Take a deep breath, because this may knock you out of your seat and your defenses may rise up big time!
What if I told you that we as women, with all our efforts, all that we do for others, juggling and prioritizing the people who need us in our lives at our expense, may not come from a loving and authentic place and has more to do with our need to be liked and approved of?
And, that because that need is sourced from fear and the need to make others happy in order to be accepted is actually self-serving and selfish?
For years I thought I was anything but selfish. That doing for others all the time made me kind and generous, warm and caring, compassionate and loving. And above all, SELFLESS!! But as time grew on, and my relationships became increasingly unsatisfying and unfulfilling, I had to take a hard look at myself as the common denominator because there was a clear pattern that was showing up all around me.
And it was taking me farther and farther away from the joyful love I desired. The same thing was happening for my clients too!
When we compromise our own needs and desires, take ourselves out of the equation just to be there for others, say yes when we feel a strong no inside, we end up becoming angry and frustrated at why we’re always the one who has to acquiesce, give in, sacrifice and constantly do what others want from us and be who others want us to be. The end result of People Pleasing leaves us feeling empty, dissatisfied, angry and detached from who we are. When we cut off our own self-expression and mold ourselves into what we think others want, we abandon our own values at a core level and it leaves us feeling utterly alone and unsupported, which is actually what we create for ourselves through People Pleasing.
Let me be clear. I am NOT saying we shouldn’t do for others. In fact, I’m suggesting we consider that doing for others will bring us immense joy. That as human beings we are here to serve and to impact each other and the world in a positive way. I am just stressing that WE NEED TO BE FIRST!! WE MUST CHOOSE OURSELVES FIRST! Once we do, we will be in the best position to serve others.
Think of anyone who holds a prestigious position in a company. They have a staff, right? Why do you think they have people under them supporting them? Because they are in a position to make important decisions that can make or break that company and so they need support.
In the same way, as it concerns our families, our communities and the world at large, every decision we make is based on what we deeply believe and how supported we feel. I am referring to the healthy, positive choices we make. Take that support and care away, and we’re exhausted, used up, depleted, energy drained, angry and I don’t think I have to tell you that those qualities are disempowering and negative and will result in toxic relationships with oneself and others and guarantee our choices are not smart ones.
What if we address the fear that sources People Pleasing and see how this behavior is actually selfish, phony, inauthentic and mean?
What if we admit and own that the reason we do things we don’t want to do is because there is a fear that if we don’t we’ll be seen as (FILL IN THE BLANK). All the qualities I’ve mentioned above and more.
One of my friends was telling me a story recently about how she felt compelled to make time for a friend who was undergoing surgery for her back, even though she barely had time to spare and that the favor her friend was asking would involve engaging in physical movements that may in fact, compromise her own back that was just healing from a recent injury.
“Wow!” I said. “You’re willing to risk hurting your own back so that she gets to be careful to not hurt hers?”
My friend looked confused at first but then realized how funny it sounded and how inappropriate and compromising it was to hurt herself even while helping someone else. No one seemed to care about her, including her.
And, as she was telling the story she seemed frustrated and angry about having to do this task that she was volunteering to do and so I asked her why she thought she offered to compromise herself in that way. A moment later, the words rolled out of her mouth.
“I don’t want to appear like a bitchy, mean neighbor that doesn’t want to help out.”
And Voila!! She realized that she cared more about how she would be seen than actually helping her friend out. I know for me too, that I’ve compromised myself too many times in my life for another, thinking I was such a nice person and never once stopped to think where my kindness and compelling need to please others was sourced from. The anger and frustration were my red flags that had me realize I was more afraid of what others thought of me than I was actually kind.
Did you ever stop to wonder why many women feel that once they are seen, for all of who they are, that they won’t be loved after all? Many women go through life holding onto this fear and continuing to People Please to avoid being exposed for all the things they believe deeply that they are. I am referring to all the negative qualities such as selfish, angry, mean, phony and so on.
So, take that breath again.
Because it’s time to realize that we are all qualities whether we like it or not. You spot it, you got it!! We are both selfish and selfless, we are both calm and angry, we are both kind and mean, we are both authentic and phony.
Why not free yourself from hiding the qualities you don’t want people to see, because whether you know it or not, it’s in your energy and it’s visible on your face even when you offer to help out.
If you’re willing to stick with me on this, I promise you will see things clearly and it will set you free.
Isn’t it mean to leave yourself out? Isn’t it mean to help another and then gossip about them to anyone who will listen? Isn’t it mean to disempower others by thinking they need your help to get by? Isn’t it mean to you and others to say YES when you mean NO and then be angry and blame them later? Isn’t it mean that you put so much on your plate you can’t even breathe by the end of the day?
Add selfish, phony and inauthentic to the mix and you’ll understand why People Pleasing won’t bring about the love you want from others because healthy love involves loving yourself first and People Pleasers struggle with this, that’s why they people please and allow others to define and validate them; hence, the number one violation that leads and feeds self-loathing.
The good news, is that once you own what you’re afraid of being, you get to control how much of that quality you actually want to be. Hiding something makes it show up more. Acknowledging something puts it in your awareness and allows you to regulate and manage it.
So, next time when you’re about to say YES when you mean NO and give in to someone at your expense, at the risk of compromising you, remember that even though some may think you’re being mean, or some other negative quality, you’ll know this new choice is more loving all around.
And then you won’t have to waste your energy being mean to you anymore.
And then, your own self-respect will demand their respect for you, you’ll respect them more and then guess what? You will do things for each other from a place of desire instead of need.
Sound good? I promise, you’ll be dancing like no one is watching.