Most people are taught as children to have good manners, do as you are told and don’t hurt anyone’s feelings. Oh and if you can’t hurt anyone’s feelings then you have to accept that your feelings may get hurt, but that is okay because they don’t matter.
What is deemed good manners often involves other people invading your personal boundaries. And if you follow that code, you aren’t allowed to set boundaries. And that is wrong.
The Downside Of People Pleasing
When you people please, not only do you get hurt but you don’t get a chance to do what you want to do because someone else frequently steps over your boundaries and prevents you from being who you want to be.
Sometimes people learn to people please because of the family environment they grow up in. When there is trauma you learn to do whatever keeps you safe. So you people please.
Narcissistic parents cause a lot of harm by making you responsible for making them happy. So you constantly second guess what you need to do to make them happy.
Becoming Addicted To Being Liked Because Your Truth Says You Don’t Matter
People pleasers can also become addicted to being liked by others and may even learn manipulative behaviours as well as people pleasing.
Behind people pleasing is the message that you and your needs don’t matter. That the things you want to do and the person you want to be is unimportant.
People Pleasing And Healthy Boundaries Can’t Co-exist
One of the problems with people pleasing to everyone is that you set boundaries with people that are very small and people don’t necessarily know they are encroaching on your boundaries. Inevitably you reach a point where you explode with frustration and anger. The other person may be shocked and surprised, not having realised they had encroached on a boundary.
Remember, you set boundaries and you only have to gently ask a healthy person not to do that if you want to set a boundary. If you say nothing then you have given permission to that person to breach that boundary.
An Example Of When People Pleasing Became An Issue
A classic example I saw years ago was when I was working in an office. One of the other team members would walk past the desk of another team member and constantly take her pencils and pens to use. The team member said nothing.
Privately she would complain to the rest of us about it. When it was suggested to her that she ask the other person to stop borrowing her pencils and pens she replied she couldn’t possibly. That would mean she wasn’t being a good team member.
One day she needed to write something down and discovered she had no writing implements on her desk. She went to the other person and exploded in anger. The other person was shocked. She had no idea her borrowing of pens/pencils was a problem.
That is the risk of people pleasing.
The Risks of People Pleasing
The team member in my example stayed up at night running over in her mind the way she should have spoken to the other staff member.
She fantasised about telling this team member not to take her pens and pencils. She became irritable and short fused and often snapped at her family and fellow team members. But never to the one she was actually angry with.
Over time she became resentful of this other team member. Far from being a good team member she had become an ineffective team member because she wouldn’t set boundaries. Her hidden anger and resentment, coupled with her irritability, was causing problems in the team. This reflected badly on her, not the other team member.
Over a period of time, it resulted in an outburst at the most unpredictable moment. Her reaction was out of proportion to the issue at the time.
The Cost of Not Valuing Yourself Enough To Set Boundaries
Not valuing yourself will rob you of your self confidence and self worth. It will destroy your sense of who you are. It destroys your relationships with others because you are constantly looking over your shoulder, second guessing people and modifying your behaviour to keep others happy.
How Do I Change From People Pleasing To Setting Healthy Boundaries?
Learn to say no.
Learn it is acceptable to ask someone not to take something of yours, or rearrange your plans to suit themself, and to consider your needs when making a decision.
Learn to understand who you are. Learn your values, boundaries, and worth.
Learn to say no to what you don’t want to do and yes to what you do want to do.
If the fear of speaking up for yourself and setting a boundary becomes too great to overcome then seeking help from a counsellor can be helpful.
Can I Help?
If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with your people pleasing, please contact me on 0409396608 or email@example.com
I can guide you through the roots of your people pleasing and help you heal the pain there. Then I can help you learn your values, where you want your boundaries to be and to see yourself as worthwhile.
It takes a lot of courage and strength to learn that you are worthwhile, it is okay to love yourself, you are not responsible for other people’s disappointment and you can say no.
If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz