Nobody wants to be called a people pleaser. Yet everybody people pleases all the time, mostly under the cover of being a “kind, polite and spiritual human being”.
Throughout my life I have been the queen of people pleasing.
You would think I would have learned by now, but I’m still people pleasing every day. Sometimes I don’t dare tell my son to play on his own because I know he will get upset. Sometimes I say yes to things too fast. Sometimes I offer too much help. Sometimes I catch myself having a completely different voice when I talk to certain people. There is this people pleaser woman inside of me who uses different words and a different tone to make other people feel more comfortable. It’s kind of ugly to notice these things about yourself, but like I always say, as soon as you become aware of the things that don’t serve you, they're already on the way out of your system.
The question is: Why do we people please?
We only try to please another person when we don’t see ourselves on the same level as the other. Underneath the pleasing behavior is often the belief, “I’m not good enough.” If you calm the daily noise in your mind you might realize that you have hidden thoughts like “I’m not as powerful, not as intelligent, not as beautiful, not as successful, not as wise, not as important, not as special, etc. This bundle of thoughts creates a general feeling of being inferior to others, which then makes us regard our needs and wants as less important.
When you put someone else’s needs above yours, you end up being frustrated, burnt out or bitter. People pleasing falls under the category of self-sabotaging behavior and can even create physical pain or chronic diseases.
Another reason for giving up your own needs in favour of another is the thought, “People are going to think I’m a b**** if I just say and do what I feel.” This thought comes from a deep-seated fear of being rejected. This makes total sense. If you think, “I’m not good enough”, you have a hard time believing that people like you the way you are and so you have to please them to make them like you.
If we would truly believe that every single person on this planet is our equal, that there is no one who is more or less special than us, we would not try to please anybody. Instead we would listen to our own inner guidance system and we would act according to it and risk not being understood or liked by others.
People pleasing often happens for the sake of creating harmony.
If you think, “I don’t want to tell my best friend/husband/sister/kid that I feel…, because I don’t want to hurt him/her.”, you're choosing to hurt yourself instead. That’s not keeping the harmony. That’s choosing self-denial over self-love. You’re putting someone else’s happiness over yours, which means that you don’t see yourself as equal to the other. This creates an imbalance, which, in turn, creates a hidden disharmony.
Why not tell people what you need and set more boundaries?
They might be a little bit surprised or even upset by your new behavior. In the long run, even if the relationship falls apart, these people will be inspired by you and be able to set more boundaries in their own lives.
Here are 4 tips to practice letting go of people pleasing behavior:
Dare to give yourself permission to be who you are. Stand tall! Trust your feelings and speak your truth!
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