Put your hand up if you've ever been a little less than honest because you don't want to offend someone?
What about if you've downplayed how something they did (or didn't do) affected you?
Maybe you always let someone else make the plans, or choose the restaurant or the music?
Do You Aim to Please?
I will admit that I have spent more time than I'd like to know doing things to please other people. Sometimes it's literally for the direct approval and other times just to "make sure everyone is happy" or to make things smooth for others.
I blame my birth order. I'm a middle child. The eternal peacekeeper. The one in-between it all. But we must rise above the things nature gave us. Acknowledging where it's come from is one thing, but knowing what to do about it is another.
I'm not an advocate of being selfish jerk but we need to be aware of how our actions repeat messages to ourselves. We may have heard variations of these messages throughout our whole lives so starting to fight against the tide can feel unnatural at first. Not consider someone else's angle for once? Oh my god that feels foreign.
However, as much as I can tell myself I'm confident and strong, if I'm always giving way to the needs of others, what am I really telling myself with those actions?
Boundaries and Getting What We Deserve
I was on a call with a Desire Map client who was relaying how bringing her core desired feelings into her life created a situation which upset a longtime friend. In this scenario, my client was simply stating that she found it disrespectful that her friend stood her up and then didn't follow up for the rest of the day except through a very rehearsed voicemail apology.
My client was just setting boundaries and asking for what she deserves - a little (if not a lot of) respect. Just a little bit.
People pleasers have such a hard time creating boundaries on their time, their efforts and their lives. I know from experience. Because they are stepping outside of the role that so many people have seen them in for years, it shakes things up. Some people can't handle it.
We do deserve to be able to say no without feeling guilty. To carve out some time for ourselves. To not do one more little favour every time it's asked of us.
Practice Makes Perfect
Every boundary that is set - no matter the size - helps us get more comfortable doing this. Some are tougher to implement than others but keeping at it builds the skill. And it is a skill. So keep trying and approach it in different ways.
Sometimes we need to set boundaries with ourselves too. I know my over-achieving tendencies can take over in some cases so even knowing when to tell myself it's time to stop is a practice that I have to keep developing.
So for all the people pleasers still building these skills, keep up the good work. You'll get more comfortable with making yourself and your wellbeing a higher priority for you.
It takes time but soon you'll be saying no with gusto.