After a long winter, Spring has finally arrived. The season often associated with renewal and rebirth is a great time to reconnect with yourself and identify what’s stopping you from being your most amazing self. One of the most common obstacles that people, especially mothers, identify with is being a People Pleaser.
People Pleasing is a dangerous affliction. People Pleasers (PP’s) find their way to my office for counseling on a regular basis. Often times they feel tired, angry, and resentful. They are always good people who are trying to live a happy life and find themselves in the web of “People Pleasing”. What does this look like? PP’s experience many symptoms.
PP’s have a tendency to:
- Put everyone else’s needs before their own.
- Feel that others feelings are more important than theirs.
- Have the “overdo” disease. Overdo everything; over work, over give, etc.
- Be a super Mom – be class mother, agree to head up every committee, volunteer in every organization they are involved in and coach every team that their children participate on.
- Host all the holiday celebrations.
Unfortunately, what also comes along with the PP’s are negative feelings that arise from constant overdoing. They have a tendency to feel angry, resentful, and very tired; they will often get physically ill because it’s only way they will allow themselves to slow down and relax. PP’s also get attached to “Please Me’s” (PM’s).
PM’s are those people in your life that will do anything to get what they want. They have no problem pushing for the most they can get out of you. If people pleasing were on a spectrum, PP’s would be on one end and PM’s would be on the other. PM’s push PP’s to the limit. In fact, it usually takes a “really” extreme PM to push a chronic PP to get help. PM’s help PP’s to say “no” – which by the way is a complete sentence.
Children fall into the category of PM’s and help us to learn how to become more balanced on the people pleasing scale. For chronic PP’s it takes practice to remember to consider yourself first. PP’s first think of everyone else and do not consider how a PM’s request will affect them.
Here are some PP remedies:
- Take time for YOU every day, even if it is 5 minutes a day. Now that the weather is getting nicer, get out in nature and just BREATHE.
- Take a time-out before you answer yes or no to a request. Consider your feelings and take the time to weigh out the situation and make a conscious decision about what you want to do.
- Ignore all backlash. Don’t buy into others “push back” or manipulations when you decide to set a boundary. They will get used to it. This is when your children may tantrum. IGNORE.
- Honor the feelings that may come up around this and spend some reflective time trying to understand why you have a hard time giving to yourself. You may have feelings of un-worthiness, or not feeling good enough. It’s ok. Just Breathe.
- Lighten Up. You were not put on this earth to please others. Help, guide, counsel, maybe-but not please. You were put here to please “you”.
If you are having a difficult time sorting through the feelings that may surface-talk to someone about it. It will help. People pleasing is a habit and takes perseverance and practice to overcome. If you choose to give it up and release it, you will see how much more energy you will have as the anger and resentment dissipate.
Catherine Anesi, LCSW specializes in helping people transform their lives. She is a licensed clinical social worker and sees clients in her office in Croton. She also leads groups and retreats that aide in transformation. If you would like to contact her please email her at [email protected] or visit her website at www.catherineanesilcsw.com and facebook at Catherine Anesi, LCSW, RM.