Are you a “people pleaser”?
I know we’ve all heard the term before and if you’re reading this, perhaps you call yourself a “people pleaser”… but what does this really mean?
For me, people pleasing means saying yes beyond my limits from a place of fear.
For example, if my calendar is full (by the way, a “full calendar” includes margin — blank space does NOT = “I should say yes to all requests for this time”) and I have people asking me to do things beyond what I can say yes to, people pleasing might look like saying yes for fear that I might disappoint someone.
However, if *I know* that I am at my limit and that saying yes to more would put me over the edge, spread me thin and put me in a place where I feel stressed and overwhelmed daily, that’s not okay.
A question I want to beg of us is this: If we are trying to please everyone else, who is trying to please us?
Often, we’re leaving ourselves behind entirely and we don’t even realize it. That’s not anyone else’s issue, this is our issue.
So, why is it not good if we’re overextending ourselves beyond our limits? When we do that, we’re stressed, spread thin, and we cannot give attention to the most important things right in front of us (marriage, family, big life changes that need our attention, etc).
When I realize that I’ve over committed myself (I try to practice not doing this) I need to hit reverse, back-up, and check-in with the top five most important areas for me to say yes at THIS time. Knowing those most important areas to say “YES” to will show me where I need to say “NO.”
I often find that people pleasing problems are really YES and NO problems.
Here are a few areas I want you to check-in with yourself if you’re struggling with your own version of people pleasing:
- Where are you feeling spread thin or worn out?
- Look at your calendar. Is there anything coming up that you feel resentful about?
- Who are the few most important and closest people in your life right now? Are you giving them the time you want to be giving them? (So often the people closest to us get our last when we’re in the habit of constantly pleasing and saying yes to others.)
The biggest action item for us people pleasers is that we slow down with our YES and our NO.
When someone asks something of you, say “I’ll get back to you.” Now, if you need to say no… don’t spend forever think of how you’ll say no. It’s often more simple than we make it. Find a way to say no as soon as possible, otherwise you’ll feel worried until you do. The goal here is the give yourself the space to make a thoughtful decision.
You don’t have to say yes to everything, worry if others are going to be upset with you if you say no, or constantly fear that you’re going to be missing out.
In order to slow down one thing you have to get comfortable with (or simply decide to be okay with) is that you might disappoint people sometimes.
This is okay. Chances are, most people you’re worried about saying no to will actually not hate you if you say no. Then there are the few who will be disappointed.
You have to decide that this is okay. “I will disappoint people sometimes, and that’s okay.” How does that feel to say? Is it okay? Are you freaked out? If you can make it not such a bad thing and not such a personal thing this will help you tremendously.
Think about where your time and your yes really COUNT right now.
Again, if we’re saying yes to everyone, we’re likely saying no to those closest to us (our kids, partners, etc).
Here’s what to do next:
- Grab a piece of paper and write out numbers 1-5
- Write down 5 areas you want to say YES to right now (marriage, kids, job, something big happening right now, a friend in need, etc…)
- Grab your calendar and look at where you’ve said yes
- Are there any areas outside of your top 5? Is there enough space for your top 5?
- Start saying NO to the areas that are outside of your top 5
To end, I just want to share that your YES and your NO will change through different life seasons.
For example, when my mom was sick with cancer, she was my number one. My marriage was still in my top 5, and so was my job and clients so I could keep my business afloat. Other than that, I had time to take care of me, and time for my very best friends.
I wasn’t out making a ton of new friends, I wasn’t saying yes to big trips that took me away from my mom, and I wasn’t making huge business decisions that would give me commitments that were bigger than I could (or wanted to) handle.
These were simply my limits for this season. Not forever. Consider the life season you’re in right now.
Let’s keep this conversation going! I want to hear from you:
- Where do you struggle most with people pleasing? Where are you struggling right now? Share with me, I’d love to continue talking through this.