The perils of people pleasing – and how you can learn to suit yourself
You’ve selected a new dress, carefully coordinated the shoes and accessories, and taken time to apply your make up just so.
It’s the ‘taa-daa’ moment, but as you descend the stairs your partner fails to notice. Instead he is busily grabbing his keys and hurrying you out the door. You feel deflated… Your shoulders slump a little, and the excitement of the night ahead is gone.
Or maybe he does notice…
An approving smile is pulling at his lips as you make your way over to him, and the compliment you were waiting for is readily bestowed. You walk a little taller and anticipate an evening that is going to be every bit as much fun as you’d imagined.
Are you someone who craves compliments and takes criticisms to heart? Or maybe you find yourself making or changing plans to suit everyone except yourself? Or keeping your opinion quiet because you’re worried others may not agree? If that sounds like you then the chances are you’re something of a people pleaser.
We all have people pleasing tendencies – who doesn’t like to be liked? But if your days are too tightly tethered to the opinions of others, then you can be in for a bumpy ride. The fact is you can’t control other people’s views, assumptions and behaviours, and trying to do so is a fool’s errand.
Pouring your time into worrying what others might think and say about you saps not only energy, but confidence too – especially given our tendency to imagine the worst, which is usually very far from reality.
And if you steer your course based on seeking acceptance from others, you give your own power away. You wind up becoming a depleted version of yourself, based on what others think and want, and suppressing those opinions, beliefs and needs which make you who you are.
So what can you do about it?
True acceptance starts with you
What that means is approving of who you are, before you think about what others make of you. It means really accepting yourself – the stuff you like, and the stuff you don’t It’s hard to imagine anyone waking up one day with a complete sense of self-knowledge and self-acceptance – for most of us it’s a journey, and oftentimes a lifelong one.
But the good news is you can start today, and here are a couple of ideas to get you on your way. Keep a self-appreciation journal where you note down and remind yourself of your qualities,attributes and things you have achieved or are proud of. If the very thought of blowing your own trumpet’ – even in private – makes you cringe a little, then you should definitely give it a try. They don’t have to be big things, but they get you in the habit of appreciating yourself more; it’s a great way to give your confidence a lasting boost.
Get clear on your values.
How can you be yourself when you don’t know who that is? When you know what’s really important to you, you can use that as a way of keeping you aligned and authentic – which will help keep the approval seeking gremlin in its box. Knowing what’s important to you will help you make choices, feel more empowered, and provide a foundation for building a deeper level of self confidence
These ideas might make a strong first step, but if you’re ready to learn more about living a bolder,brighter more authentic life then see check out my Your Bold Next Step 30 day Programme.