Some blog visitors asked me to write about how I have overcome or deal with my people pleasing tendencies.
The first thing I want to say is that it has not been easy and I am "in recovery", not "recovered." I also wanted to add that I do seek professional help when I need. No shame on that.
My people pleasing is tightly attached to my perfectionism. Although it is a good thing to strive for excellence, it is exhausting to strive for perfection. And as we all know, it is a lost battle.
Here is a list, albeit not complete, of behavioral changes I have adopted to deal with my people pleasing tendencies:
- You are not as important as you think: this is not intended to put you down, but it is a compelling argument. We feel the world's eyes are on us. Truth is people are very busy with their own problems to be paying attention to everything you do.
- People are more forgiving than you think: have you ever been in a situation where someone said something stupid, made a mistake, had stage fright while public speaking? how did you react? Most of the time, we are very kind to others' shortcomings. Most people are like that towards you too.
Little project I am working on
- There is always someone somewhere who will hate your guts no matter what: No matter how hard you try, how nice you are, how accommodating you may be towards someone else's needs, or how polite, there is someone somewhere who will not like you. And you know what?? It is ok. I am sure, you have someone in your life who likes you. Someone who matters, such as your family and your true friends. Focus your energy on those people.
- Fake it until you make it: this one, although it may sound disingenuous, works more often than not. As a species, we are gregarious and respond to the way the community responds to us. Saying no, holding your body and head up may feel uncomfortable at first, but as you see people reacting to you differently, it will become easier. People may not like you, but they will respect you.
- It takes as much energy to make yourself miserable as it does to make yourself happy: Do you have that voice criticizing you for a little mistake you made at work, for saying something you rather not have said, or replaying a scene in your head for not having had a comeback to someone who said something rude to you? I think we all have had those moments to one degree or another. But some of us will beat ourselves for a pulp for days. If your brain can repeat over and over again that you are stupid for making a mistake, or make you feel less than sharp for not having the perfect comeback, then your brain can also say kind things to yourself. Your brain can say that you tried your best, or that you learned from a mistake you made. Sure you will say "easier said than done" and I completely agree with you. I am the queen of negative self talk. But I use some techniques that are effective to me, such as playing music that makes me feel happy and light, talking back to that voice in my head and tell it to shut the hell up (I swear I am not certifiable ;-), or I just put the noise in the background, until I don't hear it anymore.
- Say no: practice in front of the mirror until it rolls off your tongue. Or simply reply "I need to check my schedule." Do not over explain. Those who respect you will respect your limits.
- Put things into perspective: you will die. I am not trying to be morbid, but no matter what you do, how hard you try, how good or bad you are, you will die. There is no statement more absolute than the reality of our deaths. When you realize you have this one life to live, some of these issues start to look less important.
Life is too short for a long story- Mary Wortley Montagu