to love me through all my aches and victories. More time with the people who already do. 3. Inspiration: Whether it’s books or poems, center pieces or paintings, I want my life to spill creativity, and the hope that it blooms. 4. Song: I’m learning that music lifts my mood and inspires my words. I want to remember that even on the days that feel too somber for song, I need to turn it on, and let the hope crack open my heart. 5. Ordinary Grace : I don’t just want the holy grace I experience in the words of forgiveness from a pastor. I want to share and experience the reckless grace from loving wildly. I want my kids to learn grace as a life, and not just a precious word between the pages of scripture. 6. Messes and Face Time: I want to abandon my chores to read my kids books, to cook impromptu muffins or to leave my house in a moments notice to sit and listen to a friend in crisis. 7. Lovely Contradiction: Too much of my life I’ve wanted to organize things in a way I can understand them. This makes me the ultimate judge and curator of life. I’m learning people are a knot of complication and nuance. That I’m not called to understand or approve, but to love and be loved in a world that doesn’t have enough. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Lead photo via contributor

Lindsay Hausch

Finding Joy in the Hospital as I Hold My Child

I’m sitting here with a faint smile across my lips. My daughter is laying across my lap, her hand cupping the perfect point of her chin. We’re resting and waiting as the medicine drip, drip, drips into her veins. Once a month we come to the hospital’s infusion center for her to get a steroid drip and IVIG blood infusion. We get up with sleep still in our eyes and quickly fill our bellies. We load into the car in our comfy clothes and bags of books and blankets and stickers, ready to camp out at the hospital. The day starts early and wraps around dinnertime, sometimes later. The day after, she’s lethargic and cranky, experiencing a “hangover” from the infusion her body so desperately needs. I dread these long days of being tied to an IV pole, but a part of me craves the comfort of them. The comfort that comes in knowing these are days of healing. God speaks to me more loudly as I sit in the hospital and watch the smiling children with their sunken eyes and patchy hair. Elyse gets an IV in her arm instead of needing a port in her chest, like most of the kids. A doctor from Elyse’s hospital stay came in to do her check up. Tears collected in the bottoms of her eyes as she took in how much she’d grown — how Elyse’s once angry red skin now looks smooth and creamy. Today a nurse gave us a Joy Jar. A jar with a rubber ducky, a soft square blanket, a light up ball and thick, bright crayons. A tall, clown-like man came in with polka dot tennis shoes and oversized glasses. He bent down over his long slender legs and played a ukulele, singing a slow folk song. This isn’t like an amusement park where children come for their fill of happiness. But this jar of joy, and this awkwardly sweet clown are brave and beautiful reminders that this place is full of life and hope. As the kids hum along to a melancholy tune, wearing hats embroidered with the letters NEGU (never ever give up), I see a happy that is fought for — like striking a match in a dark and unfamiliar room. I want to sit and listen to every family’s story. Stories like the three sisters who come every two days to hold their baby sister’s hand during chemo; or the grandma who brings her 3-year-old once a week; her sparse short hair is always decorated with a large pink bow. I want to light a candle for each of them like a birthday cake. I want to hold onto their wishes and blow them like dandelions. As I sit now and see the brave stories unfold, I long to be the kind of person who sings their sad songs with them, and offers jars full of joy. They teach me that joy is fought for, and hope is holding the candle of faith during a long, hard wait. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

Lindsay Hausch

When Social Anxiety Makes You a 'People-Pleaser'

I didn’t realize I had a problem with people-pleasing until my late 20s. It’s something that has shaped my personality since childhood, but I didn’t realize it was an actual trait that was a result of my social anxiety. As a kid and teenager, I thought it was normal to feel consumed with keeping the people around you happy. In my early 20s, bending and stretching myself like in a form of self-torturing yoga to keep everyone in my life happy, felt uncomfortable and inconvenient, sometimes painful, but I just thought that was just what it looked like to live in relationship with others. As I got older and as I added more and more titles after my name — like wife, mother, dog owner, homeowner (to name a few) — I discovered it simply wasn’t humanly possible to keep every person I knew happy. I thought I’d gotten better at overcoming the “people-pleasing” monster within me, but more truthfully, I’d gotten better at saying no to other people, for the sake of the other people that mattered most to me. I learned to say “no” to a friend in need, because my husband needed me more, or “no” to that extra volunteer position because it took away precious time from my children. But, what I’m learning, is that I still haven’t shaken the need to people-please, but simply, to put pleasing my most important people, over pleasing “less important” people. I’m realizing that overcoming people-pleasing means getting in touch with something deeper than the needs of others, but the hidden whisper of what I want and need. I could write tips about how to avoid people-pleasing from the place of having it all figured out. But from my last admission, you know I don’t. To be honest, I’m always a bit skeptical of the people who speak from a place of ultimate resolution. I think it’s the constant push and pull of life and struggle that helps us to define and redefine how to live well in the context of constantly growing and changing. So here I am, struggling to find balance, here to share with you the list of my own strategies for overcoming the guilt of people-pleasing, as a result of my social anxiety: 1. If possible, give yourself time to make a decision. When I’m put on the spot, I’m more likely to cave to the pressure of people-pleasing. I’m more likely to think I have superpowers and am capable of more than I actually am. If I tell someone I need to check my calendar, check with my husband or the truth — simply think about it — it gives me the space I need to make the right decision. Sometimes we believe the lie that the right decision should come easily, but I’m learning that coming to the right decision sometimes means wrestling. Sometimes it means waiting. Sometimes still, it means talking it over with someone I trust, as I sift through my anxieties, uncertainties and insecurities to find what is good and true for my life. 2. Don’t just follow your heart. I’ve always thought I’m a very intuitive person, and that I should listen to the way my heart tugs me to come to the right decision. While I believe there is a place for this in my life, I’m learning it’s not always the case. My heart beats for other people. It’s the way I’m wired. And while this is something I’m learning to love about myself, it’s also something I need to keep in check with my brain. When I use my brain as well as my heart, I’m able to follow my passion and love, while using my head to set appropriate boundaries. My heart wants to please, but my head knows I can only do so much — and so it’s the meeting love love and logic I find a healthier model for my relationships. 3. You can change your mind. I learned at a conference this week that change can’t come without humility. I’m learning as I get older that even when I really think about it and try to make the right decision, sometimes I’m wrong. I can say yes to something that feels right in the moment, but ultimately it can turn out to be wrong for me and my family. The people-pleaser in me wants to stay the course, but I’m learning to give myself permission to hit the breaks or change direction. I find that when I go to someone in humility, and explain that I can’t follow through on my commitment, because it isn’t being true to myself, they appreciate my honesty. Yes, Jenny might be disappointed I can’t pick up enough snacks for the whole preschool class. Leah might be bummed that I can’t make it to the party after all. But when I come to them in love and speak the truth, if they’re my friends, then they understand, and ultimately want what’s best for me. 4. Find what makes my heart soft. If my heart feels tied in knots, if my stomach is doing somersaults, and I start getting anxiety migraines, then I know that somewhere my “people-pleasing” monster is attacking me. Maybe my “people-pleasing” monster is making me question the conversation I just had with my friend over lunch. The “people-pleasing” monster is hurling doubts in my direction making me second guess everything I said and how my friend really feels. The “people-pleasing” monster steals my enjoyment away when I’m doing something that I enjoy, wagging its crooked finger at me, saying I should be busy pleasing other people instead. A soft heart means I’m seeking peace and whats true for me. When my heart feels full of the heavy rocks of guilt and doubt, then I know I need to send that “people-pleasing” monster packing. It’s not going to be perfect. Nothing in life ever is. But I’m here fighting the good fight alongside you. So, even if its just today, I hope you can find what’s right for you, a balance between love and logic, and a soft heart, to help you find your way back to yourself. Because isn’t that the journey we’re all on? We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Thinkstock photo via berdsigns

Lindsay Hausch

When Social Anxiety Makes You a 'People-Pleaser'

I didn’t realize I had a problem with people-pleasing until my late 20s. It’s something that has shaped my personality since childhood, but I didn’t realize it was an actual trait that was a result of my social anxiety. As a kid and teenager, I thought it was normal to feel consumed with keeping the people around you happy. In my early 20s, bending and stretching myself like in a form of self-torturing yoga to keep everyone in my life happy, felt uncomfortable and inconvenient, sometimes painful, but I just thought that was just what it looked like to live in relationship with others. As I got older and as I added more and more titles after my name — like wife, mother, dog owner, homeowner (to name a few) — I discovered it simply wasn’t humanly possible to keep every person I knew happy. I thought I’d gotten better at overcoming the “people-pleasing” monster within me, but more truthfully, I’d gotten better at saying no to other people, for the sake of the other people that mattered most to me. I learned to say “no” to a friend in need, because my husband needed me more, or “no” to that extra volunteer position because it took away precious time from my children. But, what I’m learning, is that I still haven’t shaken the need to people-please, but simply, to put pleasing my most important people, over pleasing “less important” people. I’m realizing that overcoming people-pleasing means getting in touch with something deeper than the needs of others, but the hidden whisper of what I want and need. I could write tips about how to avoid people-pleasing from the place of having it all figured out. But from my last admission, you know I don’t. To be honest, I’m always a bit skeptical of the people who speak from a place of ultimate resolution. I think it’s the constant push and pull of life and struggle that helps us to define and redefine how to live well in the context of constantly growing and changing. So here I am, struggling to find balance, here to share with you the list of my own strategies for overcoming the guilt of people-pleasing, as a result of my social anxiety: 1. If possible, give yourself time to make a decision. When I’m put on the spot, I’m more likely to cave to the pressure of people-pleasing. I’m more likely to think I have superpowers and am capable of more than I actually am. If I tell someone I need to check my calendar, check with my husband or the truth — simply think about it — it gives me the space I need to make the right decision. Sometimes we believe the lie that the right decision should come easily, but I’m learning that coming to the right decision sometimes means wrestling. Sometimes it means waiting. Sometimes still, it means talking it over with someone I trust, as I sift through my anxieties, uncertainties and insecurities to find what is good and true for my life. 2. Don’t just follow your heart. I’ve always thought I’m a very intuitive person, and that I should listen to the way my heart tugs me to come to the right decision. While I believe there is a place for this in my life, I’m learning it’s not always the case. My heart beats for other people. It’s the way I’m wired. And while this is something I’m learning to love about myself, it’s also something I need to keep in check with my brain. When I use my brain as well as my heart, I’m able to follow my passion and love, while using my head to set appropriate boundaries. My heart wants to please, but my head knows I can only do so much — and so it’s the meeting love love and logic I find a healthier model for my relationships. 3. You can change your mind. I learned at a conference this week that change can’t come without humility. I’m learning as I get older that even when I really think about it and try to make the right decision, sometimes I’m wrong. I can say yes to something that feels right in the moment, but ultimately it can turn out to be wrong for me and my family. The people-pleaser in me wants to stay the course, but I’m learning to give myself permission to hit the breaks or change direction. I find that when I go to someone in humility, and explain that I can’t follow through on my commitment, because it isn’t being true to myself, they appreciate my honesty. Yes, Jenny might be disappointed I can’t pick up enough snacks for the whole preschool class. Leah might be bummed that I can’t make it to the party after all. But when I come to them in love and speak the truth, if they’re my friends, then they understand, and ultimately want what’s best for me. 4. Find what makes my heart soft. If my heart feels tied in knots, if my stomach is doing somersaults, and I start getting anxiety migraines, then I know that somewhere my “people-pleasing” monster is attacking me. Maybe my “people-pleasing” monster is making me question the conversation I just had with my friend over lunch. The “people-pleasing” monster is hurling doubts in my direction making me second guess everything I said and how my friend really feels. The “people-pleasing” monster steals my enjoyment away when I’m doing something that I enjoy, wagging its crooked finger at me, saying I should be busy pleasing other people instead. A soft heart means I’m seeking peace and whats true for me. When my heart feels full of the heavy rocks of guilt and doubt, then I know I need to send that “people-pleasing” monster packing. It’s not going to be perfect. Nothing in life ever is. But I’m here fighting the good fight alongside you. So, even if its just today, I hope you can find what’s right for you, a balance between love and logic, and a soft heart, to help you find your way back to yourself. Because isn’t that the journey we’re all on? We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Thinkstock photo via berdsigns

Lindsay Hausch

When Social Anxiety Makes You a 'People-Pleaser'

I didn’t realize I had a problem with people-pleasing until my late 20s. It’s something that has shaped my personality since childhood, but I didn’t realize it was an actual trait that was a result of my social anxiety. As a kid and teenager, I thought it was normal to feel consumed with keeping the people around you happy. In my early 20s, bending and stretching myself like in a form of self-torturing yoga to keep everyone in my life happy, felt uncomfortable and inconvenient, sometimes painful, but I just thought that was just what it looked like to live in relationship with others. As I got older and as I added more and more titles after my name — like wife, mother, dog owner, homeowner (to name a few) — I discovered it simply wasn’t humanly possible to keep every person I knew happy. I thought I’d gotten better at overcoming the “people-pleasing” monster within me, but more truthfully, I’d gotten better at saying no to other people, for the sake of the other people that mattered most to me. I learned to say “no” to a friend in need, because my husband needed me more, or “no” to that extra volunteer position because it took away precious time from my children. But, what I’m learning, is that I still haven’t shaken the need to people-please, but simply, to put pleasing my most important people, over pleasing “less important” people. I’m realizing that overcoming people-pleasing means getting in touch with something deeper than the needs of others, but the hidden whisper of what I want and need. I could write tips about how to avoid people-pleasing from the place of having it all figured out. But from my last admission, you know I don’t. To be honest, I’m always a bit skeptical of the people who speak from a place of ultimate resolution. I think it’s the constant push and pull of life and struggle that helps us to define and redefine how to live well in the context of constantly growing and changing. So here I am, struggling to find balance, here to share with you the list of my own strategies for overcoming the guilt of people-pleasing, as a result of my social anxiety: 1. If possible, give yourself time to make a decision. When I’m put on the spot, I’m more likely to cave to the pressure of people-pleasing. I’m more likely to think I have superpowers and am capable of more than I actually am. If I tell someone I need to check my calendar, check with my husband or the truth — simply think about it — it gives me the space I need to make the right decision. Sometimes we believe the lie that the right decision should come easily, but I’m learning that coming to the right decision sometimes means wrestling. Sometimes it means waiting. Sometimes still, it means talking it over with someone I trust, as I sift through my anxieties, uncertainties and insecurities to find what is good and true for my life. 2. Don’t just follow your heart. I’ve always thought I’m a very intuitive person, and that I should listen to the way my heart tugs me to come to the right decision. While I believe there is a place for this in my life, I’m learning it’s not always the case. My heart beats for other people. It’s the way I’m wired. And while this is something I’m learning to love about myself, it’s also something I need to keep in check with my brain. When I use my brain as well as my heart, I’m able to follow my passion and love, while using my head to set appropriate boundaries. My heart wants to please, but my head knows I can only do so much — and so it’s the meeting love love and logic I find a healthier model for my relationships. 3. You can change your mind. I learned at a conference this week that change can’t come without humility. I’m learning as I get older that even when I really think about it and try to make the right decision, sometimes I’m wrong. I can say yes to something that feels right in the moment, but ultimately it can turn out to be wrong for me and my family. The people-pleaser in me wants to stay the course, but I’m learning to give myself permission to hit the breaks or change direction. I find that when I go to someone in humility, and explain that I can’t follow through on my commitment, because it isn’t being true to myself, they appreciate my honesty. Yes, Jenny might be disappointed I can’t pick up enough snacks for the whole preschool class. Leah might be bummed that I can’t make it to the party after all. But when I come to them in love and speak the truth, if they’re my friends, then they understand, and ultimately want what’s best for me. 4. Find what makes my heart soft. If my heart feels tied in knots, if my stomach is doing somersaults, and I start getting anxiety migraines, then I know that somewhere my “people-pleasing” monster is attacking me. Maybe my “people-pleasing” monster is making me question the conversation I just had with my friend over lunch. The “people-pleasing” monster is hurling doubts in my direction making me second guess everything I said and how my friend really feels. The “people-pleasing” monster steals my enjoyment away when I’m doing something that I enjoy, wagging its crooked finger at me, saying I should be busy pleasing other people instead. A soft heart means I’m seeking peace and whats true for me. When my heart feels full of the heavy rocks of guilt and doubt, then I know I need to send that “people-pleasing” monster packing. It’s not going to be perfect. Nothing in life ever is. But I’m here fighting the good fight alongside you. So, even if its just today, I hope you can find what’s right for you, a balance between love and logic, and a soft heart, to help you find your way back to yourself. Because isn’t that the journey we’re all on? We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Thinkstock photo via berdsigns