And I’m not okay with it…
…at all! I want to write about this because it took hours of therapy and self-reflection to truly understand this. Then it took a while to accept this, but more importantly, I’m learning from it. And for that, I’m grateful I recognized it and can move forward in a different direction.
There is definitely a spectrum of people-pleasing, and I’m somewhere in the middle. I don’t have an eager to please that stems from self-worth issues. In turn, I do act according to how rejected and/or accepted I anticipate an outcome will happen.
The most important part of my process of understanding my people-pleasing tendencies has been that I am NOT honoring myself. I am not choosing things/comments/ideas that do not honor how I actually feel but confuse as kindness. My reluctance to state my true feelings is one of the issues I’ve had to be cognizant of and work on changing.
A few of people-pleasing characteristics that I had a habit of doing are:
- Not admitting when my feelings are hurt
- Not fully expressing my emotions or feelings, so I would not offend someone
- Avoiding conflict
- Not addressing issues as they happen
After the break-up, I kept wondering if my self-worth was lacking? Because, why would I stay with my Ex for so long? Thankfully, in therapy, I was able to realize I saw strength in staying and fighting for our family and our relationship. When the stronger thing to do would have been to walk away from what was not good or healthy for me. So, although many people-pleasers have self-worth issues, this doesn’t seem to be the case for me.
Out of this new understanding, I am better at advocating for myself. The handful of moments when speaking my truth is uncomfortable is much smarter than 4.5 years in an unhealthy relationship. This idea and learning transcend across all relationships in my life — friends, family, and romantic. I was able to call out examples of people-pleasing behavior in all of these relationships.
With all the different growth I’m processing, I haven’t been the best at this, but I definitely know about it and am making it a point to not be like before. This was a hard pill to swallow because I prided myself on being a strong-willed, independent woman who spoke her mind. And apparently, I wasn’t quite that woman I thought I was. I wasn’t disappointed in myself, but it was a good self-check on what is actually going on inside of me.
I continue to remind myself that if I don’t speak my truth I break trust with myself and my relationships will not be authentic. And I need authenticity to thrive in any relationship. Without trust in myself, I cannot trust anyone else. So, it all starts with me.
I am by no means an expert, but all I can say for those hoping to work at not people-pleasing is to start small. Say no to something, when you’d usually say yes. Express your opinion to someone who you trust and respect, before you do it in a harder setting. Really, we are just building the internal confidence to be able to fully be ourselves. While I know who I am and who I want to be, I need to make sure those around me know this as well.
I don’t think it takes therapy to understand this, but I do think it takes self-reflection, self-awareness, and openness. Without the guidance of my therapist and focusing on personal growth, I would have never forced myself to discover this habit that I don’t want to continue. I almost called it a ‘bad’ habit, but I don’t want to label it. Labels make things harder to work through and easier for me to judge myself. So, instead, I take this habit of people-pleasing as something to grow through.
I am still me, but now everyone in my life gets to experience the most authentic version of me. And I think they deserve that. I know I deserve it!
I can’t and don’t want to be all things to all my people…