Do you ever find yourself saying “Yes” when what you really want to say is, “No, no, no”? You may be part of a very big club: The People Pleasers. Molly explains on this episode of Weight Loss for Food-Lovers that she never thought of herself as someone who fit the classic mold, until she discovered that in fact she absolutely did. Working with her coach, Molly brought awareness to some well-worn people-pleasing defaults that were not serving her. In fact, people pleasing at the end of the day doesn’t really serve anyone. It distorts who we are and attempts to manipulate the responses of others. It’s a habit, says Molly, that prevents us from stepping into our authentic selves.
On this episode Molly shares tendencies to be on the lookout for, like a reflexive desire to keep the peace, to seek praise or validation or merely to avoid the risk of disappointing expectations. Where does the resulting frustration and resentment go when we show up in ways that are not true to how we actually feel? Very often it winds up going underground, only to re-emerge later as overeating, overdrinking or some other form of numbing behavior.
There are simple techniques that can provide a reset, but first we have to accept that the process might render us uncomfortable at times. In a way, that’s just the point. If we want to live our lives authentically, then we have to open up and allow ourselves to honestly experience the full range of emotions. Discomfort is a healthy sign – a sign that we are fully connecting with ourselves!
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· Molly defines the concept of “people pleasing,” which is a way of changing or editing your own behavior or words in order to make someone else happy.
· If you’re going out of your way to do things solely because they meet other people’s demands or expectations, it’s not only a form of manipulation but also a negation of your own authentic “self.”
· Molly shares a prime example of people-pleasing – and the associated emotions – that occurred when she and her husband purchased some citrus fruit from a roadside vendor during her family’s recent (lovely) Italian vacation.
· A few of the chief motivators behind people pleasing:
o A desire to keep the peace; not rock the boat.
o A desire for approval or validation.
o A desire for appreciation.
o A fear of being rejected if we show up in a way that others don’t like.
· You know that you’re people pleasing if:
o You’re someone who apologizes a lot.
o You accept blame when something isn’t your fault.
o You agree to/with something when in fact your opinion differs.
o You agree to take on tasks that you don’t need or want to take on.
o You give beyond your resources or reasonable boundaries.
· People pleasing can manifest as frustration or resentment in relationships. Why? Because you are not being honest, feel disrespected or taken for granted.
· If you’re projecting a version of yourself that is not true, people start to treat you accordingly. How we show up teaches people how we want to be treated.
· Molly shares another example of people pleasing in action: One of her clients was feeling frustrated and disappointed by a highly critical friend whose opinion she was accepting at face value, even though it wasn’t true. Her feelings as a result went underground and re-surfaced as overeating, a numbing distraction that is ultimately as dishonest as people pleasing is disingenuous.
· Changing the people-pleasing habit may well be uncomfortable, requiring you to be vulnerable, reveal your truth or displease someone whose approval you seek.
· Molly has some suggestions to help you break the people-pleasing habit:
o Start first by telling the truth to yourself about who you are.
o Work towards being honest with those around you, even when it feels scary or like you’re risking rejection.
o Remind yourself of your reasons for making choices that are authentic to who you are.
o Practice being connected to your feelings on a daily basis by bringing consciousness to emotions, identifying and honoring them.
· In order to step out and be comfortable with who you are, you have to be willing to feel and sit with emotions that may be outside your comfort zone.
“People pleasing is a habit that can really hold you back from stepping into the full authenticity of who you are.”
“The problem with people pleasing is that oftentimes it’s completely dishonest. It’s not based on the truth of who you are but on this false idea that you can control how someone else feels.”
“Somebody else’s feelings don’t come from what we do, what we say, how we show up. Somebody else’s feelings come from the thoughts they have about what we do and say and show up.”
“For a people pleaser, disappointing someone else is one of the worst things that can happen because people pleasers are so dependent on somebody else’s validation and approval.”
“The more honestly you show up, the more intimate the relationships you’ll have because you’re being completely truthful and you’re prioritizing yourself over what other people want for you or expect.”
“The more you start acknowledging what’s true about you and what you value, the more likely you are to feel confident in that and not believe somebody else’s opinion of you.”
Links & Resources
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