People-Pleaser? Here's why you do it, and how to stop.
You say no to drugs — that’s an easy one. …But saying no when someone from church asks you to bring a side salad, and you already have sooo many things to get done at home?
So why do we care so much about what other people think?
You think you more or less know the answer. Right? What would you say is the reason you have a hard time saying no to people? …
Don’t want them to feel _____.
Don’t want them to think that I _______.
I don’t want to seem _______.
It gets so messy here, right?
But at the heart of any decision we make or avoid making, including the decision to say no, is how we think it will make us feel.
Sounds basic, but when it comes down to it, all of us humans want to feel good, as much as possible. It’s, well, …human. And many of us go to great lengths to avoid feeling “negative” emotions… Think about it - opening the pantry to eat because we are frustrated with our kids. Or spending $300 at Target because we do not want to have to go home and see our messy house (and feel…overwhelm?)
(Yes, I am telling my own life’s story here. Yours too? Lol…)
It’s the same with people-pleasing. Why do you not want to tell your friend, or your mom, or whoever, “no”? Because you don’t want to feel what you might feel if they say to you, “Wow, I’m really disappointed in you.” Or if they give you that look of, “Well, you’re definitely not helpful…”
The fact is: we are programmed to try and avoid negative emotion, both within our humanness, as well as by society at large.
How to stop people-pleasing
to stop people-pleasing, just understand these 3 things:
What other people think about your decisions is their business. This sometimes sounds so cold-hearted to sweet people-pleasers, but here is my promise to you: the more you stay in your own business and not other people’s (this includes trying to control or influence their thoughts about you/their opinion of you), the more you can offer the world, your family, and yourself. What other people think of you is none of your business. Those are their thoughts.
You are not responsible for other people’s feelings. This sounds so wrong to so many of us kind-hearted people pleasers. It goes against everything we were taught growing up. But part of being an emotional adult, is taking full responsibility for your own thoughts and your own feelings. And that means also letting go of responsibility of others’ feelings as well. “I don’t want them to feel like I’m not doing my part.” — Your actions do not cause another human to feel a certain way. Their thoughts about your actions are the reason they feel whatever they feel. You are not responsible, ever, in any way, for how other people feel. NOW WAIT. This doesn’t mean we just do whatever we want and not care how it impacts others! But if you want to stop people pleasing, you must decide: I will do things because it’s the type of person I want to be, not because I think it will make someone feel a certain way about me, or about themselves. I cannot control other people’s thoughts and feelings.
People-pleasing is the opposite of authenticity. I know you want to stop people pleasing, that’s why you’ve read the entire article. And I know you’d love to know how to be more authentic. If you book a free mini session with me, I will introduce you to the two tools that will completely cut it out of your life. You’ll get to practice everything you read in this article, with me supervising your brain and drawing some things that your brain does to your attention. You’ll be able to walk away from that session—whether you hire me for more coaching or not— with more understanding of how to change and get new results in this area of your life.
Just remember, the only way to stop people-pleasing, is to realize that you cannot please people. Truly, it is an illusion. You think you can “make” people happy. What makes people happy?
Their own thoughts.
You could do the nicest thing in the world for them, make them breakfast in bed just the way they like it. But if they do not want to be happy, they won’t. It’s true.
So why exhaust yourself striving to do something that you cannot, and are not supposed to do? Their happiness is for them to decide to have and enjoy. It’s always their choice, through the way they think about things. Their thoughts.
Take your energy in stead, and put it into being the BEST version of yourself you can be (hiring a life coach would help!). And not because other people would feel good if you did, but because it feels authentic and true to who you are, and who you want to be.