Okay, here goes. I am going to admit it.
Yep, it’s true.
I am a recovering people pleaser.
A do-whatever-I-can-to-make-others-happy kinda person. Hey, it sounds kinda sweet. It’s really not a bad thing right? …Right?
Listen up fellow people pleasers, it’s not right.
(Here let me soften the blow)
In our minds, we probably feel like we’re being good people, sweet, caring, and selfless. (Hey, I like to think even though we turn to our need for people pleasing, we’re actually pretty nice people!)
However, behind those wonderful qualities we probably possess, lies something dark. Here lies a deep rooted fear. This fear is driving us to people please our way to safety. This fear kinda sounds like the, “But you have to do it…”, “You know you should…”, “What if they….” and “Maybe then…” recordings that float around in our heads. The ones where I’m sure we can fill in with our own insecurities.
This fear, is the fear of judgment.
Now I’m sure you know what I’m getting at, let me tell you why I said I am a recovering people pleaser and how you can be one, too.
But first, here’s the problem: People pleasing is such a sneaky son-of-a-gun.
It reaffirms itself to us by success and by failure. It swindles us into thinking that it works, and in those cases where it doesn’t — it coerces us into thinking we just weren’t trying hard enough.
Simply put, it usually goes one of two ways:
1. We please them. They’re happy. We’re pretty much happy. — It worked.
2. We don’t please them. They’re disappointed. We’re unhappy. — We just didn’t please them enough.
See what I’m saying here? Sneaky, sneaky.
Okay, on to how we can start this journey of recovery. As always, we’ve linked a buttload of resources for you below. Feel free to zoom there now and start exploring if you like. We’ve also included a list of our 8 favourite ways to say “No”, you can grab your free copy here!
Step One: See through it.
Now that we’re aware of the sneaky-ness of the people pleasing problem, this fear of judgement needs to be exposed. This fear of judgement can lead us into people pleasing by allowing us to think that we can be above judgement if we do everything that is expected and asked of us. It is just simply not true.
With that mind set, fear is governing us. I’m sure that’s not what you want, to be living in fear. So let’s crack open that fear and see it for what it is.
Because, really, whether we please them or not—we’re not really happy if we do it out of fear.
Okay, you get it right?
Step Two: After exposing any fears we may have, we need to clarify our values.
Be really clear with ourselves about whose opinion of us matters, and what we think about ourselves. Because, when we people please, we have taken ourselves out of the situation.
I’m not saying to run ahead and flip the switch the other way, only considering ourselves.
Rather, I’m saying to start considering yourself. You are important.
When faced with one of those dreaded people pleasing situations, please, consider these questions:
Is this something I want to do?
Do I even have time to do it?
Why would I do it?
Would it make me happy?
How would it serve the other person and, more importantly, how would it serve me?
What am I afraid of?
These questions are our life lines. The safety ropes flung into the swirling waters of doubt. (Trying to pull ourselves back to the boat is another quest entirely!) Having clarity on the situation is a really important thing.
Step 3: Articulate our true feelings, own our parts, and maybecompromise.
(I know, I know. It’s daunting! But it’s worth it)
The strength to make the decisions to say “Nope, thanks!” is a lot easier said than done. This is where the recovering part comes in.
Hold strong – Okay, I know it sounds simple and kinda cheesy but really, I mean it. Let’s hang on to our self-respect. It’s important once we’ve answered the questions above to then articulate those answers outwardly. We have to express our needs and draw those lines. (We know this is hard to do, we’ve created a freebie of our favourite ways to say NO, check it out!) Having an amazing support circle is incredibly helpful in this area. People that truly understand, re-evaluate our relationships and became more respectful and appreciative. Leaning on these support systems can strengthen our hold, help us see through our fear and keep those boundaries in place. Remember to consider ourselves, and our happiness.
Understand these people needing us to people please, are really needing more from themselves – Something that we wouldn’t be able to give them, no matter how hard we tried. It’s tough, I know. (We just wanna people please it all away don’t we?) But guess what? We can’t. It’s on them. All that’s on us, is our own journeys. We can own our parts, and nothing more, my friends!
Try compromising – Sometimes there’s those situations where we can’t just cut them out and say no. (Bummer, right?) It’s a tight rope to walk, but if we feel we can walk it, it’s a great way to ease both sides. Keeping clear communication and respect on this one is key. Caving to be the people pleaser is really tempting in these situations, but it’s possible, we can do it.
But, here is the kicker: It’s not all sunshine and roses.
We’ve set up our relationships to expect people pleasing behaviour from us and when we are changing the tides, we will get some push back.
It can be hard to live with people that are unhappy with us for our new boundaries.
It has to be said. The not-so-silver-lining to this is that there are people that…well…let’s just say, they won’t accept it. They’ll get mad, call names, blame and shame. They might try to use guilt and manipulation. (Man, it can be a shocker!)
The people pleaser in us will have a hell of a time kicking up the “Just wasn’t enough, you should try to please!” recordings again and again. Holding strong and keeping our boundaries will be hard.
Here’s what I have to offer you, fellow recovering people pleaser, when the kickers are kicking and saying, “NO”, is harder than usual:
We’ve got your back, not to worry. We’ve made a freebie, just for you, to help make saying the “NO” word a little easier.
Click here to snag our top 8 Ways to Say, “NO” (Fo’ free!)
Give it a shot, set up your boundaries and remember, practice makes perfect.
So listen, recovering people pleasers, you are not alone. I’m hoping that this post can somehow help you start your recovery! Keep in mind, these are short term solutions to get you started, if you’re anything like me, it’s definitely going to be a long term journey. At the very least, I’m hoping it can connect us enough to see the life line being tossed to us amongst the tumultuous waves of people pleasing. Maybe we’ll be able to see it and grab ahold, pull ourselves back to the boat—even with the kickers!
(Heck, I am definitely hoping for that myself!)
Keep in mind every situation is a new chance to try, a new opportunity to give it a shot.
Because, well, let’s face it.
We’ll probably mess up.
We’ll probably give in a time or two, in an awkward, “Umm…no…Huh? Oh…Umm…I mean no…problem!” kind of way. And that’s okay, we’re not perfect.
But as long as we are in the arena trying, being courageous. I’d say that’s enough.
As promised here are some extremely helpful links for you to stretch your mind muscles:
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