Pull the Plug on People Pleasing

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I’ve come to love the sound of me saying “no” to people.

Just the other day, I told my partner I didn’t want to stay out late when we had company, and I spent my early Saturday morning at the gym versus at home cuddled next to him.

My old self would have done everything I could have to please him and manage his feelings and preferences. I would have told myself, “Well, if he’s happy, then I’m happy.”

And here’s the dirty truth: If I hadn’t broken that fear-based habit, it likely would have broken us.

The truth is that people don’t fall in love with us or admire us because we’re trying to be someone who they want us to be.

The world falls in love with you when you bring your authentic voice.

Think about it. Have you ever noticed that some of the most popular leaders we esteem or YouTube channels we subscribe to are the ones who are the most original and self-expressed?

So when did we learn that we need to people-please in order to be liked, loved or adored?

Consider that it began when we started cheating on ourselves by trying to get others to meet our own needs rather than taking responsibility for ourselves.

Take a look for yourself…

...When you “don’t have a preference” about what to do, and you want to do whatever he wants;

...When you have an open-door policy at work, and your colleagues are constantly enmeshing you with their woes and problems; and,

...When you lose yourself and your friends in a relationship because you’re so focused on learning your partner’s hobbies or buddying-up with his or her friends.

What are your needs that are getting met in that context?

You might think that some of them are companionship, love, being of service, or the ever-present “I like to help others.”’

But here’s the thing…you think that you’re just being nice and loving.

You think that potentially, if you help others or put them first, they will want to do the same thing for you.

Relationships don’t work that way, darling. You don’t get to be generous and loving with the expectation that your colleague, friend, or partner will want to do the same in return.

At some point, that conversation becomes more about YOU than THEM.

Consider that the needs you’re ACTUALLY getting met are the ones that have you needing to feel loved, good enough, or worthy as a result of pleasing other people.

If I cook dinner often enough, then he’ll get the idea and want to do the same;

If I do what she wants to do today, then next time she’ll ask what my preference is;

Or if I’m generous enough in bed, then they’ll want to return the favor.

When our default orientation in relationships is being a people pleaser, it’s typically more about us than we think.

It’s also manipulative.

We don’t get to do things to please others when our motive is that we want a specific response from them.

That’s selfish.

Ironically, our shadow selves have us thinking we’re selfless people pleasers, that it’s a good thing, and that we care that much about the people in our lives.

But the truth of the matter is that it’s a form of co-dependency.

It has us being dependent on other people in order to get our needs met for ourselves.

I want you to repeat after me:

I get to be the source of my own happiness.

I get to authentically love myself so that others can love me.

I get to please myself before trying to please others.

I get to say “no” to others in order to say “yes” to myself.

I would love to hear how you start pleasing yourself this weekend and bringing your authentic self to relationships!

Catherine A. Wood is the Founder and Head Coach of Unbounded Potential, a personal coaching firm dedicated to helping high performance individuals who are committed to making a big impact in the world. She helps them fall in love with themselves first so they can take bolder actions, push past their fears, and get bigger results in the direction of their dreams. A visionary, entrepreneur and world traveler, clients have referred to her as a guardian angel for their dreams. You can learn more about Catherine and what she offers by visiting her Online, on Instagram, on Facebook, or by signing up for her newsletter and grabbing her Unbounded Potential manifesto.