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Being a tragic people pleaser from day dot saying “No” to people used to be really hard for me. I found the feeling is usually one of three things. Either you don’t want to let people down (urgh!), you don’t want them to think badly of you (argh…), or it’s a total FOMO (fear of missing out).
Can you relate?
Let me ask you - how many times in the past month have you said YES, when you really want to say NO? No doubt... there will be a few.
We all do it. Why can’t we just say “NO! I’m at capacity with life juggling my own commitments! ” (ha!)
Well, the reason is we like to “people please”.
We all strive to be good humans. Fundamentally you want to be kind and helpful, right? You want to be that person that people can always count on. In fact, you probably spend a lot of your time doing things for other people… to make yourself feel good. Yes? Because people’s opinions of you should matter, right?
Having a “servant’s heart” and being of service will absolutely make you feel good. However, doing it for the purpose of wanting someone else to LIKE you, INCLUDE you, LOVE you, or to change their OPINION of you… totally defeats the feel good purpose.
This may shock you - people pleasing (saying YES – when really you mean NO) is actually all about YOU having control.
It’s you trying to control someone else’s opinion of you. #truthbomb!
It is saying yes to someone for the sole reason that they will continue to like and respect you. Even when you don’t have the time and you desperately want to say no. Or sometimes you just do it to keep the peace, to smooth things over.
Ultimately to make THEM happy. Because their happiness must be more important than yours, right? Their opinion of you must mean more than your opinon of yourself, right?
Or perhaps you think when they are happy, it’s a flow on effect and you should be happy then too?
Actually no. It doesn’t work like that at all.
People pleasing leads to the polar opposite. RESENTMENT.
How many times have you done something for someone, and then when you’ve asked for that favour back the person was “too busy” and said no?! And you soon realise that not everyone is like you. Not everyone will drop their plans to assist you, to help you in a pinch, to “please” you.
Or perhaps they said yes and agreed to help you out… only they didn’t really put in as much effort as you did for them… or they didn’t do it to your standards?? Yep. Gotcha!
Resentment kicks in, a notch on the tally board. You become hurt and promise yourself you will not let that situation happen again, you’ll just do it yourself next time.
People pleasers have high expectations. We intrinsically expect to get back all that we give out. Most of the time, our expectations are not met.
If you are now becoming aware of the people pleasing pattern in your life - then here is where I can help – no favours expected back in return ;). When someone asks you for your help and you feel compelled but know it is going to throw your priorities out of wack - take 60 seconds to respond and first:
ASK YOURSELF 5 "PEOPLE PLEASING" QUESTIONS:
If you answered YES to any of these questions – then… just say NO! You are not doing it for the right reasons.
It is likely negative emotions like resentment, guilt, and fear of other people’s opinions of you will bubble up and fester in YOU. Save yourself the heartache today.
Honestly, people will find someone else to do that “really urgent, super important thing”.
As I shared in my last blog article self-medicating with busy there is something really powerful in the word NO. This may be a new concept for you – “No” can actually be a full sentence!
“No, I wish I could but I can’t help with that” - doesn’t have to be backed up with excuses, reasons, or an explanation. It’s just your answer.
The word No sets a boundary to protect your time and your energy.
It gives you the power and ability to make decisions for yourself. When you begin to take this power back and guard your time you will see that other people in your life start to do things for themselves and find other ways to accomplish things.
WOW! Imagine that.
It is OK to say NO! And to give up trying to control how people see you. WE are only ever responsible for ourselves. You cannot ever fully control people’s opinions or thoughts about you.
You are you. People will love you anyway. People always understand. If they don’t – then perhaps you should be looking at who you are spending time with?
Are they draining your energy and not respectful of YOUR time and your PRIORITIES?
Saying No is a learned skill… it will take practice.
Once you do it the first time then every time after that becomes a little easier.
And if it turns out that it’s just FOMO – then ask yourself, is there another time I can be involved when I have less on my plate? If the answer is yes, then give yourself a break and say no. If it’s a ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY… then say yes, and compromise – agree to cancel something else to make room.
Keeping your layers of “busy” within reason is they key to finding balance.
What’s the most important thing? YOU are the most important thing in your life.
Protect your time and your energy, to thrive.