I can't make everyone happy. I'm not an avocado.

 

People-pleasing is a hard behaviour to break. I know from experience.

I’m an inveterate people pleaser and I have spent much of my life seeking validation from those around me. So what’s going on, why does it make us (and everyone else) so miserable and how do we change our behaviour?

People pleasing is part of codependence. I will bend over backwards to help people (even when they don’t want help) in order to guarantee people’s love and affection for me. I will IMAGINE that I know what the person wants and then put their imagined needs before my own so that they do what I want, which is to shower me with love, praise and gratitude, that I may feel worthy.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with thinking of others, in fact, constant thought of others is a beautiful practice that I will touch on in another post, but this codependent perversion of that practice is highly damaging, both for me and the person that I am trying to please. People-pleasing is selfish in the extreme. It is never for the benefit of the other person, but rather for our own.

Firstly because of the lack of communication (I don’t know what the other person actually wants, I never took enough care to find out) and secondly because of the controlling nature of the practice (I made a decision for you so that I can get what I want, your love).

Remember the last time you lied to someone because you didn’t want to hurt their feelings? Were you really trying to spare them, or were you trying to spare yourself the pain of not being liked or being rejected? The last time you did someone a favour because you were afraid they wouldn’t like you if you said no?

When we truly love ourselves, we love others without needing to compromise ourselves. When we treat ourselves with contempt, we treat others the same. #WeAreOne

How about practicing an unapologetic no today? Determine your boundary, give yourself the love that you crave by honouring yourself and your boundaries, and not expecting someone else to do it for you.

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Nadine Cameron Ward