I’ve written about people pleasing before, but I mostly went into what people pleasing means and how to know if you’ve got the disease to please. Now, I want to talk about how to get out of the sh*t when you’ve gotten to a point where the pain of continuing to engage in people pleasing is beginning to outweigh the need to be liked, validated, loved & accepted. I used to be so deep in the people pleasing, I didn’t have an identity. My identity became “what everyone else wanted to do/think/plan/be.” I couldn’t be myself because I hated who I was. I was never able to build trust with myself because I could never make any kind of executive decision about MY OWN life, or have a say in anything. I’d be doing or saying something and as I was doing/saying it, I remember thinking to myself “wtf am I doing here? I don’t even WANT to be doing/saying this!” The level of self betrayal became so high, I robbed myself of any strength and belief I had left and thus became extremely dependent on people pleasing and being “good enough” for others because I could never please nor be good enough for myself.
“I can’t tell you the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.”
– Ed Sheeran
Why do we even engage in people pleasing? People pleasing boils down to feeling like you’re never enough. And whether you want to admit it or not, because you feel like you’re not good enough, you overcompensate through your “please-tell-me-how-high-to-jump,” actions, & subsequently attract relationsh*ts that require the door matting of yourself and pedestal building others. You continue to drink the low self esteem, “I-should-feel-guilty-for-having-a-voice-speaking-up-and-recognizing-myself-in-a-healthy-manner” Kool Aid (which childhood, school & society all dutifully contributed to). You then begin to believe that your opinions, wants, needs and voice do not matter and never will. You’d rather be LIKED and be passively abused/abandoned/deceived/under-appreciated over time, than have a backbone and potentially be rejected right then and there. People pleasing makes you a PRIME candidate for emotionally unavailable relationsh*ts, narcissistic partners and friendsh*ts. It also pigeon holes you into continuing to seek validation from your parents or a significant person in your past that withheld acceptance, was un-pleaseable and gave you conditional love when you needed it most – as a child.
Here are 5 steps to say goodbye to the bullsh*t, kick the people pleasing habit for good and stop being a doormat so you can start LIVING:
- “I gotta stop treating people like I owe them something.” -Tupac Shakur. RIGHT?! This is one of my favorite quotes of all time. My people pleasing made me approach every situation, relationship and person as though I owed them something. I did this because I felt like I had to mask my insecurities and deep down, I didn’t feel worthy of other people’s time, love, value or respect, no matter how much I contended to want the opposite. And because I didn’t feel worthy of my OWN value & respect, I kept gravitating toward people who mirrored, affirmed and f*cking CATERED to those fears and negative beliefs. If you treat people as though you owe them something, it’s because deep down, you don’t feel like you’re enough for people. You then end up making promises that you can’t fulfill, white lying, embellishing, creating unnecessary drama and doing things that you don’t want to do just because you feel like you have to compensate for the fact that you have an existence. Although my intentions were not malicious and I just wanted validation, love & acceptance, I used to promise friends, boyfriends and family members that I could get them a deal somewhere or that I had a hookup to some place that I didn’t have or I’d buy them gifts I couldn’t afford or I’d say that I knew someone that they would think was important. I engaged in this humiliation ALL in the name of “please-notice-all-of-these-things-that-I’m-doing-for-you-so-you-don’t-see-that-I’m-as-desperate-as-you-know-I-am-and-I-know-I-am,” people pleasing. LISTEN – you are MORE than enough, you don’t have to be a “yes” person and you don’t need to treat anyone as though you owe them anything. You can make the DECISION to end the people pleasing NOW. When I was little, I touched a hot stove once and got a massive burn; I’ve never touched a hot stove since. When I had a health scare years and years ago, I put down the cigarettes for good. Changed HAPPENED in an instant because I KNEW that I needed to change. Change is a DECISION away. What takes a long time is convincing our low self esteem selves that we’re capable of the change. Just f*cking do it because guess what? YOU CAN. You’re never going to be on your death bed one day, thankful that you didn’t change and that you continued to be a people pleasing doormat.
- Understand that if you’re going to be successful, you WILL INEVITABLY DISAPPOINT PEOPLE. There’s no way around it. Success and the disappointment of others go hand-in-hand. Just like you can’t run without your heart rate increasing, you can’t be successful while simultaneously people pleasing at the expense of your self worth. If you have truly made the decision to be successful, you must accept that people WILL be disappointed, offended, angry, resentful and critical. Success has been my greatest teacher. It’s taught me that I ultimately care more about connecting with others all around the world, building my brand, creating meaning and helping people who want and need my help more than I care about what anyone else thinks. It’s none of my business what other people think about me and I’m never going to convince a cynic. My approach isn’t for everyone nor do I expect it to be and I’m definitely not offended by that fact. I don’t need to be everyone’s cup of tea. I’ve finally built up the momentum to where I’m deeply gratified, propelled and motivated by what I do because I’m working toward something; I have a goal. It doesn’t matter much to me what others think because I realize the second that I deviate from my commitment to success, I can’t evolve. Do I think that I’m this huge success already? Well, YES. Yes because I define success like this – another one of my favorite quotes from one of the greatest humans to have lived, Earl Nightingale: “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.” That’s right, PROGRESSIVE. As long as you’re progressing toward a worthy goal or ideal, guess what? You’re a f*cking success. And as long as you’re a success, you will ALWAYS disappoint others because not everyone can progressively realize their goals without getting discouraged and self sabotaging. This is why true success is such a rarity and why the term has been convoluted and cheapened to the degree of solely being about waking up in Bugattis and yachting in the south of France with people as delusional and superficial as that ideal. YES, those things are all amazing and ya, I’d love to chill in the South of France and drive around in a Bugatti but to be real, it has to have substance, meaning and connection.
- Make the decision that you’d rather have an opinion (rooted in kindness for others and respect/care for yourself) and be REMEMBERED than be liked/agreeable and be FORGOTTEN. Period.
- Remember that you should never have to proverbially (or literally) beg to help, love and care for anyone. If you do or feel like you have to, it’s nothing more than an indication that you can’t do so for yourself. I am dedicating this blog post to a very close girlfriend of mine. A few weeks ago, I was telling her that it was hard to get in touch with a mutual friend of ours whom I was doing a collaboration with and helping create exposure for their business. I kept trying and trying to get in touch with the person to no avail. “You shouldn’t have to beg to help someone Natasha. Remember – you’re helping them. Don’t forget your worth.” Everything immediately clicked and I realized that all of my efforts to get in touch were yet another form of people pleasing that I thought I had put to pasture long ago. So, I stopped talking and took action that was rooted in kindness and respect for myself and the situation as a whole, instead of continuing to bother everyone and tie my worth to obtaining a response. Whatever anyone thought became obsolete. I had a goal. And I ultimately gained a lot more empathy, respect and understanding (for myself and everyone involved), than if I would have remained in a state of fear-based paralysis.
- Get rid of expectations in your relationships and start expecting from yourself. I don’t have any expectations of others; I don’t have any expectations in my relationships and man, has it contributed to my happiness and peace. I expect FROM MYSELF that if I am treated poorly, I’ll have the boundaries to ACT accordingly, while staying on my white horse. This eliminates the constant anxiety I used to have of being “left,” cheated on, abandoned and perpetually waiting for the doom cloud to rain or the other shoe to drop.
When you decide to extinguish the people pleasing, you put an end to the mind f*ckery, an end to the guessing games, and end to the misery, the unavailability, the insecurity, the making assumptions and taking things so personally because they NEVER are personal.
What you need to take personally is the relationship that you have with yourself.
Ever notice how the people who mind their own bees, are kindly honest and have their own backs always get their asses kissed?
It’s because other ponies know a stallion when they see one and even if they can’t be a stallion, they sure as hell want to be associated with one. Stop trying to be associated with stallions by means of people pleasing and just BE unapologetically and kindly, YOU. You were BORN a stallion.
You are more than enough and you CAN kindly speak up. I promise you, the world will adjust and the sky won’t fall.
a whole new universe will OPEN 🙂
– xx Natasha