I know I’m not alone when I say I have a bad habit of people-pleasing. That underlying feeling that I have to make sure other people are happy and having fun, regardless of whether I am. I don’t know whether the English culture I grew up in made this worse, but I’m sure my most used phrase is “I don’t mind” closely followed by, “whatever you wanna do.” I find it impossible to actually say what I want and it’s really damn annoying.
Just say what you want – it’s easy, right?
Whenever I’ve spoken about this with non-people pleasers, they’ve always just told me to say what I want, it isn’t that difficult. But not only is this incredibly difficult but if I do, I end up feeling guilty and stressed. So, while I wished it was this damn simple, it’s obviously not that easy to change.
The reason it’s so difficult, and why the advice to just say what you want doesn’t work, is because you need to change your beliefs and mindset.
So, how do you change your mindset surrounding people-pleasing?
It’s nicer to say what you want than to continue people-pleasing
People pleasers often think they’re selfless and kind people, but actually it’s selfish. You are pleasing people to feel like a good person as well as avoid negative emotions that arise from telling people no.
As difficult as it is, it’s important we do the work to stop people-pleasing and start saying what we really mean and want.
A recent conversation with a friend gave me a shift in perspective that I needed to get a grip on it. She told me she hates when people say “I don’t mind” or pretend they want to do something that they don’t want to. You can tell when someone is doing something they don’t want to and it ruins the experience for the other person.
I realised people-pleasing not only forced me to do shit I didn’t want to but was also annoying the other person. So, not actually pleasing them?! People prefer if you say what you want rather than lie because if you don’t want to do it, they can find someone who does.
You’re continually telling yourself you’re not important
When you do things you don’t want to, or you can’t express your needs, you’re telling your subconscious you’re not important. That what you desire, need and love isn’t as important as someone else’s needs. On top of this, it also impairs your ability to actually make decisions. When you’re used to letting other people make decisions for you, it becomes almost impossible to make one yourself, because you don’t trust your own judgements.
Stop people-pleasing and start being kind to yourself & others
To re-cap, people-pleasing doesn’t actually benefit anyone. It is often more annoying for other people who just wished you’d say what you want. It also means that you’re self-worth, decision making, and self-love are continually being reduced.
Next time you find yourself agreeing to do something you don’t want to, or giving your power to someone else, remember they’d rather you say what you want. Once you build up this skill you’re going to start feeling way more confident in yourself and you’ll be happier!
It’s a work in progress, but we’re on this journey together! I believe in you.