The Pressures of People Pleasing
Good vs. Evil.
Right vs. Wrong.
Nice vs. Nasty…
We all know that sometimes by going for what we want, we may consequentlyupset someone else. It’s the basis of pretty much any dilemma isn’t it? It seems mean to consider compromising someone else’s happiness for your own – especially for us self-deprecating, stiff-upper-lipped Brits who tend to label such behaviour as a bad thing.
It’s important to remain a thoughtful, caring and kind individual in life.
It really is.
But, it’s also inevitable thatyou want what you want… and that’s important too.
We certainly shouldn’t compromise what we want, purely for the sake of remaining a “nice”, sweet lass in the eyes of others.
Do you ever feel like:
… You’re living out the path your parents decided was best for you?
… You walk on eggshells or adapt your behaviour to fit in with someone else?
… You’re stuck in a social group that no longer fits, yet you still hang around?
… You’re uncomfortable spending time aloneor making independent decisions?
If you’re sitting there pondering and answered yes to any of the above questions, then welcome.
You are in the right place.
Let us share with you a few handy hints about being kind, without compromising yourself and your needs along the way.
The number one pointer to remember is that, as far as we know, we only have one life. Do you really want to live out someone else’s vision or expectations of you, particularly if this is the only shot you have at living it? Of course it feels comfortable to get others’ approval but it’s really not the be-all and end-all.
Ultimately, people who love you want you to be happy.
In time, if they see you’ve made choices that take you towards that, it’s likely they’ll get over the fact you didn’t follow their advice and will applaud you for forging your own path to contentment.
We’re not saying it’s easy or that you won’t face resistance…. But we are stating, firmly, that it will be worth it!
(Similarly, don’t go too far in the other direction – we ain’t here to promote selfishness!)
So, top tips to prevent your people-pleasing tendencies from ruling the roost?
Practice saying no.
It sounds so simple but so often we agree to things that we don’t actually want (and then feel secretly resentfulafterwards. It’s time to get honest and politely say ‘no thanks’ to a few bits and bobs.
Start with the teeny weeny things: for instance, a friend moves your lunch date to an inconvenient time for you. There’s no point slogging your guts out to rearrange your plans just because she wants to change the date to fit her schedule.
We’re not saying don’t make an effort for your nearest and dearest, but your calendar is just as valid and important as hers– there’s no need to make unnecessary challenges for yourself. If it’s too difficult or awkward for you, just say ‘no can do, sorry’.
Start reassuring yourself that following the path you know is right for your life is a good thing - even if the rest of the world doesn’t necessarily pat you on the back or validate your decision. On cold wintery mornings when the going is getting tough, look in the mirror and tell yourself out loud that you believe in yourself. You’re on your path, baby.
Make a list of everyone in your life.
Which friends do you want to give more time and energy to?
Which ‘friends’ do you wish you had some distance from?
If you feel like you’re in a one-way friendship that is heading to destination Nowhere or an acquaintance is consistently letting youdown, then breakaway for a little while. See how it feels to have some space. If they’re worth keeping in your life, they’ll make sure they get your attention again or come back round when the timing is right.
(*NB. During a friendship cleanse, no drama or bad-mouthing is necessary.*)
Interests and hobbies.
Been wanting to take up tight-rope walking lessons all your life but can’t drag your bezza along? Then go it alone. You’ll make new friends with the very same passion as you at the circus! So often we feel we can’t do things unless our mate or boyfriend tags along too, when in reality there’s nothing from stopping us doing it alone (*hastily musters courage…)
Be kind…but equally as important, be kind to yourself.
Hope this helps!
Persia & Joey
Image: Sean Scheidt