In my lifetime people pleasing has probably been the leading cause of: loss of sleep, worry, anxiety, holding myself back, missed opportunities, and lines on my face.
Perhaps from the time I was a little girl I got conditioned to not just want but absolutely need the approval of my father and when I started school, my teachers. Then when I started my first job, my bosses.
Throughout the years I conducted myself being mindful or thinking about what others thought of me. What did they think of how I looked? What I wore? Who I hung out with? What I did for a living? What my house looked like? How my kids behave? What I said? What car I drove? The agonizing list can go on.
Those of you who are prone to anxiety like I am can relate to this I’m sure. In the past few years I decided that I am tired of living this way- for others. What I need to be doing is making sure I am okay with myself. What others think really does not have to have any control or power over me. This is not an easy task, the shedding of people pleasing. We people pleasers of the world seem to have the mandate of “being nice and perfect” firmly entrenched in our psyches.
I believe that if one can lick the people pleasing thing, peace of mind, a happier life, and much more restful nights of sleep are at hand for the taking.
Sound good? Here are some ideas that are helping me. I can’t say I am completely cured of my people pleasing yet but I, at age 44, am much better than I was even a few years ago.
My list of ten people pleasing blasters:
- Realize that you are enough. You are perfectly fine just as you are. There is no need to impress others.
- Work on living YOUR truth. Be your authentic self. This is your life after all. If not now, when?
- Most people are too busy worrying about themselves or about what you are thinking of them. They don’t have time to be thinking about you.
- What other people think is none of your business (ha! I just love that one).
- If you tried your best, can you really please everybody? The resounding answer is, of course, NO! So, why even try?
- Life is like a buffet table. There is a variety out there and not everybody puts the same things on their plates. The people who are not putting you on their plates- well, just bless them. Then look at and give thanks for all the people who do appreciate, love, and support you. You’d better get a second plate for this plate of yours is awful full!
- When all is said and done, what really matters in the end? Only you can answer that. This would be an excellent journal writing exercise.
- I encourage you to get in the habit of getting out of your comfort zone frequently and stretching yourself. Many of us who have people pleasing tendencies are actually pretty introverted even if we appear outgoing. Walk with confidence. Speak with confidence. Try attending a public speaking class such as Toastmasters. You will find your true voice. You are stronger than you think! It is also eye opening to discover that most of us are afraid to put ourselves out there. 99% of us wear our public persona masks. You are not alone.
- At the root of people pleasing is a kind of perfectionism streak which is not healthy for us. Newsflash: you are not perfect. None of us are. And that is okay! Give yourself permission to ease up and be gentle with yourself. You are just fine.
- If you find yourself bogged down in your anxious people pleasing state, ask yourself, “what is the worst that can happen”? If so and so really was offended by something you said or you didn’t get a perfect evaluation at work, does it really matter? Next week, next month, next year, or ten years from now- will it matter?
I will stop here for tonight. This is a subject I feel very strongly about for it is something that has really affected my life. If I can assist in any way to support you in extinguishing people pleasing from your life agenda, then I will be happy.
In peace (and total confidence in myself),
P.S. I hope that you have found value in this article. If not, I bless you but I will not lose sleep over it. Okay? : )