Although I am writing this with somebody else in mind, I have to confess that I’m sometimes struggling myself with the urge of being recognized as a people pleaser. Earlier today I had a talk about an executive coaching assignment I have been doing last year within a company in Norway. It reminded me of a conversation I had back then and it triggered me to write this post.
People pleaser behavior
Most of the people pleasers take years to acknowledge and recognize their pleasing behavior. Shifting away from that pattern of behavior and finding great relief and satisfaction in that change, makes them realize they are way more capable of being independent and successful with a mind of their own.
How would you recognize a People Pleaser?
Another term to describe this pattern is compliance, and that says a lot about the exact behavior. A people pleaser would consistently avoid conflict, seamingly ignoring what they do not agree with, and try to do lots of good deeds. Although people pleasers are generally perceived nice, except for the times of exploded emotion in an attempt to deal with real conflicts, they do not speak their mind openly even though they have a clear opinion or thought. They actually lack (developped a behavior that way) the skill to express well on what they feel or what their needs are. The following is an example of this behavior I have read about, which is so typically recognizable and identifiable. It was the birthday of the people pleaser. In this case it was a woman, and they were celebrating it with a party. Together with a close friend and her husband. After a leisurely brunch, the birthday girl asked: “What would you like to do today?’ They replied that this would be her choice as it was her day to make all the decisions and therefore create the perfect day for herself. She reported to suffer from the bourdon of having to make that decision. It seemed so foreign to her to direct the day according to what she wanted! She seemed to be exhausted by dinner time and she asked for their help to assist in making the decisions! …
Here are 3 reasons to stop being a People Pleaser.
Let me quickly give your 3 benefits of changing that behavior and train yourself in being less op a people pleaser.
You may discover how to negotiate conflict in a constructive, beneficial exchange. How many times is there a sense of an upcoming conflict and you have been unable to address that, let alone engage in the negotiating by expressing your feelings and needs, or move toward a resolution. Life is change, conflict, and compromise. One of the gifts of following the path of resolving a conflict is that we learn to honor ourselves in giving and receiving compassion as we learn what our needs are, what other’s needs are and how we can compassionately work together to meet all the needs of each particular situation. However, there are some basics before any of this can take place. Practice speaking your mind. Find a partner, group or even a therapist to help you with scenarios as you discover the way you can explain your needs. Find out what your needs are. Discover how to express what you feel and before that, practice saying what you feel by either self talk, journalling or find a friend to help. You will learn to speak your mind in a way that can be understood and appreciated and that will go a long way to being more comfortable with inevitable conflict that teaches us so much.
You may discover that your worth does not depend on how many good deeds you do for others at your own expense and personal development. Giving from the heart is an enormous gift to the giver. Giving because of a sense of duty, obligation, or way to a beautiful afterlife is less of a gift to the giver. It is easy to measure the difference in feeling of doing something for someone because of duty or doing something for someone out of love or plain generosity. Connecting to your heart energy is enriching, because the result is a deep relationship with what you most value. This may be helpful to see what, how and why your giving will be translated in your contributions to the outside world.
Third and last!
You may discover how to say ‘NO’ and not feel guilty or feel the need to offer an extensive explanation about your answer. A story that illustrates and gives you permission to practice saying ‘NO’ is about a school staff member who telephoned a Mom to ask her to make cupcakes for a school event the following day. There are people who will consistently and ‘happily’ take care of those requests. The Mom in this instance decided to say ‘NO’. The world did not fall apart, and the person who had asked the favor, went on to the next name on her list and did find someone to do the task. I’m not saying that ‘NO’ is the obvious and only reply. There is a difference to always saying ‘YES’, and to making a decision whether to say ‘YES’ or ‘NO’. Another way to look at this is to know by saying ‘YES’, what are you saying ‘NO’ to? So take the example of the cupcakes. By saying ‘YES’, there may have been less time for attending a child’s soccer game, reading a bedtime story, or relaxing time with a spouse after a hectic day, or just sitting down and reading this actual blog post. Knowing that you have the option of saying ‘NO’ is very freeing and healthy.
There are plenty of resources available about People Pleasers. You may be glad you explored this pattern in yourself.
I will post an update in the near future, because I know I have some material available to read about peoples personality I am able to share with you. So look out for a future post.
Have a conscious day!