Stop People-Pleasing and Gain Self-Respect
Do you find yourself people-pleasing when you’d really rather please yourself? Do you wish you could stop? Understanding how and why we seek to please others is an important step in putting an end to this disempowering habit. Being a people-pleaser isn’t “who you are,” it’s a bad habit you acquired. You can break if you want to, just like smoking or swearing.
There are at least two distinct types of people-pleasers. One of them does things for others to earn their place in a relationship. He does big favors, bends over backward, and even buys things for someone he wants to impress. He will often give excessive, unnecessary compliments to win favor and keep others close.
The other consistently adjusts her behavior to appear acceptable. She hides how she feels and thinks to maintain a certain level of approval in her relationships with others. She often pretends to be better or know more than she really does. She will bury her wants and needs believing they are too much for other people to handle.
A lot of people are a mixture of both, whew!
Let’s get one thing straight…if this is you, you’re not actually trying to please others for their sake, you’re doing it to protect your ego from rejection. When you alter your behavior, thoughts, and feelings to elicit a certain response (usually positive) from others, you are people-pleasing and denying your own self-worth at the same time.
You are operating under a false premise that human beings, any of them, must earn their value. And that others can infer value onto you. And this is simply not true. Never, no how, no way!
People-pleasing is a survival strategy you picked up along the way to being grown. In essence, it has very deep roots in feeling rejected, and for many people has become an unconscious way of interacting with others. But, if you are aware that you do it, I encourage you to reconsider the very real damage people-pleasing is doing to the people you love and more importantly what it’s doing to you.
People-pleasing is disrespectful both to you and the person whom you are trying to please. Consider when you don’t tell someone how you feel or what you need. Your fear about their inability to handle what you have to say denies them the opportunity to give you care and consideration. They don’t even have a chance to really love you.
Or when you withhold your thoughts and opinions, you don’t allow others to engage you on an equal level. You create a hierarchy that doesn’t actually exist. Perhaps you’ve been shut down before and have taken a position that it’s better not to think for yourself? Who are you disrespecting now?
When you’re people-pleasing, you’re living a lie. You’re spending all of your valuable time and energy on this planet trying to earn what you already have but refuse to see–your undeniable worth.
I know this may be hard to accept, but the reality of your worth comes from your willingness to take risks to prove that it’s true. No one else can prove it to you. You must prove it yourself through your actions. You can start with learning to please yourself, to honor your thoughts and feelings, and respect your time and energy, giving only when it feels right, and more importantly, good to you.
There is a natural process of determining who are the right people to have in our lives. A large part of that is mutual understanding–being able to assess and respond to authentic behavior. When you deny others the opportunity to see the real you, you’re not giving them any chance to make changes in ways that would allow them to be on a better wavelength with you.
What if it were possible for others to love you as you are? Will you ever find out if you refuse to give your people-pleasing a break?
You don’t have to stop cold-turkey. In fact, that’s nearly impossible because half of the people-pleasing we engage in goes on in our heads as we evaluate what we have to do to “survive” in our relationships with others.
But, becoming aware every time we fall off the wagon of wanting to be authentically sober, we can begin to dismantle our habits and seek to recognize the tendency sooner. We can learn to slow down our interactions, question our motives, and perhaps choose to do or say nothing rather than offer false pretenses.
We can call upon our courage to face our fears of rejection in order to say something brave and true or to take an unpopular stance on an issue. Being honest about what we think and how we feel gives us a huge boost in self-respect. You can feel it almost instantly when you take a stand for yourself or when you walk away from something negative or someone who expects you to jump through hoops.
You can trust that you are whole and valuable already. It doesn’t mean you know everything, or can do everything, or that everyone will like you. They won’t. We all have unique preferences and values. You can’t find your own way if you’re always walking along other people’s paths.
Most importantly you have to want freedom more than you want approval. You have to nourish the deep desire in your soul to be unapologetically you. Otherwise, your ego will care far too much about how you appear and what others think about you. And that will kill your soul’s desire every time.
Get it into your head…no one is perfect nor should they be. There is huge freedom in knowing that you are good enough as is, AND still growing into the person you were always meant to be. You don’t have to prove this to anyone when you know the truth about who you are. You are undoubtedly your soul’s desire.
So take the steps you need to stop people-pleasing so that you can begin respecting yourself and others. Believe me, it is a process, so give yourself time and compassion over it, but don’t give yourself excuses. Life is too valuable to spend it pretending to be something you’re not.
Want to break this habit now? Need help?
Check this out! Freedom Coaching can help you let go of your fears around rejection and gain the self-respect your soul desires.
If you have any experience dealing with people-pleasing from either side of the fence, please share below and we can learn from each other!