My thoughts on people pleasing focus on the fact that we end up looping because we think the following:  

When those around me are happy, I’ll be happy. 

But this is a false belief and that leads to a false pleasure.

People pleasing meets an immediate urge to feel better, but comes at our own expense.

We think: “I think “so and so” is not happy with me (and he should be)”, or “’So and So’ needs something so I should…” or “I will disappoint them if I don’t ….”

This leads us to feel nervous.

That nervousness for me is uncomfortable so I buffer with people pleasing.

I never used to see people pleasing as buffering, but I do now. 

Depending on the person or situation, my actions become things like:

  1. Saying yes when I don’t want to.
  2. Talking about things that interest them; keep topics safe. (We’ll talk about what safe means later).
  3. Avoiding them or dread them calling me, talking to me.
  4. Fixing things  
  5. Getting defensive.
  6. Keeping opinions to yourself.

My result is not connection, and I’m not happy! Isn’t that crazy???

Remember that my thought loop starts with the thought that “if ‘so and so’ is happy, I’ll be happy”

It seems like great a thought, right?

We are kind of tricked by our brain that we are being kind. But our natural (unsupervised) brain is not into that. It is into three things:

  • avoiding immediate pain
  • seeking immediate pleasure
  • saving energy now

This sneaky thought leads us to avoid pain in the moment, but we still have to deal with consequences later. Our natural brain does not think about future consequences like:

  • Resentment or passive-agressive behavior because we suppress our emotions.
  • Taking time away from ourselves to do the thing we said “yes” to, because it was easier in the moment.
  • Spending energy on stress because we are constantly “fixing” things
  • Losing connection with ourselves. We really don’t know who we are anymore.
  • Feeling unheard and unseen.
  • Losing respect ourselves, and apologize even when we do nothing wrong.
  • Thinking everything is our fault and go down that spiral of we are never enough.

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

What are we really avoiding when we buffer with people pleasing?

I should ask, what don’t we want to feel? People pleasing is just a technique we get into the habit of doing to avoid feelings like:

  • guilt
  • discomfort
  • restlessness
  • embarrassment
  • shame

Again these feelings come because of what we think we should be doing instead of holding space for ourselves. We have the belief that we should be doing certain things.

  • We should always say yes,
  • We should help whenever we see a “need”.
  • We should lose ourselves,
  • We should put ourselves last,
  • We should have everyone like us.

We want other people to believe we are some pretend version of ourselves.

What’s wrong with being yourself? Love yourself where you are. Know your limitations.

Don’t know where to begin?

More in my next post!

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