Why Ditching People-Pleasing Behaviour Is the Best Thing You Can Ever Do For Yourself
Being authentic is much more fun
It’s not your job to keep others happy all the time.
Teach them how to be happy if you wish, but don’t run around trying to please them.
People-pleasing is inauthentic.
Anyone who expects this of you is not worth your time.
Sounds harsh I know, but what if these people happen to be your parents, spouse, siblings, or long-term friends?
I used to be a people-pleaser. Maybe, not all of the time, but I did do it, and it makes me cringe when I think back.
Of course, that was a long time ago.
There is no need for me to do that today because I am now more confident.
I know who I am and I am not afraid of losing people.
If people really love you, they will treat you with respect and not expect you to do things their way all the time.
Let me give you some examples of my old people-pleasing habits
- I would say yes when I’d rather say no
- I would allow people to talk excessively without them listening in return (emotional dumpers)
- I would help in the family even when others would not
- I didn’t ask for support because I feared their anger and rejection
- I would let others manipulate me to keep the peace
- I would give far more than I would receive in a relationship
- I would be available all the time for my friends and loved ones even though they were not available for me
- I would say nothing when I disagreed with someone who had strong opinions
- Even when I was angry, I would say nothing
- I would chase after people who gave crumbs in return
How I stopped people-pleasing
It wasn’t until I noticed how restricted I was in my life that I started to seek answers.
I didn’t even know people-pleasing was a term back then, but I knew I didn’t feel free to say what I wanted to say.
It wasn’t that I didn’t have opinions, I did. It was that they were different from the people in my life, and when I tried to share my point of view it was often ignored or met with anger.
In the end, I would say nothing to keep the peace.
As I learned more, I started to see what little power I had in my life. It was as though I existed simply to comfort others.
I was always ready to assist others in reaching their goals and dreams while neglecting my own.
I wasn’t aware that I was neglecting myself as I was self-sufficient. I took care of my financial needs. I didn’t need anything from anyone.
I also kept my emotions to myself so I could be available for others.
I thought this was how I should live. Always giving to others.
It was ludicrous, but I had been programmed that way and it took me years to unlearn it.
Today, if I see myself people-pleasing, I quickly take note and pull back.
I ask myself:
- Why am I people-pleasing?
- Do I need to do this?
I am not a slave to anyone.
I can then assess the situation and choose if I want to give at that time.
You must be choosing because if you are not choosing, you are usually being manipulated.
What to expect when you stop people-pleasing
When you decide to stop people-pleasing, you will be rejected by some. If the people in your life were used to you always being available for them, helping them when they called or whatever else you did, they won’t like you changing.
They may get angry with you for taking a stand. You must remember though, one of the reasons we became people-pleasers in the first place was to avoid conflict.
We had angry people in our life and if we did not do what they wanted or expected us to do they would get angry. They controlled us with their anger.
So, if you want to stop the people-pleasing, be ready for the backlash.
It is very hurtful at first, as you may have been giving a lot for years, and as soon as you decide to put yourself first for a change, they often turn against you.
They are just angry because they are losing the power they had over you. They were once able to control you, but now you are free and they don’t like this.
Final thoughts —
Life is so much more enjoyable when you are choosing and not being a slave to others.
When you learn to ditch people-pleasing behaviors you will discover a whole new way of existing in the world and I can assure you, it’s a lot more fun!
Thank you for reading.
Orla Kenny, 2022
Below are some other pieces I wrote that I think may help you if you feel you are stuck in a people-pleasing pattern…