Do you find yourself doing things you really don’t want to do and often saying things other people want to hear
-- not expressing your truth . . .to make other people happy?
If you do, you’re not alone. It’s called people pleasing and it chips away your vitality and leaves you feeling exhausted.
Here are some of the common habits that go along with people pleasing:
- You struggle to say “no”
- Your actions are often based on what “other people think” of you
- You often suffer at the expense of doing a something for someone else
- You struggle to be assertive and voice your own opinions
- You have low self-worth
- You have a burning desire to be liked -- no matter what
- You’re excessively giving/altruistic/philanthropic
- You become emotionally dependent/co-dependent when in relationships/friendships
These are just a few of the BIG ones! Do you struggle with any of these?
Here are a couple example of these in action:
Dara* (not her real name) struggled with ending dates with clarity because she didn’t want to make her dates feel offended, bad or even worse, hurt.
It bothered Dara when dates were odd, rude or inappropriate. Like the time Dara’s date was not only rude, but during an awkward silence actually starting whistling. She stood up to say she was leaving and he asked “why, isn’t this going great?” and instead of telling him why, she just told him she had to go suddenly.
Here are two possibilities of how Dara, could have handled her situation.
- She could have told her date that it was nice meeting him but she doesn’t feel they’re a match.
- She could be even more honest and share that she felt uncomfortable when he was rude and short with the waiter. . . and that’s not okay with her and that she wishes him all the best.
Another client, let’s call her Sarah has difficulty saying no to friends and family who invite her do things even when she knows it’s going to exhaust her and force her to be in catch up mode on things she needs to accomplish.
Here is how Sarah, could have handled her situation.
- Instead of going along with the full day of festivities with her friends, could have said, “you know what? I had a really tough week and I’m behind on everything at home and I really need to take care of things on Sunday so I’m not exhausted and behind on Monday. Would it be okay to take a rain check for 2 weeks from Sunday?”
In the above examples, both women expressed themselves and made personal self care a priority.
Why do we say yes when we really mean no?
We want to be liked. We want to be perceived as a good and giving person. . .at all costs.
So when does giving and being a good person cross the line to people pleasing?
When we’re doing it at our own expense. When we swallow our truth and sell ourselves out.
When we’re people pleasing, we’re really saying,
- “I need you to like me.”
- “You liking me validates my existence.”
- “Who am I to hurt someone’s else’s feelings or turn them down?”
Is that healthy or realistic? No.
While we may know intellectually that people pleasing is detrimental -- on some level we haven’t internalized it.
How do we stop it:
The first step is to acknowledge that you’re people pleasing, not speaking your truth and not having boundaries that work for you.
Realize that when you deliver a clear communication with respect, clarity and honor, you are not in control of how the other person accepts the message. People Pleasers often feel guilty when they speak their truth. You probably feel that you are being selfish or that you have let someone down. This is misplaced guilt. You have done nothing wrong, and that person will most likely find another solution to their problem.
Get connected to the impact -- the price you pay when you don’t speak your truth. When we don’t express our truth, we become exhausted and lose ourselves.
Realize that it’s not possible or realistic to be liked by everyone. And that’s the by design. It’s okay to put yourself first. In fact, you will be a happier, more productive, and more amazing person for it.
The people that love you and care about -- that are healthy will still love you if you say no and/or speak your truth.
How will you express your truth this week?
Can you relate to people-pleasing and what would it take to change it?