We all know how hard it can be to break free from people pleasing but I’m here to tell you that it is possible and it will make a huge difference in your life!
We discuss where people pleasing comes from, and why this default behaviour that brings so many negative impacts, is such a problem for us as adults.
How to be a people pleasing detective and figure out if this past-its-used-by-date pattern is actually causing more problems in your business and life than you realise.
I discuss the thoughts and feelings, including resentment, to look out for. And then what to do about them to free yourself from this pattern that is most definitely diluting your presence, power, and momentum!
So come and join me for an inspiring and eye-opening episode. 🙌
Full Episode Transcript
Hello my friend. How are you? This episode is on people pleasing, how to interrupt, people pleasing, and what’s the most important thing you can do for your business and your. I’ve just this week returned from a festival and Music workshops, healing all the good things, amazing food, sunshine, amazing company, wonderful friends to share it with.
And the subject of people pleasing was part of our conversation over the weekend. and it came up really interestingly in one piece where there was just an unconscious moment where one of my friends realized that by apologizing for something that. Nobody else expected her to do that. She hadn’t done that.
It was part of her people pleasing patterns or behaviors. And so it was so interesting, like to see it, you know, to see it come front and center for my friend and, and then also of course to recognize it in myself. Because as women, we have been socialized, raised conditioned to be people pleasers. That’s just what it meant to be raised in the seventies, eighties, nineties, probably and beyond.
As a young girl, be a good girl. Be a nice. and yeah, we’re all grown up now. We’re way all grown up. We’re adult women and yet these patterns are still showing up. But the thing with the people pleasing patterns, the Triple P, is that they’re so very, very often unconscious. . And so what I wanna do with this podcast is bring some more awareness to our patterns of people pleasing to how it might be showing up for you.
And I also wanna highlight, you know, how this is likely to be negatively impacting you as a business owner. The power and the presence you bring to your business and the momentum that you are capable of, it’s very likely that there’s some people pleasing stuff going on underneath the surface that is hindering your momentum, your capacity, and your reach.
So let’s get into it. Hey, so let’s go for a definition first. So a dictionary definition around people pleasing, a person who has an emotional need to please others, often at the expense of her own needs or desires.
And then of course we look the underlying need to make others happy is a normal part of being human. And the desire to put others’ needs before our own means that, you know, We are good parents. We don’t abandon our children, that we stay connected in relationships, that we can have reasonably harmonious connections and relationships.
And this also equals security and safety in our closest relationships. So we don’t want to get rid of people pleasing entirely. There might be an argument for that. Maybe that’s just my conditioning speaking. But I do think that there’s, you know, there’s a case for, of course, for kindness, for being caring, but I just see so many women around me, myself included, intuitive, caring, healing type of people, business owners.
and we are doing just way too much people pleasing, or to put it a little better, people pleasing is impeding strong, powerful actions and connections for you.
And so as women, of course, we are way more conditioned to people please. I think that’s a given. and because how we do one thing in the micro of our life, it will show up in so many different areas of our lives. Because how we do one thing is how we do everything. So it’s really helpful to examine this right now.
So Gabor Mate, who is a physician and addiction expert, therapist author, he’s written and spoken extensively around the impact of people pleasing on our emotional and physical health, and. According to people, pleasing often arises from a deep-seated need for acceptance and validation, which can ultimately lead to a range of negative out outcomes.
And he suggests that people pleasing can be particularly harmful for people who have had experiences of childhood trauma and or neglect. Because it serves as a coping mechanism to a, avoid feelings of rejection or abandonment. And so over time this behavior becomes so deeply ingrained in us and it leads to many negative outcomes including chronic stress burnout.
and of course addiction. So that’s his very specific perspective of it that is shared by other experts and I think does go a long way to inform how we can understand people pleasing, how we can start to unwind it in ourselves and put it in its place because. When we stop people pleasing, we start to unwind that behavior.
We are not necessarily letting go of kindness, of compassion of care that’s still there, but I would call people. Pleasing is not that people pleasing is not those things. People pleasing is about overcompensating.
Because we are seeking approval, validation, acceptance, and to be really clear about those pieces that I just mentioned, as a child, they’re crucial for our emotional survival and wellbeing and many times physical wellbeing. And so we don’t want to give ourselves another layer of criticism just because we start to recognize people pleasing within ourselves.
So remember, bring kindness along with you on this journey. When you do start to recognize your own people pleasing behavior. Be kind to yourself about it. Yeah.
And there’s, there’s so much to say about this subject, but I want to cover, cover some basic points and some basic ways that you can start to unwind those patterns.
And the problem with people pleasing is that we prioritize others’ needs over our own and that can feel like it works in the short term because you get that person’s approval, but in the long term, your needs aren’t being met. So that fuels resentment and it fuels chronic stress and burnout.
And ultimately, Gabor Mate suggests that overcoming people pleasing requires a deeper understanding of our own emotional needs and a willingness to prioritize our own wellbeing, even if it means setting boundaries or saying no to other people’s requests. And so by learning to value ourselves and our own needs, then we can cultivate greater self-confidence and we establish healthier
and more authentic relationships with others. I had a really hard time saying no when I was a young woman, and the first helping professional, I saw who happened to be a psychologist.
Talk to me about learning how to say no, and at that age, at around 18 or 20, I really didn’t know how to, and it doesn’t surprise me that people pleasing behavior and chronic illness often go hand in hand. and part of my recovery out of chronic illness and out of chronic stress was learning to say no, learning to say no, and to tolerate the other person’s discomfort with my no annoyance at my no.
So that’s on that personal level, but of course it. Shows up in our business, right? And so here’s how people pleasing is really detrimental for us as small business owners. So first of all, as I mentioned, it can lead to burnout. So if we are constantly saying yes to other people’s requests and putting their needs before our own, we are quickly going down the path of exhaustion and burnout,
and it can feel like you are, you are getting things done. You’re getting them out of the way. You are solving problems really quickly by saying yes to everyone’s requests by doing it yourself. But in a way, it’s about delaying gratification and learning how to do that by saying no.
By putting boundaries in place, by leaving something undone, unfinished for tomorrow or for the next week.
So it can also undermine your expertise, your presence, your leadership qualities when we are constantly trying to please everyone. We, again, might be tempted to take on projects or tasks that aren’t in line with our expertise or even our core business goals, and that causes us problems down the track as well, so when we are constantly and most likely unconsciously trying to please everyone, we might be tempted to take on projects, tasks, say yes to things that actually. we wanna say no to, but we’re, because we’ve got that ingrained, people pleasing pattern within us, the behavior, we say yes to it. And so we’re gonna look at identifying that more clearly really soon on this episode so that we can have an understanding of when our internal guidance system says no, what that feels like.
But for many of us, I reckon you already know what it feels like when your body says no, but out of your mouth comes. Yes. You already know what that feels like, but we are gonna get clearer on that. Slow it down so that you can start saying no when you mean no. And please, please, let’s not blame ourselves for this.
We have been raised in a culture. Saying Yes when we mean no. We are putting other people’s needs above our own, has been valued, praised, rewarded. So you’re going against the grain here, my friend. But it is the only way to preserve our energy, our clarity.
Another way people pleasing shows up. This is a really interesting one, isn’t undercharging. We might give discounts, we might give concessions that are not financially viable for your business. You might just simply undercharge for your work.
you might say yes to swaps with colleagues when you are not in that phase of your business anymore. I hear that a lot from practitioners. They, they tell me, you know, I really, I don’t wanna be doing swaps with people anymore, but I have this colleague and they’re an acquaintance, and they asked me, and I, I just thought that would be, you know, that would be the good thing to do.
Well, ultimately, it’s not the good thing to do if it’s lowering your vitality, if that space could be used for a paying client so that your business stays in a good cash flow position.
Often when we are spiritual people, when we are intuitive, just around the corner from those two amazing qualities you’ll find people pleasing, lurking. And so we really often get confused with being a spiritual person or a good person, a kind person. And that gets confused with people pleasing. But I want us to be really, really, That we can say no.
We can say hell no. We can say fuck no, and we are still a good person. We’re still a kind person because if you are an empty dish rag on the floor with no vitality and no energy in you, you are completely burnt out. You are of no use to anyone. So you must fill yourself up first. Same thing as being a parent right within your business.
You must make sure that you are looking after your wellbeing, and this is where we need to start unwinding those unconscious habits of people pleasing.
And it’s. Bloody wonder that we’re, you know, we have those behaviors showing up in our business. Think about the praise you got when you were a child. So the things I remember, She’s such a good girl. This was when I was very young. I also went through a very rebellious stage as a teenager, but when I was really young, she’s such a good girl.
She’s so well behaved. She’s such a sweet little girl. All of that praise around being nice and good and pliable . But these labels have a shelf life. So if you are 42 or like me, 52, and you are still being run by these voices from the past by this praise from the past, and it might show up in a more sophisticated way now, it might show up as Overgiving over caring as the, you know, a spiritual quality that we perceive that we can’t turn anyone away.
This is how these labels and that praise that is now way past it’s used by date, still showing up in our life, right? It’s still working through. So think back to what those labels were, the praise that you were given, and notice they’re in there. Is there anything
that might be feeding into people pleasing behavior? It’s not making it wrong, it’s just noting to yourself, you know what? I don’t need to. Trying to achieve that anymore. I don’t need to be unconsciously seeking that praise anymore if she’s such a good person. Cuz look, you are not an asshole. You are not a criminal.
You are not going around trying to hurt people or harm people. I know you are not.
So by dropping some of the unconscious people pleasing behaviors that we have, all that we are doing as women is stepping into our power some more.
When you start changing your behavior. It might show up that you get some pushback, that you get some annoyed loved ones or business partners. And so in that moment you can lean into yourself as an adult woman who can tolerate someone’s frustration or anger or. Even disappointment in you that that is their stuff.
That is their perception that is not yours. And anytime we change behavior, especially
when it’s been so woven into the fabric of our relationships, whether they be in our business or our personal life, we change that behavior. It takes some time for the other party to. Adapt to it. And that could be around boundaries with your clients as well. So there can be a little bit of friction while the adaption takes place.
So the way we change people pleasing behavior and habits is to, first of all look at our mindset. You know, am I, am I saying yes to this person? Because it is a yes for me, it’s part of. what I offer in my business, it aligns with my values. Or am I more saying yes because I don’t wanna rock the boat because I, I don’t wanna say no because I’m people pleasing.
So we look at the mindset first. Have I got elements of me where I try and keep the peace in the relationships I have around me to an extent. That is causing my internal system stress. And this can be a little bit tricky to see because it’s been with us from, you know, when we were preverbal. So to start unwinding that and say no, and risking being the bitch in the business relationship and the personal relationship can be quite scary for our nervous system.
because it brings up those fears of am I going to be rejected, pushed out of the tribe, out of the family? So that’s really normal that that comes up in our relationships. But the way to go through that is awareness, right? Bring awareness to understand what’s happen. and when you understand what’s happening, or my nervous system’s being quite triggered here, because I’m choosing a different way of being, I’m not falling into people pleasing in this moment.
I’m actually saying no. When my body means no, then that triggers can trigger feelings of unsafety, but that’s okay because your nervous system, the more you do it, your nervous system will learn how to tolerate. and I will learn that you’ll survive. And another piece around people pleasing is that it leads to resentment.
Maybe not now, and maybe not tomorrow, but definitely down the track. It leads to resentment. So if you are feeling resentful, Towards a work colleague, a business partner, a lover, a friend. Take a look and notice have, have I been people pleasing? Has my behavior towards them come from people pleasing?
Have I said yes when I meant no. Have I bent over backwards when I didn’t really want to, have I gone down the path that they’ve asked me to? Go down, but I haven’t wanted to. It’s been a no for me, inside my gut, inside my heart, and has this happened quite a lot over time, and now I’m feeling resentful towards this person.
So how do we clean that? We clean that up by starting to be really honest with ourselves. When you are feeling a no and you say yes, just note that. Don’t need to give yourself a hard time about it. Just note it. Cause we all do it. It’s so ingrained in our conditioning. And then slowly over time, you can practice with your no’s.
You might have a few statements that you, you have in your back pocket. I am not up for that this weekend. That’s not something I’m going to be doing. No, thank you. Whatever it is, having, having those statements is really helpful because you can use them in the moment where, You might be feeling a bit squirrely about replying, so your, your logical, rational brain won’t be working quite so well.
The emotional brain will be taken over. So to actually have those statements in your back pocket, you can just whip them out.
So, the way to unwind. People pleasing behaviors, and I don’t know, maybe it’s something we need to do for our entire life. We start off big. It feels like we’ve got this massive amount of work to do. It gets easier and easier, but then of course, as that gets easier,
you start upleveling within yourself, and so we go into that spiral. This is why we often spiral with our behaviors because you’ve upleveled and so then those people pleasing behaviors come back through. Again. It doesn’t mean that you’ve done anything wrong, it just means that you’re at that next level, and so again, it will be time to.
So how we do this is we start paying attention to our own feelings and needs. Take note of the situations where you were tempted to say yes, but you really wanted to say no and, and then just sort of try and identify the underlying reasons for your behavior. Was it that you wanted that person to still think well of you?
You didn’t want to cause conflict, you were afraid of the anger. , you just wanted them to see you as a good, helpful person. And start by really listen to your heart. Listen to your gut, cuz you’ll get a feeling. Your feelings are your. First messengers that something is out of alignment between what you are saying and what you are feeling.
And it could be about needs, it could be about desires, it could be about values, but there’s an incongruence with actually your truth inside. and what you are saying and how you’re communicating with the external person. So really start listening to what’s going on in my body here. And you don’t have to figure it all out at once.
You don’t have to act on that feeling. The really importantly, you must acknowledge it to yourself though. So that was a no for me, and I ended up saying, oh yeah, okay, I’ll do it. So what was underlying. . I wanted to preserve my connection with that person I wanted that wanted them to think well of me. So I said yes.
Ah, okay. People pleasing behavior. Got it. So I understand what the cost for me will be if that continues over and over again, so I get an opportunity to make a different choice next time. It’s definitely not about being perfect a hundred percent of the time.
So we are setting boundaries. We are saying no to requests that aren’t in line with our business goals or that would take away from our wellbeing. And having a conversation with someone today, and they’d said yes to an. Because other people were going and, you know, it sounded like fun at the time or they didn’t wanna miss out.
And then when it came to it through, through no other reason than actually they hadn’t made the choice to go to this event based on their values, based on what was really good for them in that moment. They’d made that choice to say yes to the event based on a fear of missing. . And so what was great about it was this person got to re choose and to choose again based on her values, based on her wellbeing needs this week, which included more rest because she’d had a really, really busy week.
And so you can see how this is very different to if I’m not going to something. Because I’m afraid, because I’m introverted, because I’m scared of meeting new people. But I know actually that’s gonna be really good for me. That’s gonna grow a quality in me around meeting people. That’s gonna be helpful for my business.
So it can be very easy for our psyche to tell us what we want to hear in a way to sabotage us. So this is where knowing your own feelings, emotions, needs, is so, so key. Cause you might not wanna go to that event for the reasons of you wanna look after your own wellbeing. You said yes to that event based on fomo.
or you might not want to go to that event that you previously said yes to because you’re an introverted person, because you have some social anxiety. However, you actually do want to get out and meet more people. You are actually feeling a bit nervous about it. So we can see how those two different scenarios, those two different internal situations, Would actually cause you to make different choices around whether to go or not.
So this is just where understanding our own drives and needs and values is really important. And how do we understand those while we start paying attention to them and we start listening to those gut instincts and the bonus of that is when we start listening to our gut, gut instincts around the simple stuff, is that it shows up around the big stuff.
Like if you can trust your intuition about a simple choice like that, shall I go to that networking event tonight that I said a couple of weeks ago that I would go to? It’s not in alignment with my values. If I can make a really strong gut call on that, then I can also start trusting my intuition on the bigger decisions for my business.
I love how it all fits together.
And practice, practice. Practice. When I, when I was learning how to say no, when I was learning, I’m always learning how to not be a people pleaser. Right. But when I was really early days, so early twenties, I had a, a guide, I suppose. She was sort of like a counselor say to me okay, I just want you to say no to everything.
Say no to everything for the next week because I, I found it so like intolerably painful in my nervous system and my gut to say no to people. I just hadn’t been taught how to do it. God, no wonder I had anxiety, right? Because I hadn’t been modeled how to say no. And so I, you know, so I had to learn by just practicing.
No, no, no, no, no. Until it came a lot easier. So yeah, start small. Start small at home, start smaller in your business. Practice it until it becomes just easy, good, and clear. Until say, no, can be fairly neutral. Somebody else’s response to. You are able to notice, maybe. Notice what the response is, because we’re empathic beings, we’re not, you know, brick walls.
We still understand. Other people have feelings too, but it’s not our responsibility to fix those feelings. They can have their upset feelings. They can have their angry feelings, they can have their frustration, and they can look after it themselves. That is not your job. And. So important for us as business owners, as practitioners.
There is a whole lot more to say of people pleasing. It is something that so ingrained in us as women from when we were young, for the majority of us anyway, and it was something we did as a child that was rewarded and praised, but now people pleasing is way past it’s used by date.
It needs to be off the shelf and in the garbage. It’s actually holding you back.
And remember, there is a middle ground. As with all things, there’s a middle ground. We don’t automatically go from being a people pleaser to being a total bitch when we learn how to say no. We can unwind the people pleasing and find our way into the middle ground. And also I’m gonna, I’m gonna give some kudos to the bitch energy as well.
We need some of that so we can access both, but we find that middle ground. So awareness comes first with people pleasing. Take a look and see where it’s showing up in your business and your life. It’s really super interesting when we, we do start to unwind it and we change those behaviors, we might get a little bit of friction to start with.
Maybe sometimes people are just pleasantly surprised because when we drop, the people pleasing interactions and relationship become so much more simple and so much clearer because your yes means yes and your no means no. because if you say yes, but your body means no, the other person you are saying yes to, they kind of know like subtly.
You know, there’s all those subtle cues, those energy that cues, we know there’s a conflict inside the other person. So relationships become much clearer. You get past that, maybe that little bit of friction at the start when you start changing your behaviors and the really exciting part. You step into a greater capacity for potency, for momentum, for inspiration within your business and within your life.
Sounds pretty good. Hey, I’m working on it in my life. Daily, weekly, yearly. It’s ongoing for me and.
And I’d love to hear how it shows up for you. How does people pleasing show up for you? Let me know. Send me a message. Let’s carry on the conversation. That’s it from me this week. Go out the shed that people pleasing. And step into that powerful human that I know you are.
All right, my friend. If you like this podcast, this episode, particularly forward it to a friend who you think could use it.
Have an amazing week and I’ll talk to you real soon.