You are currently viewing Episode 119 – People Pleasing

Episode 119 – People Pleasing

I used to think I was just a really nice person who wanted everyone around me to be happy. I did all kinds of mental gymnastics to keep the peace and if something went wrong…whoa!

You know I had knots in my stomach and couldn’t stop thinking about it for days…maybe weeks or like, forever. 

Until I realized that what I was doing was spending a lot of time worried about other people’s emotions and not figuring out what I really wanted. 

If you’re a human, but especially a woman who was socialized to be “nice” it can lead to a whole lot of problems.

Listen in to hear all about people pleasing, why we do it and how to stop, especially after miscarriage stillbirth or babyloss. Grief isn’t a reason to continue people pleasing.

You won’t want to miss this powerful episode.


Welcome to today’s episode. I actually can’t believe that I haven’t done an episode yet on people pleasing, but it is time and I’m so glad you’re here. What you’re gonna get today is what is people pleasing and how is it showing up? I know I never identified as a people pleaser before.

I just thought I was kind of a really nice person and I wanted everyone to like me, right? I was a peacemaker and I didn’t like confrontation and I. I did not identify this way until I learned about people pleasing and kind of had that face palm moment where I was like, oh, it’s me. So I, I just think this is so important for everyone because we do grow up in, we almost train people to be people pleasers, right?

And. It can be a problem and it can be hard to break the cycle, but I promise it is possible, and especially as you’re grieving, I think grief is a really interesting time because I don’t think that grief is gonna stop you from working on this. In fact, a lot of times this is the time. Uh, where you realize, I am really tired of doing what everyone else wants.

I just wanna do what I want. I wanna take care of myself, and we finally prioritize ourselves. So do not think that living life after loss is. Like some sort of disadvantage or you’re not strong enough to make some changes in your life. You absolutely are, and I think this can be exactly the right time no matter where you are in your grief.

If it’s been 10 minutes or 10 years. You’re gonna love this episode, so keep on listening. The amazing Cara Lo talks about people pleasing, except she has decided to call it something else, which is people deceiving. And I wanted to start out right at the top of the episode to, to call this out for what it is.

When we are acting in a certain way that is not in alignment with our values or we’re not in integrity with ourselves, right? We’re basically faking or being inauthentic so that other people will feel better. That is people pleasing and that is people deceiving. So we are showing up in a way that we don’t especially like, or that we don’t especially want to.

In order to manage other people’s emotions. And like I said, this is something we’ve been taught, right? Can you just be quiet? You’re making mommy angry. Can you, you know, sit still or the teacher’s going to be stressed out? We, we train children to be people pleasers. And this is actually something if you have living kids, especially living teenagers, um, this is a thought, I’ll just throw this in, but.

When my kids will not do what I want, no matter how upset I am or how many times I plead with them, a thought that I keep telling myself is, I’m not raising people pleasers. Right? So this is a way I try to console myself when I, instead of feeling like a failure as a mother who cannot get her children to do what she would like them to, I tell myself I’m doing such a great job at not raising people pleasers and raising independent thinkers and.

People who aren’t gonna do what I say just to make me feel better. So you’re welcome to borrow that thought if you ever need it. Especially, I mean, maybe teenagers, toddlers. It’s kind of the same thing. If they wanna do what they wanna do, no matter how much you say, Hey, hurry up and put your shoes on, and they just wanna take their time into it themselves, you can say, I am not raising a people pleaser.

Pleaser. I am doing such a great job. What I wanna talk about this. Again, it also can look like just wanting to be nice, not wanting to cause waves, not like going along with things that we don’t really feel super strongly about, just because we, we want other people to be happy and we want them to be happy with us, so that is people pleasing.

In life after loss. Some of the ways this shows up that I see a lot is you hide how you really feel so you don’t upset anyone. This is the one where people ask how you’re doing and you say you’re fine because you just don’t wanna deal with anything that’s gonna come after if you tell them how you’re actually feeling.

You don’t ask for support cuz you don’t wanna bother anyone. This is a really, really big one because we are not good at receiving help and we’re not good at asking for help. And the reason why is cuz we don’t wanna inconvenience anyone. We don’t want them to feel uncomfortable. We don’t want them to be put out.

We don’t, we don’t want any of it, right? And so we can be drowning, like literally drowning, and we’re not gonna ask for help. Right. We’re not gonna ask for support. You take care of all the people around you. When you’re dying inside. Again, we, we step up, we shove down the grief, and we keep doing all the things so that people aren’t upset.

Right? And so it looks like we’re okay. So it looks like we’re holding up our end of the bargain in the relationship. Uh, another thing we do is. You shut down the part of you that gets disappointed. This happens a lot when you know people are not showing up in the way you had hoped, and instead of communicating that you’re just gonna shut it down, you’re gonna lower your expectations and.

This is different because I really do believe that allowing people to be who they are, allowing them to show up how they wanna show up in accepting the reality of your life and the people in your life, and not creating what I call manuals for them, which is like not wishing people would act differently than they are.

What I’m saying here is you just. Give up. Basically, you just give up so that you won’t be disappointed and you’re not going to be honest with people about how you’re feeling and what you would really like, right? Because we’re always allowed to make requests. That’s something people get really confused about with coaching, is that we should just let people walk all over us, but that is not true.

So again, this, this part of people pleasing after grief is we just try to tell ourselves that we don’t care and we don’t wanna be disappointed, but we do. Right? Like we are disappointed. Uh, another one we do, which is grief or not grief, is saying yes when we want to say no, we’ve got the holidays coming up here and.

There’s a lot of events, there’s a lot of things going on, and there’s this dilemma. Do I say I don’t wanna come? Do I communicate some things I’m gonna need if I do come? How do I navigate this? Or do I just put a fake smile on, show up so that our mother-in-law isn’t upset, right? Or so there’s not backlash and there’s not problems within the family.

So this is a big one, saying yes when you want to say no. As we are grieving and as we talk about this topic, I just want you to be aware of how much emotional energy you are spending. A lot of times it seems easier to just do what people expect, right? Just keep going along with it. Don’t cause problems, don’t change anything.

Just keep going on with what people expect and not really showing up as you. But you gotta understand what that is costing you, especially over time as you keep doing that. What is it costing you? How much energy are you spending sitting there, being uncomfortable or showing up as a person you don’t like?

Not as yourself. That has a cost too. So just your brain is gonna offer to you that it’s easier to just keep people pleasing. I want you to open up to the idea that it could feel a lot better to just stop and take a lot less energy, right? Because your brain wants to tell you it’s big and scary. To make changes cause it doesn’t like changes.

Um, but it’s not necessarily true. So be onto your brain, know that it will lie to you because it likes things to say the same. Your brain prefers the familiar, uncomfortable to an unfamiliar, uncomfortable that might move you forward. Uh, I, I was. Just also listening to The Office Ladies podcast. I love that podcast.

And I was thinking about Pam and Roy, if you watch the Office or if you haven’t, most people know Pam and Roy. Pam was engaged to Roy, who was not the best boyfriend, um, not the best fiance. And no matter what your thoughts are on Pam, I know she’s kind of a polarizing character right now. Some people love her, some people hate her and think she’s the worst.

She is a great example of people pleasing where she just was going with the flow. Even though she desperately wanted to get married and it had been three years, she was never gonna say anything. She was just gonna keep living this kind of like sea level life. Right where her fiance didn’t really know her that well, didn’t care about her that much, didn’t show up the way she wanted, didn’t treat her the way she wanted, but she felt like that was, you know, the best she could do.

And so she made a lot of choices where, She was not putting herself first, but then she tried. She did try at times to make other decisions where she was putting herself first, and it was hard. So we don’t wanna be stuck, right? Like, It was scary for her to finally break off that engagement and eventually to, um, admit that she liked Jim, but she did it right.

And so all that time and energy she spent being really dissatisfied, but not wanting to say anything because she, she just wanted to be nice. That was a lot of energy. That was a lot of time where she was not being authentic and she was not being honest. Right. She was kind of sneaking around behind her fiance’s back, like joking around with this other guy and, but once she finally decided, To stop and to put herself first.

She created the life she wanted, she created the relationship she wanted with someone who totally adored her, that she totally adored and it was so much better. But you get to watch that whole story play out in little ways and in big ways, um, all throughout that show. So I think Pam is just a great example of a really nice girl who’s a really, really.

Worried about what other people think, and she really tries to fit a mold and sometimes that bites her in the butt. So why is people pleasing a problem or people deceiving, whatever you wanna call it? Again, you’re playing a part that isn’t truly you. You’re not able to be yourself, and that’s what I’m here to do is help you find yourself and figure this out.

It’s mentally exhausting to always be worried about what other people think and how they’re feeling and trying to manage other people’s emotions. And the biggest problem is it breeds resentment. I have coached so many clients on this where they really are resentful. Towards their partner or their family members or their job or whatever it is, but they’re never gonna say anything, um, because they just wanna be nice and they just wanna, you know, everyone to like them and to not have problems.

And, but it’s like they are suffering, they are resentful, they are blaming all these people for how they feel instead of taking ownership and saying, I am creating this for myself. So I want you to answer that question. Where am I people pleasing? And what am I creating for myself? Let’s talk about people pleasing and how it’s actually not possible to do.

You can’t please other people. Every person’s emotions come from their own brain, from their own thoughts, and you can’t make them feel anything. Now we do have influence, uh, In some ways, right? The things we do may trigger people or influence people, but everything that they feel, everything they think is coming from within them.

And so it’s actually not even possible to please people, right? And just think about that for a moment, but it’s not. Right. Like my kids could do all their chores and I could still be grouchy for whatever I’m thinking, right? Um, like they didn’t do it fast enough or they didn’t do it when I asked them or whatever it is, right?

So they could do all the actions trying to make me happy. I could still be frustrated. It all depends on what I’m thinking. What’s really happening is you are pleasing yourself. You wanna feel the good feelings or you want to avoid the uncomfortable feelings, and so you are taking the actions that you think will get you that, right?

You are showing up in a way. That is gonna help you feel better about yourself, help you feel better about your situation, help you avoid those uncomfortable emotions that come from being more honest. Right? And especially where we’re in a pattern, um, that we maybe have practiced since our childhood or just for so long.

We keep doing it because it benefits us. And a good question to ask is, how is this serving me? Right? How is this people pleasing behavior actually serving me? What am I getting out of it? And if you really open up and get curious, you are the one benefiting. Because you get to believe that you’re nice.

You get to believe that you’re kind. You get to believe that everyone likes you. You get to believe all these things about you. You get to believe that you’re this sacrificial lamb that will lay down and put aside your own emotions and what you want so that you can be there for people. I’ve heard that so many times and it’s, it’s just.

It is so damaging, it just doesn’t work. You are going to eventually burn out. You’re gonna be full of resentment. You’re not gonna have authentic connections because you’re faking yourself. You’re not being who you really wanna be. So this is why all of this is why it’s a big problem and. You know, I want you to give yourself tons of compassion if you’re doing this, cuz like I said, we all do it.

We all want to be part of the group. If we look back at our cave people days, you don’t wanna be out of the group because if you’re out of the group, you are cold and you are dead. And so it’s important to work together and to compromise and to keep the group happy. Right. And so there’s some element of survival in this.

So be compassionate. Your primitive brain is wired, um, to fit in, to wanna fit in. But we also have to notice that part that really like what is the cost of fitting in and what lies are your brain telling you about? Cuz it really tells us, if I was honest, If I really told people how I felt, if I really explained that, no, I love you and I can’t come to your baby shower, that it’s gonna be worse.

But what most people find out is when you are authentic, your connections are so much stronger cuz they’re not based on lies. Uh, I think a really great example of this is if someone is coming out as. G B T Q I A, all the things, right? If they feel like they have to fake a life for so long because they’re afraid of what’s gonna happen, if they’re honest, uh, they’re not being themselves.

They’re just so worried and they’re so outside of themselves, they feel so isolated. It’s just really painful, but, If they can find the courage to just be honest and to talk to the people they love. They might have consequences. They might have people they care about who reject them, but they might find life is so much better when they can just be honest.

And I just think if you’re afraid to be honest, Check yourself and see what’s really going on. Like what are you really afraid of and why are you willing to feel so uncomfortable so that someone else doesn’t have to, or that you think you have the power to control other people’s emotions. You don’t know what they’re gonna think and you don’t know what they’re gonna feel.

I think people today really do value authenticity. That’s my thought, is like there’s so many people that are just being fake so that other people think good things about them. It’s actually more rare, to be honest, so be honest. I think people respect that a lot and it feels so good to just be honest. So this is my first step on how to stop people pleasing, is get honest with yourself.

You need to know what you want and what’s important to you, and what your values are, and what your priorities are and be. Like allow yourself to say them out loud and question your beliefs. Like, if I’m a good friend, I’ll just go to the baby shower. That’s what a good friend does. They show up for their friend even when they’re grieving.

Right? So question that and maybe say A good friend is honest. A good friend ex explains a good friend, figures out a way to celebrate this new baby without. Sacrificing themselves and their emotions and putting themselves through like three hours of holding back tears. So what is a good friend? What is a good daughter, sister, sister-in-law?

Whatever relationships you have, get honest. Be honest with yourself. The next step on how to stop is be willing to feel uncomfortable. If you’ve been acting this way your whole life, you’re gonna have to work to reprogram yourself and it will feel uncomfortable. Like I said, our brain is wired this way, and then we’re trained this way, and it’s okay.

It’s okay that it’s uncomfortable because it’s worth it. In the end. When you want a result, it’s gonna be worth going through that and kind of swimming through that river of misery, which is what we call it in coaching. You gotta get to the other side and sometimes you gotta get in there and get dirty and be uncomfortable.

That’s okay. It’s not a problem. It’s part of growing as a human. Another thing you gotta be aware of is the people around you may have reactions. That is okay. You just let them, let them have their reactions, they’re gonna come around. It’s not your job to manage their emotions. Really keep that thought in your mind.

It is not my job to manage other people’s emotions. What other people feel is none of my business, what they think is none of my business, right? You don’t get to control that. You don’t know what they’re gonna think and feel. Just let them have their reactions and love them and love you. Understand that finding yourself again and saying true to your own values is a skill you can learn.

The more you do it, the more free you are going to feel and the more love you can give because it will be genuine, right? As I speak to you and think about you, I’m guessing not a single person listening wants to be a jerk to other people. A lot of times we think that will then I, I just have to be a selfish jerk and just do whatever and everyone’s gonna be mad at me.

That’s not true. That’s your brain. Just going way to the other side. What I’m saying is, Genuine love for other people means you have genuine love for yourself. Being honest is so, so valuable. You’re not gonna be a worst person if you’re just honest with what you want, and you just make choices that align with your values and priorities, and it doesn’t mean anything bad about you.

Right, and you can learn how to do this. It is a skill. It takes practice, it takes unlearning, it takes thought work, it takes feeling all the feelings. You can do it though. It’s not selfish to make choices that feel right to you. So I want you to know that. Unwrapping. All of this is totally possible, but it’s much easier when you have someone to show you how.

When you coach with me, I will help you figure out where people pleasing is really a problem for you and how to stop, and then I’ll be with you for the parts where people don’t like it or where you wanna go back to your old habits. I won’t let you do that. You don’t have to sacrifice and you don’t have to live a life that you don’t want anymore.

Especially if you feel like your heart is so tender. And this sounds really hard, don’t worry cuz I understand what that’s like. But you are stronger than you think. You have more power than you think, and I promise you it is. Going to feel so much better to just realign with your values and get back to thinking about what you wanna feel, rather than worrying about what everyone around you is feeling.

You cannot control how they feel. It is not your job. Set it down if you’re interested in working with me. Go in the show notes and sign up for a connection call. It’s super easy and we’ll just chat and I will tell you what the best way to work with me is. I do have spots open now, and with the holidays coming up, I feel like people pleasing is seriously gonna be everywhere.

So don’t wait. Let’s get started now and you’ll be so ready. I will talk to you next time. Are you tired of feeling like your baby death was somehow your fault? Go and get my free mini course. How to Stop Blaming Yourself After Loss.

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