There is a lot of information out there on people pleasing, and it's all really good stuff but what I want to talk about today is the root of people pleasing and how it comes from a fear of confrontation or making someone angry. When we people please for a long time, we lose sight of our authenticity, our own likes, dislikes and preferences. Ultimately, people pleasing comes from a deep desire of NEEDING to be liked. Somewhere in our past we might have been told that we aren't liked or accepted and appreciated for WHO we are but WHAT we can do for others. Because of this, we try to prove our worth by being very accommodating. In doing so, we don't have a grasp on what we actually prefer, because we spend so much time doing and saying what we think other people want to hear.
First of all, let me say this, you are a wonderfully unique person, with no one else on the planet exactly like YOU! No one else thinks, feels or acts exactly like you do, no one else has the preferences you do. No one else has the unique talents that you have. No one before you ever did, no one after you ever will. This is really important for all of us to remember. We are beautifully different from each other for a REASON! Embrace your uniqueness, your gifts and talents, even your flaws. Don't hide those beautiful qualities that you have!
Secondly, I get as well as anyone can wanting to avoid confrontation. If I'm in public and I hear other people arguing it makes my heart race and I feel panicky. I don't like raised voices, I don't like debating, I detest shouting or yelling. I can't even raise my voice high enough for the deli counter assistance to hear me when they call my number, seriously.
But changing my response or behavior to a friend or coworker in order to avoid confrontation doesn't even make sense when you think about it. No mentally healthy person should be getting mad at me if I say or do something that doesn't align with what they want. I think we've build this people pleasing behavior up in our heads so much that it's not even rational.
If we have people in our life who are going to actually get mad at us for simply stating our preferences, that is a cue that the problem lies not with us but with our choices of the people in our lives.
And if the people in our lives are actually going to stop liking us, or are going to like us LESS because we have preferences that don't go along easily with what they want, well then, let them go, those aren't healthy relationships. We need to surround ourselves with healthy adults who can accept us (and all of our preferences) exactly as we are.
The first step is to get back in touch with what you like and dislike. Ask yourself some of these questions and have fun thinking about the answers.
What are your favorite: movies, books, cars, season, music, exercise, TV show, food, dessert, simple pleasure, restaurants, fashion style, exercise, vacation spot, flowers, colors, snacks, candy, type of house, type of decor, weather.
We all might need this reminder every once in a while - you have a right to your preferences. You are worthy of receiving love and appreciation, period. You don't have to do anything to earn anyone's love or acceptance. You being YOU is enough. You get to be your beautiful authentic self and you get to appreciate those things about yourself that make you unique!
You don't have to live your life saying and doing things that you think other people want to hear, it's false, and if you live that way, you aren't being true to yourself. You will never be truly happy if you spend your life hiding the real you. I give you permission to be fully yourself and to LOVE and appreciate all of the qualities that make you uniquely YOU!