Hi. My name is Chaundell and I'm a People-Pleaser.
Well, I used to be that is. For many years, I spent a lot of my energy trying to make other people happy. This showed up in a lot of ways in my life, though I wasn't really aware of it up until about five years ago. I didn't identify as a people-pleaser at first. In fact, many of the beliefs and behaviors that were causing resentment and holding me back from being happy, I had trained myself to believe were good.
I was really good at making people feel happy/loved/cared for.
I could get along with pretty much everyone.
I was high achieving and could get a lot done.
I was great at conflict resolution.
I was really good at making people happy because I did what they wanted at the expense of my own happiness.
I got along with everyone because I adapted to their likes, dislikes, or preferences.
I used high-achieving as a way to make more people happy and didn't say no to other people's requests, even if I didn't really want to do it.
I was great at conflict resolution because I would give in to the other person, rather than stand up for what I wanted or believed in.
While I was telling myself that these things were "good", I also felt a lot of resentment and loneliness. Not to mention that I was EXHAUSTED! It requires a lot of effort and energy to keep people happy. Once I realized that these behaviors were the cause of my unhappiness, I had to start making mental shifts in order to change the direction of my life. Here are three beliefs that I have helped me the most as a recovering people-pleaser. I intentionally think these thoughts when I'm faced with situations where my initial reaction will be to people-please. They have helped me slow down, get clear about what I want, and then make the most authentic choice.
1. "It's not my job to make other people happy"
Many of us are conditioned to believe that we can control other people's emotions. We're told things like, "You hurt her feelings, " or "That makes me so happy," and we believe that we are the ones who made them feel those things. But the truth is that we cannot control other's emotions. We can influence them, what we say and do does affect people, but ultimately that person gets to decide how they want to interpret our words and actions, and as a result, their emotions. There were many times where I make decisions based on how I think the other person will feel. This became particularly hard when I would do something to try and make someone happy, but they would still be angry or upset. I would take that on myself; that I was the one who did something wrong. When I remember that I don't actually control other's emotions, I can focus on the greater questions: "Who do I want to be? How do I want to show up in this situation?"
2. "I'm responsible for my own life adventure"
Just as it's not my job to make other people happy, it's also not other people's job to make me happy. Part of the reason that I would people-please was to get love and acceptance from other people. When they were happy, I could feel happy. When they were happy with what I did for them, I felt worthy of that love. My happiness ended up being dependent on how well I was pleasing other people. But just I like I don't have control over other people's emotions, other people don't have control over my emotions. If I want to be happy, I have to decide to be happy. When I remind myself that I am responsible for my happiness, I don't have to depend on that happiness coming from other people; it comes from me deciding to be happy and there are a lot of ways to feel happy. Sometimes my happiness will still come from helping someone else, but in the times where I don't want to do something or if someone else decides not to be happy, I know that I can still choose to be happy if I am showing up as the person that I want to be and doing what I believe to be right.
3. "I choose love"
I would often say yes to doing things even when I didn't want to do them. I call this acting out of obligation. I would have a hard time saying no to anyone because I was afraid of causing conflict or disappointing them. This even included the door-to-door salesman selling the really expensive vacuum cleaner that I was zero percent interested in buying. Those salesman love people pleasers. What's interesting is that I would say yes to requests because I was trying to be loving, yet I often felt resentful about it. In the end, I realized that saying yes to something I didn't want to do is not loving and it actually created feelings that were the exact opposite of love. That's not who I want to be. I want to choose love as much as possible. The belief that I choose love reminds me that saying no is ok and sometimes it's the most loving thing I can do. Not only to show love for myself, but so that I can continue feeling love, rather than resentment, towards the other person.
As I applied these three beliefs to my life, I noticed that I started to feel happier. I was able to feel more love for myself as well as feel more love for other people. By saying no to the things that I don't want to do, I am able to have the energy to fully show up for the things that I want to say yes to! If you are a people-pleaser or recovering people-pleaser, I hope these beliefs help you as much as they've helped me.
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