Caveat: This is not a post bashing people pleasers. Making people happy is a gift + a pleasure. I myself am impassioned to help people feel that they intrinsically matter. Because they do. However, if my actions are not aligned to my own wants/needs the act of pleasing people becomes fertile ground for resentment + hurt. And that’s not good for anyone.
How do we identify a people pleaser? Great question.
A people pleaser is someone who says ‘ummmmm..’ before tepidly responding with a half-honest answer. They’re the kind who are incapable of saying no. They are also renowned to be the nicest + most generous people on Earth.
Well, that’s only half the truth. While people pleasers have hearts of gold, I hate to say it — they have spines of jelly. Let me explain.
People pleasers are fear-striken
People pleasers are afraid of the truth. And what do people typically do when they’re afraid of something? The exact opposite thing.
People pleasers are liars.
But let’s be clear. I don’t believe people pleasers intentionally lie to us. I truly believe we are all just doing our best, but a people pleaser is magnetically drawn to lie because of their fears.
Some people are innately afraid their opinions will be rejected or criticized. Why does that scare us? Because rejection and criticism hurt like a sumb*tch. It’s a biology thing: our bodies are designed to avoid the things that hurt us — emotional pain included.
Criticisms are just one way of saying, ‘this isn’t good enough’, and that hurts. But that’s not the whole story – that’s just where we stop listening. If we listened a little longer we would hear that a criticism is someone telling us, ‘this isn’t good enough for ME’ or ‘this is not to MY liking’.
Really, a criticism is someone stating their personal preference. For a people pleaser, this is the ultimate battle wound because they take things personally.
A people pleaser typically fears three things:
- They fear exposure, which could lead to the pain of being misunderstood or unheard.
- They fear attention, for fear of being ‘too’ seen.
- They fear commitment, more specifically, commitment to their opinions which they may not have the fortitude to defend.
If a people pleaser can’t defend their opinion, they lose external credibility + more painfully, they lose the approval of those around them.
People pleasers seek approval
Don’t we all want to be accepted? The trouble with always seeking external approval is we tend to assume we can accurately read someone’s mind. Assume all you like, but you know what assumptions make: An ASS out of you and me.
— Kimberley Dawn Thurn (@KDandYou_YYC) May 11, 2017
Dude, you’re not peanut butter and you can’t please everyone. When we dilute ourselves, we lose our potency — our strength and we start to taste generic — bland even. A bland person is not one who will turn heads, and you… you were born to turn heads.
People pleasers are manipulative
Ouch. Hits you right in the gut, doesn’t it? It should. Like I said before, people pleasers are liars. I want you to think back to a time where you chose to withhold your unedited answer.
- What was your motive for withholding your truth?
- What was the reaction you were trying to control, mitigate or avoid?
- What was the opinion you hoped to avoid, perhaps for fear of judgement?
Uncomfortable yet? Me too.
A people pleaser will tell us what we want to hear because they want us to like them. That’s selfish, right? It’s also controlling. A people pleaser craves control: control over our reaction, control over what our reaction means, and control over the outcome of our conversation.
Am I doomed to be a people pleaser?
NOPE! You are only doomed to a behaviour if you are vehemently against change. The first step is accepting + receiving the possibility of change.
If you’ve read this far you clearly crave change + growth; or at the very least you’re aware change would benefit you in some way. AmIRight?
Stop people pleasing
Question: Do you do less of what you want because you try to make everyone else happy? Do you feel like you’re missing out? I was like that once.
But not anymore. Now, I do everything I want guiltlessly. No matter the audience, I speak with confidence in my opinions and myself.
(By the way: Doing what I want doesn’t make me selfish! It makes me honest and brave enough to speak out when something doesn’t feel good for me. If I say yes to something that is not aligned with my values, I offer a major disservice to the other person, and ultimately myself. It’s lose-lose.)
You too, can do what YOU want. Effortlessly. Guiltlessly. Shamelessly. Let me show you.
Schedule your complimentary session with me, and let’s perforate those people pleasing ways. Okay, let’s chat!