People pleasing… what’s the big deal?Monica Myers
Have you ever been caught in the trap of people pleasing? Saying yes just to prevent being judged or to avoid being thought of a bad or mean person?
What is the motivation behind people pleasing behavior?
If you take a step back and examine the feelings behind the behavior, it usually comes from fear, the fear that someone might think less of you and that feeds into the idea that we have influence over what other people think of us.
In reality, people pleasing causes you to feel resentment towards other people and to judge yourself and others. It can cause you to feel dissonance and out of balance.
Wanting one thing and doing another never feels good. It causes us to ignore our true purpose, it prevents us from showing up as our most authentic selves. When we people please, we ignore our essential self, which is the part of the brain that needs to know that we have our own back.
If people pleasing doesn’t feel good, why do we do it?
Avoiding conflict, not wanting to disappoint or not wanting to hurt someone else’s feelings are some of the reasons that we fall into the people pleasing trap. Truly, most of us are very good at people pleasing. It can initially feel good to be agreeable, but after the initial accolades from someone, we then start analyzing our decision and this is when the dissonance kicks in.
Is there a solution to the trap?
Yes!! Learn to have your own back.
- Learn to say no honestly, without regret and for reasons that you like. This can be difficult, but it is so freeing when you are able to do this.
- When you say yes, say yes genuinely and for authentic reasons, not out of resentment, judgment or fear.
I was invited to a small family gathering. I had no desire to go to this family outing and see some of the other family members. But I did want to support the individual that was being honored.
I had 3 choices:
- I could agree to go with a feeling of resentment and fear of hurting someone’s feelings (People Pleasing behavior!).
- I could say, “I love you, but no thank you.” and leave it at that. Which would be true to myself and some of my feelings (no people pleasing here)
- I could decide that I really love the individual being honored and would want to honor her alongside the family member.
By intentionally coming from a place of love rather than resentment and fear, it would change how I showed up, it would improve my overall attitude, and I would have a much better feeling inside.
Serving and honoring yourself and others from a place of love and not from a place of resentment or fear of judgment, definitely feels much better. There is nothing wrong with loving yourself first, for the same reason we don our PPEs before going into a PTs room.
You are enough and other people are enough—no one is more or less than anyone else. Retain ownership of your decisions instead of assigning blame or resentment.
The bottom line, in order to avoid people pleasing, be honest with yourself and say, “I love you, but no.” when that is indicated.
When you do say yes, make sure that it comes from a place of love. Love is always the key for ourselves and those around us.