When I tell people that I teach people-pleasing women how to identify and ask for what they want, the follow-up question is often “How do you know who to work with?” The easiest way for me to describe a people-pleaser is this: anyone who says “Yes” when she means “No,” or who would rather say “No” to herself than disappoint someone else. Watch this to determine whether you have been bitten by the People-Pleasing Bug.
Women are trained from a young age to make themselves available to everyone but themselves. They may volunteer for projects that they know they don’t have time to work on. Or delay major life decisions for fear that they’ll disappoint or hurt someone else. Many women (myself included) have even sabotaged life-changing opportunities for fear of being perceived as self-centered. People pleasing makes women go out of their way to avoid being labeled as “selfish,” and it builds resentment and bitterness, two huge no-no’s for personal growth. Women can make themselves sick working to maintain their reputation of selfless generosity. Something has to give.
Approval addiction is real. People-pleasers are motivated by a sense of obligation, and constantly putting others before yourself can be a hard addiction to break. Most people want to be seen, validated, and appreciated. But when you become obsessed with being liked or accepted, your self-respect slowly deteriorates, until you’re left with just the shell of who you used to be. Hard truth:You can’t be a people-pleaser without also being a fraud. It’s hard to remember who you are when you’re constantly agonizing over what other people will say or think about you. So get clear on who you are (not to be confused with how you want to occur to others), accept that you can’t be everything to everyone, and steal your life back!
Self-possession (the freedom that comes with knowing, accepting, and loving who you are) becomes possible when you find the courage to make tough choices, even if they are unpopular. When you say “No” and mean it, you may be greeted with shock or upset. But when you are truly secure in your identity, you come to understand that your alignment and integrity are more important than external validation. Every time you stand for yourself, you communicate that your needs matter. And when you refuse to apologize for who you are and what you want, you make clear that you matter, which makes it easy for others to fall in line and act accordingly.
People-pleasing makes it impossible for you to evolve into the woman you could have been before society told you who to be.Reclaim your right to be a woman you admire. Give yourself permission to set boundaries, take breaks, revisit your passions, and do things that feel good for you. Eliminate that “apology energy” that makes it difficult for you to demand more of your relationships, career, personal development, or your sex life.Let yourself fall in love with life’s endless possibilities. To be clear: the decision to stop people-pleasing is not about being selfish;it’s about showing self-respect. When you commit to your boundaries, others may pout and manipulate to try to lure you back into the people-pleasing cycle. And you may feel tempted to cave in and avoid conflict. But don’t do it, girl. Resist the urge! Stand strong.Honor your commitment to freedom.And please believe the world will adjust.