Radical truth

I’m an extreme people-pleaser in fact, I wish I could say I’ve conquered this part of me, but SHE (my people-pleaser) is still part of me.  She puts everyone before me; I mean EVERYONE – even those who have not been the kindest, in fact, she thrives on the belief – if I am just “nice,” supportive, and helpful – then the other person – surely – will be kind.  As a leader, being a people pleaser left me exhausted, overwhelmed, and often missing my deadlines as I would be ‘helpful’ by taking on someone else’s work.  

Over the last 10 years, I’ve done a lot of internal work on being a “pleaser,” and I am sharing five reasons why being a pleaser no longer worked for me.

  1. People never respond precisely how I want, when I want, and the way I want them to. Really, no matter how kind I am or out of the way I go – they NEVER respond exactly how I want.   
  2. Resentment – that rotten resentful feeling would show up when someone would not thank me, reciprocate, or give me credit for the work I did. 
  3. Exhaustion; I spent so much time trying to please others that I’m literally exhausted (both emotionally and physically).
  4. I became run down – yep, by the time I was done pleasing my family, friends, co-workers, and random strangers I met, I was exhausted and had no time left for my own self-care. 
  5. Judgment – I felt so much judgment that it was not ‘fair’; everyone else had their needs met, and I didn’t get mine met.

Does this track for anyone? I get it; we are taught from a young age to be kind, generous, and share.  Of course, I completely agree with this; however, we also need to balance this with justice, honesty, and radical truth (both with ourselves and others).  

If you are sabotaged by your people-pleaser, try this, go back to a time/situation where you absolutely were taken over by your pleaser, and retell the story. Nevertheless, this time, change the narrative by managing your pleaser.  What if you said ‘no’ instead of ‘yes’? What is the outcome? What would be sacrificed, and what would be gained?  

I use this exercise when my pleaser shows up – when I have a thought to ‘help’ or ‘please’ someone, I stop – take a moment, and imagine what would happen if I said no instead of yes.

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