Is people pleasing driving you nuts?
Growing up, I felt the pressures from society to become an almighty People Pleaser… always putting others before myself. I was told by my family, teachers, society …. to always “be a good girl” and go out of my way to help others, which in theory, sounds like very admirable qualities.
This came from the best of intentions. In fact, a desire to be kind and help others is an innate quality all humans share.
So why does “people pleasing” create a bad taste in so many people’s mouths, and why does it leave millions of humans with chronic exhaustion and disease?
It comes down to 3 areas…
- Its fake! You may not like hearing this if you’ve been sitting on your martyr throne, but people pleasing is not coming from a genuine place of kindness. It comes from a place of fear; that if you don’t be a ‘good girl’ or ‘good boy’, you’ll be looked down upon or be classed as mean or selfish (beliefs imparted on you when you were much younger). It’s not coming from an authentic place of love or compassion, but a concern that you’re not fulfilling the role you were told to fulfil, and how this might impact your image and how people will treat you in future (i.e., people pleasing is actually filling your own need to be liked, rather than you sincerely want to help others).
- Your own health and happiness has suffered. People pleasing is usually accompanied by a sense of guilt if you put your own oxygen mask on first. If you relax or do something for yourself, you feel lazy, weak or selfish. I’m here to tell you now, GET OVER THAT! Because of this guilt, so many have lost connection with their own needs that they’ve become so unhealthy and so unmotivated to achieve the things they once set out to do; the things that truly matter to them. If you lose connection with that, you will never feel genuinely happy. Remember… by taking care of you, you actually increase your capacity to help others [a lesson I learned the hard way when I was hit with chronic fatigue, not only significantly affecting my own health and quality of life, but all those close to me].
- It creates resentment. Because you always put others’ needs before your own – and because it comes from a place of fear rather than a real desire to help – you now blame the other person for your sacrifice. This not only affects your own wellbeing for obvious reasons; it now creates damaged relationships that are injected with anger, resentment and jealousy.
So this ‘good intention’ has now created fake, resentful, unhealthy and unmotivated people that please others because they ‘have to’ not because they actually care.
Does this sound admirable anymore?
"But what about that kindness and compassion that’s innate in all of us… where did that go?" you ask…
A few months ago I wanted to get complete clarity around this issue for my own peace of mind, and to give my clients a guide for how to ensure they are being genuine rather than fulfilling their people pleaser role. I wanted to provide a framework where people can feel like they are being kind and compassionate, but doing it from a genuine place, while still taking care of their own wellbeing and desires.
Fortunately, this balancing act wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I developed the following litmus test, so that for any upcoming action, it can be used to test whether the desire to help someone is coming from the people pleaser within, or the sincerely kind soul who desires good for all.
PEOPLE PLEASER vs SINCERE KINDNESS LITMUS TEST
|Ask yourself…||People Pleaser’s Voice||Your Sincerely Kind Voice|
|1. Am I doing this out of fear or love?||Primarily Fear||Primarily Love|
|2. Do I expect something in return?||Yes||No|
|3. Am I doing this because I think I should and its expected of me, or because I genuinely want to help?||Acts because they think they ‘should’||Acts because they genuinely want to help|
|4. Am I worried about how I look in front of others, or is the good of all involved (including myself) front of mind?||Mostly concerned with image||Not concerned about image. Prepared to be cruel to be kind if necessary.|
|5. Will I feel resentment afterward or am I genuinely happy to help?||Will most likely feel resentment and blame.||Sincerely happy to help without any resentment.|
If you find that most of your answers are in the People Pleaser’s Voice column, you need to step back and look into why you feel this way, releasing any block or belief that holds you in that role. This will allow you to start taking action from a sincere place in your heart for all areas of your life – relationships, business, health, etc – freeing you up to be your healthiest, happiest self.
If you need help with overcoming the People Pleaser within, contact me for a private consultation to release resentment, become more authentic and improve your health and happiness in the process. Click here or email me at email@example.com to learn more.
To shedding limitations and becoming free!