Ep. 11: How to Stop People Pleasing

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One of the most common issues my clients come to me for coaching on is their tendency to people-please.

On the one hand, we can feel good when we do things for other people. This is pure generosity and kindness.

But with people-pleasing, doing things for other people is the MAIN source of joy and often comes at the expense of self-love and self-care. And the intention behind it stems from insecurity and fear.

When we people please, we are not being authentic and living our truth. People pleasing leads to doing and saying things because you want to affect or change the way the people think about you. Or because you think their needs are more important than yours.

It can come in many forms — avoiding speaking up when someone says/does something racist to avoid their/your discomfort; not advocating for yourself in a partnership because you’re afraid they’ll love you less if you ask for what you need; avoiding being honest about something you don’t like that your partner does in bed…and MUCH more. (**To be clear, these situations are nuanced; I am NOT victim blaming here, or referring to the complex safety issues – experienced more acutely at work and in everyday life by BIPOC – that may necessitate certain strategic forms of carrying oneself. More on this in the pod;)

Can you see how people pleasing is also closely related to your level of confidence, to ziji? And to self-love?

All this people pleasing is also exhausting, because not being yourself and honoring your truth is fucking exhausting. You spend all day wondering how other people might see you or what they might think. You’re so afraid of disappointing other people, you end up being a version of yourself that isn’t you – not your whole self, anyway.

You put someone else’s happiness in front of yours. You prioritize their needs over your own.

And you know what?

Oftentimes these habits aren’t coming from an authentic place within us – a genuine, purely generous desire to make others happy – whether we realize this or not.

Instead, people pleasing comes from wanting to avoid a sense of anxiety or guilt if we say no, or wanting to avoid disappointing someone, or wanting to change how they think about you.

And despite our best intentions, sometimes the impact of our people pleasing can turn out to be the very thing we were trying so hard to avoid.

So the truth is, when you think you are doing something to make someone else feel better, to feel happier, it’s actually because of how YOU want to feel – or don’t want to feel.

When we are doing something because it makes us happy when we do it – and there’s no resentment or expectation that other people will respond to us or think of us in any particular way – that is LOVE. Not people pleasing.

Want to become a pro at recognizing the difference between the two? I invite you to dig in.

Here are my three challenges to you on your journey to quit people pleasing:

  1. Learn about what you love and what you want to do, what you crave and desire.
  2. Recognize your thoughts and which ones come up when you feel like lying or doing something you don’t want to do.
  3. Prioritize cultivating self-love, self-compassion, and an awareness of your inherent lovability and worth. And be willing to disappoint someone to stay true to yourself.

I invite you to do this NOW.

To begin, you’ve got to give yourself permission to be raw and wild and authentic…and brave.

Because you know what? You already deserve every drop of juice available in this one wild and precious life.

In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • How to stop putting other people’s needs and happiness in front of yours and start prioritizing your own
  • Why a big part of confidence and self love is being willing to be uncomfortable – and being willing to disappoint other people
  • How to start doing the work to see your worthiness in YOURSELF
  • Why there is such a strong association between people pleasing and being defined as a ‘nice’ or ‘good’ person – how to get past your own perception
  • How to stop conflating people pleasing with love
  • Why what you are doing to make someone else feel happier is actually because of how YOU want to feel – or don’t want to feel.
  • How to stop inadvertently rejecting yourself and change your thought patterns
  • Why the more we try to please others, the more we need others’ approval and depend on external validation
  • Tools to start honoring your truth, knowing what you want and stop deferring your needs Once. And. For. ALL


// Click here to read the original version of Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s poem, “The Invitation”: http://www.oriahmountaindreamer.com/index.php

// For more on the motivational triad, check out Episode 2 here: https://www.anaverzone.com/2-how-to-not-care-what-other-people-think-about-you/

// If you want more of this Jedi juice, head over to our Rebel Buddhist Facebook page and join the free private group where important conversations are happening in a safe place. There’s a weekly FB live called Wake the F*ck Up Wednesday, and it’s a place where you can ask questions that come up as you do this work – in all parts of your life.

// Enrollment is currently closed for Freedom School, my one-of-a-kind membership program that helps you free your mind and free your life. If you want to be the first to know when enrollment opens, go here to get on the waitlist: https://freedomschool.anaverzone.com/freedom-school