People pleasing is heavily criticized and I admit I used to be one of its main critics. I wasn’t always comfortable with my identity and behaviors as a people pleaser and I had a few stints as a ‘reformed people pleaser’ or as some may say a ‘people pleaser in recovery.’ If you are a people a people pleaser: reformed, recovered, in denial, in acceptance or somewhere in between depending on the day or occasion, this will resonate with you.
I want to invite you to reframe and reclaim your identity as a people pleaser. Maybe you’re like me and you want people to be happy and content around you. That might have been because of your upbringing, your natural disposition or a combination of several factors. I happen to believe that there is value in people-pleasing when it is genuinely who you just as non-people pleasers have and offer value being their true selves. I’d like to offer that people pleasers learn great balancing practices from non-people pleasers and vice-versa.
Just as with any style or approach to interacting with others, people pleasing has its enormously impacting benefits as well as challenging downfalls. Here are a few considerations to ensure you stay in the healthy range of who and how you are:
Add ‘you’ to the equation: this means making sure that you are one of the people in your equation and practice of pleasing people. When you’re a part of your own focus on making sure that people are taken care of, supported, included and happy you counteract the self-neglect and missteps that are often associated with people pleasing.
Beware of fear and guilt based motivations: Keep an eye out for feelings of being overwhelmed or paralyzed by a fear of disappointing others, a fear of failure, guilt and/or not trying anything without approval after approval and for good measure – one more approval. So, if we can only get into action after approvals and can’t imagine doing anything if there’s risk of failure it places us in the unhealthy range of people pleasing. Pleasing others does not have to be suffocating or debilitating.
Operate from values and vision: spend the time to make sure that your behaviors flow from what you value and the vision you have for the moment, situation or effort. This will help you operate with intention and in a way that honors your vision. The alternative is to decline into doing whatever we can, however we can to get or avoid a reaction from others. Vision and values keep us in a fulfilling mode and direction instead of in an avoiding mode and direction.
Hear more about people pleasing when you visit the Podcast tab here on shanirichards.com and listen to the Fabulous on Purpose!