What comes to mind when you think of the term "People Pleaser"?
I honestly enjoyed being a people pleaser, I thought it was an admirable quality. I mean, isn't it great that I care so much about other people? Isn't it great that I want other people to be happy? That I want to fulfill their needs and desires?
It can be great in some ways. Caring about other people is definitely a great quality. But when we put aside our desires and needs for someone else's or when we censor what we want to make someone else happy, we have lost any positive factors.
What is people pleasing?
Saying "Yes" when you want to say "No"
Putting self-care at the bottom of your to-do list
Fearing what people will think of you if you are honest
Having difficulty sharing your opinion
Wanting to be liked regardless of your values
Having a hard time complimenting yourself
Avoiding any type of conflict
You might be thinking, what's so bad about all this? It might sound a little weird, but people actually want you to be you. They want you to trust them enough to be honest, to value yourself and your time. If they see that you are consistently letting people run all over you, they will disrespect you and quite honestly, take advantage of you.
My people pleasing skills were at an all-time high in my severe codependency days. Me? Go on a walk? Me? Get a babysitter to go out with the girls? I would've called you nuts. I couldn't let go of the idea that I would let people down if I took care of myself. What would happen if I let my guard down for 5 minutes? I bet you can guess what happened. I got burnt out, bitter, and quite pissed off. Not many people respected me but it wasn't because of them, it was because of me. I allowed them to walk all over me.
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So how did I overcome my people pleasing habit?
I started to ask myself what I wanted. Before reacting, I took a minute to consider if what was being asked was something I really wanted to do and if it aligned with my values. If it was, then it was a yes. If not, simply no.
I started focusing on giving myself some time for self-care. It could mean a night out with the girls, reading a book, some Netflix time, a Hallmark movie (LOVE them!), a walk with the dog, or a solo run. What fills you up is something you get to discover and decide. Just be sure to prioritize your self care. We often think we are taking time away from others when we work on ourselves, but really what happens is we give them the C-version of us. Allowing ourselves this time can give them the A or B+ version of us. The quality of our time expands because we are ready for it, not exhausted and showing up simply to give someone our physical presence. People need our whole presence and that requires our own self-care. The quality matters MORE than the quantity of time.
Give yourself when it feels right. If you truly want to help someone, then by all means do it! Just be sure you really mean "yes" when it is your answer. Do it for kindness, not validation.
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