The People Pleasing Curse…
When I was young, one of my biggest lessons was learning to find my voice and stop ‘people pleasing’. I’ll admit that I really cared (a lot) about what people thought of me. This was to the point where I often swallowed my own thoughts, told ‘white lies’ and occasionally put my actress hat on and pretended I was someone that I wasn’t (on some dates too!). I was afraid of speaking up and having an opinion, saying ‘no’ to things I didn’t particularly want to do and owning who I was, quirks and all. I didn’t believe in myself enough.
It was only by identifying and deeply exploring this ‘need to please,’ that bit-by-bit ‘— and through plenty of practice — I started to find my voice, confidently share my opinion and not worry so much about what other people thought about me.
Through that process, I became more at ease with who I was as a person, what I believed in and began to understand the undeniable truth that I was never going to be liked by everyone…including the men I dated!
I’ll share some powerful tools for moving beyond people pleasing in just a minute, but before I do, let’s talk about seeking approval via the work you do in the world.
This one’s a big one and I know a lot of women (especially entrepreneurs) who get tripped up here, including myself.
When running a business and life in general, we want everything we put out there to be liked, including our work, our images, our style, our branding and our social media updates.
We continuously check our comments and how many ‘likes’ we have.
We worry if something isn’t well received.
We create and create and create.
It can be downright exhausting.
Whilst it is completely understandable that we all want to be perceived positively on both the personal and business front, the challenge is accepting that not everyone is going to like everything about us or what we might choose to put out into the world.
A tough one to get your head around, but in my ‘people pleasing’ tools you’ll learn what is paramount in letting this go…
Owning Worthy & Wonderful You
Step 1. Don’t take things personally
I know this can be difficult to do at times, but don’t take things personally.
If you find yourself questioning why you don’t gel with someone, or you believe someone doesn’t like you or your work, be gentle with yourself…own your worth and with one simple exhalation, let it go babe.
You and only you are in charge of how you feel and what you believe…once you get a handle on this it will be a total game-changer. Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, says…
“As you make a habit of not taking anything personally, you won’t need to place your trust in what others do or say. You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices.”
That’s because what others do and say is based totally on their own feelings, beliefs and opinions. So what they say is not about you … it’s all about them!
How’s that for a truth bomb!
Remind yourself that we are all unique human beings with different personalities, values, beliefs, opinions and ‘baggage’. We’re not meant to gel with everyone and that’s cool.
So do your best to not take things personally or give away your personal power with self-doubt. You are beautiful, unique and special just the way you are. Love and trust all of you.
Every day repeat this mantra:
I am worthy. I am worthy. I am worthy.
Step 2. Find your voice and make peace with saying ‘no’
If you have a habit of people pleasing lovely, it is highly likely that you’re not living fully and authentically. Instead of thinking and worrying about what would make others happy, focus more on what you desire and need for your own happiness.
This doesn’t mean you stop being considerate or generous towards others, not at all, but thinking of your own desires and needs and voicing these to those around you (and taking action), shows strength of character and also displays self-love and self-care.
For example, you could:
- Voice what you’d prefer to do out on a date with someone or with your friends.
- Do something for yourself that you’ve always wanted to but have been afraid someone else will disapprove.
And a side note – the greatest acts of kindness come from those who do them by choice rather than out of fear or guilt.
I want you to know that it’s totally a-ok to say no to people when you feel something doesn’t serve you. It doesn’t mean you’re a selfish person or that you need to make up excuses for saying no. Be honest and explain your reason or keep it simple with a polite, “I’m sorry I’m unable to, but thank you anyway”.
It may feel a bit uncomfortable at first, but you’ll soon realise that most people won’t take offence…it’s really just a story you’ve written in your mind that’s intimately connected with some fear you have (I’ll be diving into fear in the next challenge!).
Of course you can always make compromises with people so it’s a win-win situation for both parties (and there will be times when the needs of others will come first), but sometimes you just need to say no, firmly and politely. Take a stance and own your worth!
Step 3. Taking action…
What are 5 ‘people pleasing’ habits you can let go of right now? They may be a mix of times when you’ve taken things personally, not voiced your opinion / needs or struggled to say ‘no’.
With each of these habits, make a note on what you could do to change it. For example, if one of your habits is not speaking up for yourself in certain situations, what’s an action you could take when this kind of situation arises again? What might you say or do?
MY PEOPLE PLEASING HABITS
This was an excerpt from my upcoming eBook, due for release early January 2015. My eBook is called Falling In Love Again: a toolkit for transforming you, your life and your relationships. This excerpt was from the ‘Relationship with your mind’ section. I’m so excited to share it with you!
Image found here.