Is People Pleasing Bad?

People pleasing is the act of honouring the needs of others...

People pleasing has become a bit of a buzz word in recent times and along with that it has been tainted with negativity….

If you have been hanging out with me for a while, you will know I tend to look at things a little differently…

People pleasing is no different….

Let me start with my own personal experience with people pleasing…

It started for me when I was born, yes you read that right, as soon as I was born I took it upon myself to please others…

My mum told me this story:

“You were such a placid and happy baby, very rare did you cry and one day I took you to see the health nurse and she told me that you were starving and I wasn’t feeding you enough.  I had no idea as you were so happy all the time, never crying for anything.”

Even as a newborn baby I wasn’t asking for my needs to be met, I was staying quiet to meet my mums needs.  I was the first baby she had been able to breastfeed (or what she thought) and clearly I didn’t want to burst that bubble for her.

Clearly honouring her needs ended up harming both of us, I wasn’t getting enough nutrition and she was led into a false sense of hope and in trouble from the health nurse and left feeling like she wasn’t a good mum.

So whilst I am sure it was all with good intention, it ended up causing more harm than good…

Do you put other people and their needs before yourself and your needs? 

People pleasing
It wasn’t till much later in my life that I really started to understand to effect of people pleasing both in my own life and those around me…
 
I can actually remember the exact moment that this realisation came through, I was driving and stopped at a traffic light…
 
All of a sudden I had this realisation that when I am people pleasing I am essentially hiding my personality, because when I am pleasing others, who I am isn’t able to be shown…
 
I am showing who I think I need to be and that changes depending on who I am surrounded by…
 
What reason do you think we do that?
 
People pleasing is a learned behaviour and one that you have adopted as a safety mechanism.
 
Pleasing others is a way of controlling your environment, helping you to dictate what is going to happen.
 
Now this can be an adopted behaviour when you have grown up in an environment where you have felt unsafe…
 
It can also be adopted when you are taught or grown up around “the good girl concept”…
 
These experiences can then get all tied up within your personality or what you think your personality is…
 
I hear from many of my private clients when we start to work on their people pleasing tendencies, that it is just who they are, they are kind and caring people…
 
Of course they are and that is a big part of their identity…
 
Something I have seen since people pleasing has become a buzz word is this narrative that people pleasers are weak and have this inability to stand up to others.
 
I can tell you from both my own personal experience and professional experience with my clients, this is so far from the truth…
 
I can very easily stand up for myself when I deem it necessary and my clients can also advocate for themselves very well…
 
People pleasers are not weak, being nice and kind is not weak.  It is a powerful part of your identity when used in an empowering way.

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What if you could change your people pleasing behaviours into a behaviour that empowers both you and others?

Something I learned being a mum to my daughters was to empower them to do things for themselves instead of doing it all for them.

A fine line between helping them to be independent, yet them knowing they have the support of their dad and I.

Introducing what I call the “People Pleasing Pathway”…

People Pleasing Pathway

The people pleasing pathway is a way in which you can support the people in your life, honouring both their needs and yours as well….

Instead of having them on your path or you on theirs, each of you have your own pathway…

A great way to describe it is, thinking about a small child who is led by their parent, the parent is in front of them, showing them the way…

As they get a little older, they don’t need to be led quite so much and this is the moment of transition and allowing the child to move onto their own path and now walk alongside them, instead of in front of them.

This allows you to share your caring and kind ways with those that you love but not in a disempowering sometimes stifling way…

This is how you separate out what may be learned behaviours and traumas to what is actually your true self and way of being.

To sum up my thoughts on people pleasing:

People pleasing isn’t all bad, it has both negative and positive components.

The important issue is to filter out the negative components that are stopping you from honouring your own needs and possibly affecting others by over-honouring their needs.

How do you do that?

You heal, heal the patterns, behaviours and traumas that are causing you to over-give and bring you to a place of empowerment.

I can help you to do that, it is important to feel safe in healing what has caused you to over-honour the needs of others.

I invite you to work with me privately, sessions available in person on the Gold Coast and online worldwide.

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Your guide: Nicole Ivens

Hi! I'm Nicole.

I am a Professional Counsellor & Certified Clinical EFT Practitioner and Spiritual Teacher.  I share articles to support you in Mind, Body & Soul.  Covering topics such as: Spirituality, Healing & Empowerment.

I also work with clients privately online utilising EFT Tapping to support them on their healing journey.

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