I recorded a podcast episode on this exact subject (click here to listen) but I also wanted to share the main points in a blog too in case anyone preferred to read rather than listen so here goes!
Today I am going to be talking about something that a lot of women struggle with, something I see in almost all of my clients and something I used to massively struggle with and that is PEOPLE PLEASING.
In the past I was a professional people pleaser. If it was an exam I would get an A* because I was so good at it!
What is people pleasing?
People pleasing is this idea of wearing different masks depending on who you are around. People pleasers act differently depending on who they are around and will morph into different versions of themselves to suit their environment (like a chameleon).
What are the signs of people pleasing?
Being a chameleon.
The need to be liked by everyone.
Never put themselves first and putting the needs of others above their own (people pleasers tend to avoid self-care because they feel guilty when they look after themselves).
Agreeing with everyone (even when they disagree with what has been said).
Dull themselves down to be palatable to everyone and never cause conflict.
Always say yes to everything (even when they want to say no!)
Apologise a lot (even when unnecessary).
Don't want to burden others with their problems.
Feel they should always listen to others and help with their problems.
Feel they should always be the upbeat and happy one.
If someone they love is upset they feel it is their responsibility to 'fix' them.
Where does people pleasing come from?
(note: these people pleasing habits are not your fault, especially if it is a result of trauma in childhood but it is your responsibility to work through them so you can be free)
A response to trauma - especially if this trauma was experienced in childhood. People pleasing can often be a coping mechanism or 'survival mode' because of something that happened in childhood. For example, if you had an abusive parent as a child and you had to make sure that you 'kept them happy' by saying the right things (pleasing them), this can manifest in adulthood as people pleasing through fear of reliving this experience and response.
Childhood - who did you crave love from most as a child, your Mum or Dad? Who/what did you have to become in order to receive this love? This can spark the beginning of people pleasing because it creates the limiting belief that you are not enough as you are so you need to become something else in order to be liked/loved. This creates the story that in order to receive love, you have to betray yourself (in the form of being inauthentic). So because you are constantly betraying yourself in order to be liked/loved (which is a survival method) you damage your self-esteem and confidence. So going into adulthood we carry through this habit and story that in order to 'fit in' and be liked we must be something that we are not and please people.
Wanting to avoid 'bad feelings' - for example, the fear of rejection, fear of judgement, fear of disappointment, loneliness, guilt.
Wanting something in return - this is people pleasing on more of a conscious level. For example, sucking up to your boss at work and 'pleasing' them in order to get a promotion.
Lack of self-esteem - this will result in looking for external validation to build a sense of self-worth to 'fill the void'.
How to overcome people pleasing:
Do things that make you feel happy and that you're good at!
Keep a list of the things you like about yourself!
Set boundaries and be around people that respect those boundaries.
Practice saying no without feeling guilty.
Stop apologising for yourself.
Identify your values and make decisions in alignment with your values.
Improve your self-awareness (how do you feel when you say yes or no to someone? how is people pleasing holding you back?)
Ask for help! (Challenge: ask for help once a day for a week!)
Delay your response
To get the most value from this blog I highly recommend you listen to the full podcast episode where I go into juicy detail and help you work through it. You can listen here!
If you feel people pleasing is something you really struggle with and it is taking over your life (you are not living life on YOUR terms) then send me an email and lets chat about how we can work together to overcome this habit and reclaim your power!