Do you dress for you, or others? Do you say yes to things you don’t want to do?
Hey, you are not alone! Everyone people pleases to a certain extent.
People pleasing has become a bit of an epidemic in our culture. Everywhere you turn people are trying to impress others, be it at work, on social media or at the pub.
They carefully craft a fictional persona they believe will be far more attractive and lovable than their real selves. They adjust their clothing, their body, their behavior, their hobbies, their likes, their dislikes, and the list goes on.
The irony is that the very behavior that people pleasers believe will get them what they want most in the world: love, approval and validation – is precisely what blocks them from getting what they want!
We all have a bit of people-pleaser in us. Some are just further up the spectrum.
What is People Pleasing?
People Pleasing is when you forfeit your authenticity (read: who you *really* are) to be who you think others need/want you to be.
The main goal of this behavior is to obtain the love, approval and validation of others.
People pleasers believe that if they mold themselves into what they think others want – they will ultimately get what they want: love and belonging.
How does one become a People Pleaser?
People pleasing is symptomatic of low self-worth, low confidence, and low self-esteem. When you don’t love you and you’ve convinced yourself that you are not lovable, the only thing left to do is to try and reinvent yourself to win that love that you are so hungry for.
People pleasers usually adopt this behavior as a child because of dysfunctional family dynamics. Whenever we teach our children that they must ‘do’ or ‘be’ a certain way to be lovable, we essentially teach them to become people pleasers.
In contrast, children who are taught and told that they are lovable just by virtue of being born are much less likely to adopt this dysfunctional behavior.
5 Reasons to Stop People Pleasing
1. It forces you out of integrity
Integrity is the quality of being honest.
It’s when your inner matches your outer, and vice versa. It means your behavior and actions match your core values. In order to be able to be in integrity, you have to be really clear about your core values.
What are your core values? What do you value most in life?
My core values are connection, integrity, laughter, kindness, intimacy and health.
This means that I tend to be attracted to people who are deeply honest (with me and with themselves), who love to laugh, who value kindness, and who also value deep connection and intimacy. People who prefer to keep their relationships on the surface tend not to be attracted to me. Serious people can find my silliness annoying (a friend in college once told me very angrily that my silliness was infuriating to her). I have no time for people who like to gossip. And all my close friends have a certain level of self-awareness and are deeply interested in their personal development and growth.
If you’re not clear about what your core values are and what you value most – you will end up molding yourself to other people’s values and not living your own truth.
2. It forces you out of authenticity
To be authentic means to be genuine.
People pleasers are unable to be authentic because their primary focus is to please others. When we believe we need to please others, we mold ourselves into what we believe others need us to be. We pretend to like things we don’t actually like, we do things we don’t like to do, and we say things that are not a reflection of our truth.
This is such a painful place to be because we are essentially lying both to others and to ourselves. We’ve allowed ourselves to become an imposter. We pretend to be someone we are not. And all for what?
People pleasers are seeking love and validation – but the irony is that people pleasing is the single fastest way of blocking real love and validation. How can others truly love us for who we are, when we are too busy pretending to be someone else?
The validation you end up receiving means nothing because they are not validating YOU, they are validating your fake made-up persona.
3. It blocks real and meaningful connection
True intimacy and connection require authenticity, and people pleasers are by definition inauthentic. Human beings are wired for connection, so to deprive yourself of this is very painful.
Connection happens when we let ourselves be fully known and fully seen.
It’s scary territory.
Meaningful connection has nothing to do with appearances and everything to do with depth. So take off your mask and let others see the real you. The real authentic you is always far more lovable than the fake you. Always!
4. It perpetuates your lack of self-worth
Everytime you engage in people pleasing behavior, you give yourself and others the message that you are inadequate and unlovable as you really are.
The root cause of people pleasing is a lack of self-worth. I don’t believe I am lovable as I am, so I must pretend to be someone or something else to make others love and approve of me. This is such a painful place to be and only serves to perpetuate your low self-worth.
In contrast, when you allow yourself to be authentically and unapologetically YOU, you give both the world and yourself the message that YOU LOVE YOU. That you approve of you. And the irony is that it’s this kind of genuine self-confidence and self-love that ends up attracting others.
Confident, fun, interesting people are attracted to confident, fun and interesting people.
Have you ever spent time with a people pleaser? It feels yucky. Compare that to how you feel when you spend time with someone who genuinely loves themselves and takes care of themselves. Which would you rather be?
5. It keeps you in an eternal state of grasping
When you know who you are and love who you are, you are solid within you and don’t need anything from anyone else.
In contrast, when you don’t like who you are, you end up in this perpetual state of grasping for other people’s love and approval.
This is exhausting and very unfulfilling!
How To Be Authentic Instead
1. Drop the act, angel!
You are perfect exactly as you are. You are lovable exactly as you are. If you’re like most people, you picked up people pleasing as a child as a means of survival, and perhaps you’ve forgotten who you really are. So…
2.Take time to get to know you again
What do you like? What do you not like?
How do you like to spend your time? What excites you? What scares you?
What brings you joy? What are your favorite foods? What kind of music do you like? What books appeal to you?
People pleasing can infiltrate every aspect of your self, so it’s important to really dig deep and start over getting to know yourself. It would be helpful to write this all down on paper or in a journal.
Give it time. You won’t get to know yourself overnight. You are a wonderfully complex being that is worth getting to know!
3. Go on a people-pleasing cleanse
For the time being, quit doing nice things for others cold-turkey.
People-pleasers tend to be chronic overgivers – they overgive of their time, their energy, their resources, all because they are so hungry for belonging and love.
So until you can be absolutely certain of your motives – it’s easier to just stop completely. Turn the giving around to you. If you get the impulse to buy something for someone, buy something for you instead. If you get the impulse to give someone a compliment, give yourself a compliment instead.
4. Start saying No
When someone asks you to do something, or to hang out, etc, start a new habit of responding with “Let me think on that and get back to you.”
This will give you time to really stop and process what your true authentic answer is, all by yourself, without the added pressure of having to respond on the spot.
Practice saying no without needing to qualify it. You never need an excuse to say no. Ever. Saying no to an event because you’d much rather be at home by yourself twiddling your thumbs is perfectly acceptable. Why? Because it’s your truth! And that’s all that matters.
You are doing you. You go girl!
5. Become really clear about your core values
Take some time to figure out what they are and write a list with your top 5 or 6. Keep this list where you can see it everyday and regularly ask yourself if your life choices and your behavior are in congruence with this list.
Here’s a list of core values – there are no right or wrong ones, your core values are deeply personal and are what make you, YOU. Also remember that core values aren’t static. They often change as we get older and move into different phases of our lives. This is perfectly normal.
And the list goes on and on and on. Just google “list of core values.”
It’s easy to want to put everything on your list, but it’s a lot more effective and realistic to stick to 6 if possible. Pick the 6 that most speak to you, and are most important to you.
Before anyone else can get to know you and fall in love with you, YOU need to get to know you and fall in love with you. Once you fall in love with you, the people pleasing will naturally drop away because there will be no need to seek something you’ve already found within you!
When you find this freedom, you will shine so bright you will be IRRESISTIBLE.
People-pleasing is an absolute PRISON and it will suck the joy right out of you for as long as you indulge in it. Please don’t sell yourself short. Don’t settle for a mediocre life of people-pleasing when you have everything you need to upgrade to a fulfilling and successful life of authenticity!
You are so worthy of this healing self-love, angel.
It’s at the root of inner peace, joy, happiness and love. Without it, you will forever suffer. So just know that you are worthy of learning how to love you. And that should be your number 1 priority.