All humans are driven by 2 things only…
Pain and Pleasure.
You’re driven to avoid pain and seek pleasure.
And this can reflect in our behaviours.
People pleasing is one of them.
What is People Pleasing?
People pleasing is basically agreeing or saying YES to things to avoid the fear of someone possibly thinking badly of you.
It could be anything from a small request to a large one.
And it could be in your personal life or at work.
For example, someone asks you for help with something, you’re busy, but you don’t want them to think bad of you, so you say YES anyway.
Why People Pleasing Can Become A Problem.
First of all, nothing is a problem until it stops you from doing or getting something you want.
However, people pleasing is often a problem because it involves taking on more duties or tasks than you can handle.
Again, you do this because of the FEAR of judgement…As I mentioned before, as humans, we are driven away from PAIN.
So this behaviour comes from our basic human drive.
Think about that for a second…
So there’s an obvious benefit that drives this behaviour – feeling better for not being judged.
The negatives are often not initially obvious.
But it’s important to recognise them!
People pleasing is insidious…
We are often blind to the consequences of it.
Negatives Of People Pleasing
The problem with people pleasing is that it can cause you to take on too much.
If you are trying to work towards a goal (for example weight loss), then the stress, overwhelm and tiredness caused by it can take precious energy away from you. This negatively affects working towards your goal!
Plus also, how have you most likely learnt to deal with stress and tiredness in your life?
So people pleasing works against you when trying to reach your goals.
So this seemingly unharmful behaviour suddenly has a huge negative side.
In fact, it can work directly against what you want by pulling you back in the opposite direction.
How Do You Cure People Pleasing?
People pleasing is a habitual behaviour, so solving it requires doing work to change the way you behave.
Step #1 involves understanding WHY you do it…
So avoiding the pain of being judged for not saying YES.
Step #2 involves realising the consequences of carrying out people pleasing.
This is the stress and overwhelm which makes it so much harder to work towards your goal.
Being very aware of these negatives helps you SEE and be aware of the consequences (PAIN) of doing the people pleasing behaviour.
Step #3 Now you’re driven by pain which makes you carry out people pleasing, BUT now you’re also driven by the pain/consequences of carrying out the people pleasing.
So you have pain of not doing it and doing it at the same time!
The one you fuel and condition more is the one that wins!
So you really need to connect and dive into the consequences of doing people pleasing to make yourself feel bad for doing it.
Step #4 As a bonus, also connect with the positives of not doing people pleasing (what it gets you), so that you’re emotionally rewarded for this new behaviour.
Fear Of Change
As with all change, it can be scary to do this.
Know that it’s possible…
There are people that don’t do it.
Your brain resists anything you change in your life because it has an attached benefit.
The job of your survival brain is to protect you, so it will do what it can to maintain behaviours.
Your job is to think logically about people pleasing and tell yourself that there are more benefits of NOT doing it than doing it.
Also, it doesn’t have to be black and white…
You might enjoy helping people.
So give yourself a quota of what you’d be happy to take on.
And once you hit that, explain with empathy to anyone who asks for help that you’ve taken on too much.
Putting yourself last reduces your capacity to help others, so giving yourself enough time for your own growth maximises your ability to help the people you can say YES to.
Isn’t that great?! 😄
As always, if you have any questions or need help with people pleasing, feel free to reach out.