October Meditation: Stop People Pleasing
People pleasing is one of the more subtle effects of trauma. It seems subtle because it’s widely accepted, and even encouraged, in our society, but it can become damaging.
For women, it can look like extreme caregiving and fawning/pleasing behaviors. For men, it can be fixing or solving problems more directly.
In extreme forms, people-pleasing can become codependency. My definition of codependency is “I’m ok if you’re ok”.
There’s nothing wrong with caretaking or solving problems, but it can undermine other people from doing that for themselves. It becomes dysfunctional when we perceive our value and worthwhileness as directly related to what we can do for other people, or how we help or fix them. In other words, we believe our price of admission in life is based on fulfilling the wants and needs of others.
This may be as subtle as a very caring mom or a doctor whose sense of self is tied to his/her ability to help/save people. As you can see, this type of behavior is interwoven into our society. What makes it dysfunctional, is how interwoven it is in your life. How big of a part of who you are, is it?
When what we do for others overshadows who we are as a person, it’s time to reflect on our people-pleasing behaviors.
The other side of people-pleasing is neglecting your own wants and needs:
- You may have difficulty identifying your own feelings.
- Lack of personal identity to the point of merging yourself with a certain caregiving type of role, or merging yourself with others (codependency).
- Attempting to make everyone around you happy (or controlling how everyone else feels).
- Avoiding conflict.
- Fear of rejection or low self-esteem. While society often rewards people-pleasers (that’s why the behavior is so easy to continue), deep within they have low self-esteem. A way to identify this within you is how you let others see you is far different than who you are on the inside.
- Taking on more responsibility even when overwhelmed.
This can damage your health and wellbeing.
At the end of our life, did we live for ourselves, or for others more? Part of living our life, is making sure we are included in it- that we didn’t choose a job based on what others wanted for us or pleasing someone else or that we didn’t dedicate most of our waking minutes to ensure others have a good life, at the expense of our own.
Here’s an important question to ask yourself when considering whether people-pleasing is damaging your life: Do you have resentment or regrets? If you do, identify where (or who) or what parts of your life you resent or regret. That’s the hole to plug. That’s where your pleasing/giving energy is not fulfilling you. It’s draining you! It can be someone taking advantage of you or a soul-sucking job or relationship, and much more. Plug that drain!
Another question to ask, is where (who) do you get your approval from? Is it more from others than aligned with your own wants, needs, and values? These are questions you can answer and explore with journaling.
People Pleasing Guided Hypno-Meditation: This meditation includes deeply relaxing hypnotic trance and suggestions for respecting yourself and your time, feeling good about yourself even when you must say no to others or disappoint others.
YouTube Meditation: Stop People Pleasing
Peace and Be Well,