Why People Pleasing Doesn’t Work

We are closing in on the holidays. Let’s consider how we want to feel during this time. People often feel very stressed which is unfortunate and unnecessary. In general, these feelings stem from being disconnecting from what actually makes them feel good and happy. Instead, people agree to activities that they don’t truly care about or aren’t a priority. I called people pleasing and it results in an uncomfortable feeling of worry, overwhelm and powerlessness.

When I’m working with a client to change this behavior, we break down the facets of it. I encourage them to look at the underlying impulse. Usually it stems from wanting to be liked and and therefore they agree to engagements that they think they should go to (versus ones that they want to go to). Essential, they say they blow their needs off to be nice and courteous to others.

People pleasing doesn’t work to address the underlying impulse. Complying with others and forgoing ones' priorities establishes a subtle but real cycle of neediness; a seeking of validation from others.

And in the process of people pleasing, one doesn’t show or communicate what is true for them. When one is not authentic, they are actually being fake. When one does something they don't want to do or agrees to something that don't actually agree with, others don’t get the full sense of who they are.

There is more to people pleasing that stinks. It undermines how people feel about themselves. Essentially, when one fakes their true desires, they create an internal communication that what they desire isn’t right or allowed.

I challenge my clients to speak their truth, especially in situations where they struggle to stand up for themselves. They get clear about the circumstances where they falter the most. Does this happen with a family member or a colleague? Then we plan a strategy to shift this dynamic. We create a practice that keeps them committed to speaking what is honest for them. We discuss how to communicate in a way where people are readily able to accept what they have to say. But this doesn’t have to be complicated.

What comes from this process a renewed sense of confidence and an awareness that what they feel, desire and believe is acceptable and more so, key to feeling great in their life.