People pleasing – we have all been there. Caring what other people think. Adjusting our actions to appease people around us. Shifting our priorities to suit the expectations of other people in our lives. Relatable?
And so we end up doing things we don’t want to do, and spending time with people we don’t want because we want to stay out of the drama. Meanwhile, in reality, we are suppressing our true selves, our desires, and likely finding ourselves surrounded by people who put their own needs first and treat us like a doormat.
Does this sound familiar?
We use people pleasing as a way to avoid the discomfort of receiving disapproval from other people. Until eventually we reach this point where we begin to realize that these behaviours are self destructive.
And so it’s time to work through this sinking feeling of obligation. It’s time to stop people pleasing, and start living on your own terms.
1. Understand the Difference Between Love & People Pleasing
Here’s the thing you need to understand, love is something we get to choose to give away. We don’t require people to do anything in particular, or behave in a certain way… We can just love them for who they are and how they are.
However, what happens is our brain starts to think that we need to love people at our own expense. And whether we realize or not we start to think that if we love someone, they are allowed to treat us however they want, and we will continue to love them because love has no conditions.
But this is simply not true.
There needs to be this understanding that love will never require you to do something at your own expense.
Love starts with you.
If you stay in a situation where you are people pleasing, you are sacrificing yourself and you say you are doing it out of love, you are mistaken.
People pleasing is not love, it is lying to yourself about how you really feel.
We get so worried about how people will react to us saying how we really feel, that we avoid it all together. While this may work in the short term to avoid conflict, it leaves us to have to deal with a much bigger problem in the long term.
So in order to first begin addressing this, we need to…
2. Become Self-Aware
The greatest changes begin when we look at ourselves with interest and respect, instead of judgement and denial.
When we invite our thoughts and feelings into awareness, we have the opportunity to learn from them, instead of just reacting to them, and we increase our awareness of reality by being willing to encounter our personal truths.
We start to tune into what we really want.
It’s about learning that the health of your relationships depends on your willingness to take care of your share and be true to yourself, and although your intentions might be good, they will ultimately hinder the overall effectiveness of your relationships if you can’t see that your behaviours are negatively impacting your life. Regardless of whatever positive [or seemingly positive] impact they may have on the people around you, if you aren’t looking out for your own wellbeing, you aren’t doing anyone any favours.
3. Accept that Avoidance Won’t Lead to a Solution
When problems arise in our lives, we tend to react by immediately trying to get rid of them and the feelings they bring.
This is exactly what happens with people pleasing.
We end up doing everything we can to avoid a negative reaction, including compromising our own love, happiness, and desires. Which in turn, only further fuels the urge to please therefore making things worse for ourselves in the future.
so when it comes to learning how to stop people please, it’s really about facing our self-destructive tendencies head on and doing the tough thing in order to benefit in the long run.
Ultimately the truth is, it’s never too late to live a free life — one that’s finally on your own terms.
Realizing how unhelpful our people pleasing behaviours are to ourselves and those around us, will only help us in learning to let go of the people and places, and activities that we are investing our love, time, and energy into purely out of obligation.
The truth is, you are going to remain imprisoned by these feelings, never able to access your full potential, if you don’t learn to let go.
Once you can start to learn and accept your worth, you will be able to start taking on the project of becoming your best self, and to start to take steps and set examples of loving yourself each and every day.