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Four Simple Ways to Stop People Pleasing

Uncategorized Apr 08, 2020

People pleasing. 

In a society where we are trained to put others first, coupled with our innate desire to love others and see them thrive, it's an easy trap to fall into. 

Many of us have been people pleasing for so long, we don't even recognize that we are doing it. And we because of this we can disguise it as many things. 

  • Loving someone
  • Doing what's in their best interest
  • Helping them because...

These are just a few of the ways we disguise our people pleasing. 

Being kind, generous, loving and supportive to others is great. When we people please though, we aren't really doing any of this. We are taking a specific action to elicit a specific behavior. Honestly, and this is never popular when I say it, people pleasing is a form of manipulation. 

When we people please, we rob ourselves and others of a genuine experience and exchange. 

We constantly need to recreate the situations that give us the fulfillment we seek and we are never satisfied. It becomes exhausting chasing fulfillment outside of ourselves. To really support and help others we, and they, will benefit more we we give from a place of fullness. That kind of giving never leaves us depleted or chasing a specific outcome.

So how do you stop if you don't even know that you are doing it, or even worse, how do you stop if you do know you are doing it and you can't seem to help yourself? 

Luckily the same steps will work for both. 

  1. Pause and ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing? What is your real intention? Of course we all want to help others and feel good about it. There's nothing wrong with that. But if you are helping them so that they will feel a certain way about you, then you are people pleasing. When you can give without being attached to the outcome, whether they embrace your help, thank you or reciprocate, then you are giving for the sake of giving. This step requires you to be very honest with yourself about what your intention is. Don't be hard on yourself, it can take a while to really embrace and actively use this step. 
  2. STOP putting everyone else first. Yep I said it. Stop it. Stop sacrificing yourself and putting yourself last. When we don't claim our own desires and preferences, we can easily fall into people pleasing. Why? Because we aren't feeling fulfilled internally. 
  3. START doing one thing everyday that is gratifying to you. We train ourselves into putting our own needs last. Feeling gratified and fulfilled are very real needs. And they are ok. We aren't being greedy if we want to enjoy ourselves for the sake of enjoying ourselves. In our fast paced society, where we are constantly receiving contradictory messages, it can be seem like we are being selfish if we take an hour, or even 5 minutes to ourselves. Start slow. Build in one nourishing thing a day and work from there. A favorite of mine is drinking my coffee. Just drinking my coffee, not doing anything else, being totally in the moment and the experience. What's yours? 
  4. Let go of the need to be understood, accepted, etc. I'll be the first to agree, this is no easy task. But it's the most powerful antidote to people pleasing. So where do you start on this one? Forgiveness. Of yourself. My favorite way to start this is to do a dump.
    • Set a timer for 5 minutes.
    • Let your brain rip. Write down every ugly thought in your head. YES. Write it all down on paper. 
    • STOP. You have to stop when the timer goes off. Otherwise it can turn ugly and it will defeat the purpose. 
    • Now, go through your list, pick the top one that jumps out at you. Work you way through the list in this way. Using your intuition for which one is next.
    • And forgive yourself for topic. Here's a personal example: I forgive myself for having an uneven mouth that droops on one side. I appreciate that I have a working mouth that shares many smiles and love with the world. I appreciate my mouth and all the kind words it's shared with others over the years. 

People pleasing, although a common phenomena, doesn't truly help anyone. I hope these tools will help you, in a gently and loving way, release your patterns of people pleasing so that the world can experience the best of you. 




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