Wish you could switch off your people-pleasing toggle? Read this.
Let me start by confessing: I'm a people-pleaser extraordinaire. It's been a dominant tendency in my personality (which most likely stems from my in-built perfectionist too) from day dot I think, so in essence = I'm with you!
And I think to an extent, people-pleasing can make you feel good about yourself. Y'know that selflessness-vibe and helping others out, can give you that same 'ping' of reward that doing something for charity gives you. You're doing good in the world and not being in the least bit selfish. Winner 💪🏻
But there's a line right? In fact, there's a really-hard-to-draw line that all too often gets crossed, and it irritates the tits off you. Mainly because you're rarely able to muster the ladyballs to draw it for people and show them where your boundaries are.
So herein lies the problem: when you feel your life's become solely about people-pleasing others, and never people-pleasing yourself 👉🏻 You lose YOURSELF.
And that's not okay honey, and we're gonna work on weeding that out of ye, as of today 😊 deal?
So my people-pleasing took on a whole new vibe back in my mid-20s. Not only would I not think about dropping plans in a heartbeat if someone asked something of me (it didn't even need to be an urgent request, I just had an insane aversion to saying 'no'), but I also realised some of my major life decisions (like career, relationships, lifestyle, the whole caboodle) were based on pleasing others, rather than pleasing myself. Scary territory lemme tell ye. And none of these were conscious either btw, they were all instinctive choices I made, they just weren't my choices!
So how did I reign things back and find my sense of self again? I'll show you...
Work out where your 'line' is. And try out drawing it for a change.
Feeling like a saintly, selfless soul and feeling like someone with no sense of self left, are two very different situations. If you're the latter and feel your people-pleasing's possibly getting out of hand, awareness of it is the first step to turning this baby around.
Make a conscious effort to note when you next notice that trigger – that circumstance where something being asked of you goes against the grain; maybe it's that particular person or that particular request that fills you with rage. Analyse it and try and work out what it is that's got under your skin here and made you feel like this is asking too much. And then say that, in a manner of words. Try out saying 'no' this time around, and see what happens! You won't know unless you try, right? Which leads me nicely on to my next point...
Realise you don't get to control other people's responses to stuff.
You only get to choose your own. If you say no to them, and they explode [weird on their part imho], but let them explode. They're entitled to feel what they feel, but remember 👉🏻 YOU. ARE. TOO! You've not been born on this earth to just be of service to people and do everything they say. You're entitled to guard your time, guard your sense of self, and guard your life choices, as fiercely as the next person is. Doing this does not make you a bad person.
In fact, what often happens is, the very moment you realise how precious you protecting your sense of self is, the more valuable and present you can be for those close to you that rely on you. It's that whole 'filling up your tank' theory – if you're constantly trying to drive on empty, what use are you to anyone else? You're low on reserves, and could break down at any minute. You need to fill up your tank first, to be in a position to look after anybody else. True dat.
Think about what your pay-off is. And ask if it's worth it.
Repeated patterns of behaviour are repeated because there's a pay-off for you somewhere in the mix. Even if that pay-off ultimately makes you feel like sh*te, there's still a reason why you keep finding yourself in the same situation. It sounds bananas, but there must be something you like about feeling like sh*te!
For example, say your boss has got into this awful habit of asking/expecting you to work late, by lumping 'urgent' work on your lap at 5:55pm. You boil with anger and resentment, but accept to take on this work through gritted teeth. Because you can't say 'no'. You feel awful every begrudging second you've given up of your own time to work on this project, BUT! ☝🏻Deep down, you do like the feeling of being needed, being useful, being the person known for 'they're always there when you really need them'. Right? So this is your pay-off. Ask yourself if it's really worth it.
Remind yourself you're just as important as them.
I touched on this earlier, but I want you to really think about this. 'Their' lives are great because they know they have you available at the drop of a hat, and/or they know they can potentially manipulate your decisions to benefit their own agenda whenever they wish. After all, you're a people-pleaser extraordinaire...but hang on a cotton-picking second. What makes them more special than you? Why do they deserve to have a 'greater' life than you and have the best of you? Surely your own life should have the best of you?
You're the only one who's gonna be with you every second of every day, from the moment you were born, until you go out in blaze of glory. So give the best bits of yourself to yourself. Prioritise your needs first and foremost, and then give what's left to those close to you, not the other way around. You're the only one who's always on your own team. So be on it! And passionately so.
Take off your guilt cardigan.
I chose the garment of cardigan because I think when guilt bears down on you, it has a similar sensation to a really heavy, weighty cardi! 😂 But feel free to swap this out for a garment of your choosing! The point is, feeling guilty for looking out for yourself, or feeling guilt about potentially 'letting people down', is a feeling you have to grab a hold of.
Yes, this feeling may crop up each time you take these mini-empowering steps of saying no-ness, but do you know what honey? You don't have to honour it or act on it. You can choose to take the cardi off and let it go. The more and more you do this, the easier it'll be, and the less guilty you're gonna feel ❤️️
Which actually nicely helps me wrap this up 👉🏻people-pleasing is a habit, and like every other habit we establish in our life – it's a choice that we make, which means it's also a choice we can break. If you really wish you could switch off your people-pleasing-ness, then you absolutely can.
Hope this has helped you in some way sexypants. Always here for ye 💋
The Imperfect Life® Academy is gonna be launching super-soon, with its flagship online program – The Imperfect Life® Designer! 😍 It's absolute gold-dust for anyone wanting help getting some clarity and direction in designing their gorgeous imperfect life, and I cannot WAIT to launch it!