Last week I had the privilege of being interviewed by Patricia Raskin, host of Positive Living talk radio. The topic was people pleasing – and more specifically when people pleasing isn’t so pleasing. Here are a few key points from the interview I want to share with you. What is a people pleaser?
- Someone who habitually behaves in ways she thinks will please other people without regard for her own needs, wants, and best interests.
- It is often an unconscious way of being, based on the belief that if we please others then we will get the love and acceptance we are longing for.
- It often stems from an old and outdated strategy to achieve love and belonging.
- But it can backfire and lead to resentment and disconnection unless it comes from an authentic place inside.
Why doesn’t catering to other people’s needs earn us the acceptance and love we crave?
- We can’t earn what is inherently ours. True love and acceptance can’t be earned.
- We earn approval but not love.
- Every time we outsource our need for love and acceptance to someone else we give up a piece of ourselves. Our power.
- Ultimately, if we have love and acceptance for ourselves then we are free to choose how and to whom we give our affection.
- To truly have love and belonging we have to be free to know and express our own needs and wants and to learn how to bring those into our relationship with others. Even if that means disappointing someone else.
An example that brought this home for me, and one that I share in my book, is when I married a man with two children and felt like I had to make up for all that came before and please everyone all the time – doing everything for them yet being afraid to ask for help or set boundaries or say no – afraid if I even burped or farted or asked them to take out the trash I’d be fired from my new family.
8 Steps to Change Your People Pleasing At-All-Cost Ways
- Realize you are worthy and whole and deserving of love and belonging, independent of what you do or how you make others feel.
- Commit to forming an abiding friendship with yourself.
- Pause before reflexively jumping in to please/heal/save someone else.
- Take note of when you’re giving up the power to be yourself, whether implicitly or explicitly, and of how this makes you feel.
- Notice if you feel resentment – a sign you are letting yourself be taken advantage of.
- Remind yourself that you don’t need anybody’s permission to experience your unique emotions, express them or act honestly on them.
- Before wondering how your behavior will affect your relationship with others, ask how it will affect your relationship with yourself.
- Trust that your thoughts, feelings and desires are valid; write them down if need be and practice expressing them aloud with conviction when there is no audience but yourself.
If you want to hear the entire 25-minute interview between Patricia and me, click here.
So dear reader, tell me:
- Can you relate?
- How can you tell if your people pleasing is a virtue or a vice?