This blog post is about a topic close to my heart, because I think a lot of people (including myself) struggle with the choice between pleasing others and doing what we want to do. Astrology is my passion but was and even now I am strongly criticized for making it my career choice. Initially, I used to get rattled but not anymore. Maybe you’re wondering, okay Sunita, “What’s your point and where are you going with this?” Well, there is absolutely nothing wrong with pleasing people (how can I say that’s wrong??) I am writing this post in hope that I can help some of you break free from this awful addiction of pleasing others and live your life more liberating and effectively with a freedom you never thought possible. The fact is, people pleasing isn’t about pleasing others, but fending off our fear of rejection and restricts us from enjoying our life.
When our People-Pleasing pattern is activated, we may unknowingly give charge and control of our life in others hand. We often fail to recognize how. Often people-pleasing is so deeply ingrained that we don't even notice we are doing it. We are raised to take care of other people (and for good reason) and to seek others’ approval or else be viewed as selfish. Of course, truly selfish people don't worry that they're being selfish, in fact they don't care. We’re raised to be nice. Well, niceness is safe and excellent at maintaining the status quo in life but deadly if you want to accomplish anything of significance and important in life. One of the reasons successful people sometimes appear or come across like ‘uncaring’ is because they’ve learned there are far more important things in this world than people pleasing. Political leaders can’t lead if they cannot make tough decisions with a broader vision for benefit of larger public. Not only in this real world but even on social network we indulge in this people pleasing pattern (on Facebook we want more ‘Likes’, on twitter more ‘retweets’, just to name a few). It's a deeply ingrained habit with its roots in the way we view ourselves and the world.
One of the great misconceptions among people pleasers is this idea that we’re ‘good people’ who are just trying to make everybody happy. There is a difference between goodwill and people pleasing.
Now, to know whether we fit into this ‘please other’ category or not? If, any of below given statements fit you in certain situations (meaning not always) you may have a People-Pleaser Pattern:
- You want people (friends/relative/colleagues/boss/clients) to think good about you and in general like you.
- You look for other people’s approval.
- You often find yourself caught up in what other people think and sometimes may even lose sleep over it.
- You try to be nice rather than expressing how you really feel.
- You try to fit in most of the time.
- You feel very uncomfortable when someone disapproves of your actions or thinks badly about you.
- You prefer to be quiet than to express your feelings when they are different from someone who is close to you and this is not because you will hurt them but you don’t want to portray yourself as negative person.
- You are complimenting and saying nice things to others and in extreme cases even give gifts with the intention to be in their good books (yes, this happens!)
- Your thought: is: How can I please him/her? How can I get him/her to stop being upset with me?
Look back at your life and try to identify when you started to do this.
Are you making important personal, professional or monetary decisions based on ‘what would people think’?
People-pleasing is a no-win situation, they will criticize you if you are a failure, but they will also criticize you if you’re a success. Now how to get out of this people pleasing pattern? I agree it’s tough, and it takes a lot of working at for those of us who are naturally people-pleasers. Being aware of this habit may also help overcoming. As a spiritual person I think religious and cultural values are hugely important in our lives. And prayer, of course, is always a great source of mental strength and support in overcoming negative habits. A thought: - in life obviously we will meet people with different values and concerns than we do, and if we don’t agree on everything, so what! Just because someone disagrees with us, it doesn’t mean we conform to their ideas.
Life should be an adventure and a beautiful mystical journey, a leap into the unknown, filled with many beautiful possibilities, an opportunity to do something and trying to please everyone will not be a fulfilling experience.