Do you find yourself trying to make other people happy, feel comfortable, feel good about who you are or for people to like some version of you but all of this comes at our own expense? Do you often feel anxious, stressed and overwhelmed about what to do because you're constantly worried what others will think about you or worried others may not be happy or comfortable if you do something? Do you find yourself feeling guilty for doing almost anything for yourself? These are signs that you are a people pleaser.
In this short but powerful episode, I'm talking all things people pleasing. If you have been showing up as a people pleaser know that when you people please you are giving up on acting on your own behalf and being an advocate for your own wants and needs.
Listen in as I talk about why we show up as people pleasers and what we can do to find our way our of being a people pleaser and instead learn to show up for ourselves.
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Are you tired of putting yourself last? Do you always feel like you get the shit end of the stick when it comes to your wants and needs? Do you feel guilty any time you make time for yourself, buy yourself something or go after any kind of dream? These are all signs of people pleasing and there is a way out. I can show you how. Schedule your free consult by clicking here.
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Full Episode Transcript:
I’m your host, Karin Nelson and you’re listening to Becoming You Again, episode number 78.
Welcome to becoming You Again. The podcast to help you with your mental and emotional wellbeing during and after divorce. This is where you learn to overcome the trauma of your divorce by reconnecting with yourself, creating lasting emotional resilience and living a truly independent life so your life will be even better than when you were married. I’m your host Karin Nelson.
Hi. Welcome back to Becoming You Again. I’m so happy that you’re here listening to this, working on yourself. That is a beautiful thing. And it’s my birthday week. Yes I am one of those December babies, a Sagittarius and I am turning 45 in a few days. Wow! Wow! 45. That’s crazy to even think about. But I have been thinking about my birthday and I’ve realized I have made some pretty amazing changes in my life leading up to these 45 years, especially over the last six or so years. I got divorced when I was 39 and I have really used the last six years to reconnect with myself and kind of heal from some of the ways that I was living my life that I didn’t realize at the time was really detrimental to me. And one of the things that I realized is that I was a huge people pleaser. This is something that I am still working on. I am not perfect at it. I still do want to please people in my life that I recognize now more than ever that it is up to me to decide whether or not trying to please people or loving people in a way where I do want them to be happy and I do want them to feel comfortable isn’t coming at the expense of my own well-being, at the expense of my own needs and my own desires.
So I wanted to talk about that today, people pleasing. Because as a woman, I know that probably the majority of women listening to this podcast have identified (or maybe still identify) themselves as a people pleaser. People pleasing – or should we say other people pleasing is when you are trying to make other people happy or feel good about who we are or like us but it comes at our own expense. And if you have been raised as a women in today’s society then there has been a lot of conditioning going on around people pleasing, and you probably don’t even know this happening to you.
Women in today’s society are taught through very subtle means that it is our job to make other people feel comfortable. It is our job to make other people feel happy and we are taught to look at our own wants and our own needs as not as important. We are taught to kind of undervalue our own experiences and our own opinions. We are kind of just how this idea of you better just get along. Don’t be too loud. Don’t be too vocal. Definitely don’t be too opinionated about things and especially don’t make waves.
So I want you to think about this for a minute. Think about a woman who voices her opinion or who disagrees with something and makes that disagreement known. That woman is often labeled as bitchy or aggressive, or loud or catty. A the label unfortunately often comes from men. But also other women use this label toward women as well.
And when I think about this it reminds me of the Seinfeld episode, maybe you have seen it, where a woman in Elaine’s office walks past her and two of her coworkers and she doesn’t swing her arms when she walks. And Elaine and a few men are standing together as she passes by and the men start making comments about how weird it is and one guy says something like well her arms are just hanging there like salamis. And then the other guy is like, yeah, she’s walking like an orangutang. And Elaine comes back and says, “Better call the zoo.” Literally in the voice that I just said. Just deadpanned. Somebody better call the zoo. And both men looked at Elaine and go reer. And then they like his like she is a cat and then they walk away calling her very catty. And this is what is really interesting. The men are looked at as correct in what they were saying. Like they were just making an observation of this woman. And then Elaine voices her opinion and she is immediately judged as catty, as the bitch of the group, as the judgmental one of the group. Now of course Seinfeld, it’s a silly example because everything is over exaggerated in that show, right. But they do it to prove a point. To prove the point that these things in society they really truly do exist and it is our job to make note of them and to make the changes in our own lives where we want to.
So with this idea of women who are too vocal, too opinionated, we are being charged as catty and bitchy and overbearing and aggressive, it kind of teaches us that it is better if we hold back. It is better if we not speak up. It is better to be quiet and to just go along with how things are. Right. And then we do that and this behavior then becomes part of our existence. We want people to like us. We don’t want to be labeled as bitchy or aggressive or catty. We want people to feel good around us. We want to fit into the crowd. Right. Like for example think about being in the playground with your kids and there is all the other moms there to and all those moms are talking about how amazing their kids are and my kid is in tae kwon do and my kid is in ballet and they are doing so amazing and they are getting all A’s in school and you don’t want to speak up because your child is a holy terror and is getting D’s and is coming home angry and upset all the time. And so you pretend and you agree. You don’t want to speak up because that is embarrassing and they might have thoughts about you. Right. Or we want others to feel comfortable, even if that means that we feel uncomfortable. Like when your ex continues to walk into your house unannounced and stick around for hours, but you don’t want to tell him to stop because you don’t want to have that uncomfortable conversation. Or he might think something bad about you or he might tell the kids something bad about you. And so instead we show up in this people pleasing manner to try and control all of these outside things that we can’t actually control.
When you are people pleasing you are in a state of constant stress. Because you are trying to keep others happy so that you can hopefully can also be happy and you’re also trying to stay safe emotionally. But trying to control how others feel is an impossible task. We know this. Right. On the surface level when we really think about it and we are logical about it we know we can’t control how other people feel. But when we are in the moments it is not as easy as remembering that we can’t control how other people feel. We still try to. That is why we people please. And because this is an impossible task our underlying stress response kicks in while we are people pleasing because we are trying to guess what we might be able to do to make the other person happy. But we are also trying to force ourselves to be happy in situations when internally our thoughts are just not creating happiness.
A common factor of people pleasing is you want others to have what they want but it is to the detriment of our own wants. If you will choose something to try and make someone else happy but it’s not what you want. It’s not what you would choose, and then you are the one feeling unhappy or uncomfortable at the expense of allowing them to hopefully feel happy in this experience, in this moment, in choosing the same.
For example, when I was married I was a huge, huge people pleaser. And at one point later in my marriage, this is about, I think it was the summer before we decided to call quits on things. My husband had become an ultra marathon runner. He had been doing this for the last few years. But at one point in our marriage he asked me if I would like to enter a trail series run with him, and basically that meant three runs over three months during the summer and those runs progressively got longer. It was like a 5K, a 10K and then a half marathon or something. I was desperate to make him happy. I was in a place where I felt completely disconnected from him and our marriage and so being the people pleaser that I was I said yes let’s do this. I wasn’t a trail runner. I didn’t enjoy running. I think the most that I would run a couple of times a week was like 3 to 4 miles, maybe, all on road. And I only did that because I knew that running burn more calories than walking in the same amount of time. It wasn’t like I did it because I enjoyed it. It wasn’t like I got a high from it. I didn’t enjoy it. I was a slow runner. I am a slow runner. And it’s never been something that I have been passionate about like he was. He was an ultramarathon runner. Of course he loved it. Right. Only people who love running become ultramarathon runners. But I was desperate to try and make them happy. I was still within the space of believing that if he was happy than I would be happy. I hadn’t quite understood or learned that that was not the case at all. And so I said yes to something that I didn’t want to do and I was completely unprepared to do this series. And of course we didn’t even run it together because he is at the front of the pack running and coming in first or second or toward the front and I am way at the back, coming in hours and hours after, almost last every single time. Right at the end of every single race. But this is what we do. Right. We make ourselves uncomfortable and do things that we don’t want to do at all in an attempt to make others like us and to make others happy so that hopefully maybe we will be happy in their shadow, in the presence. Their happiness will rub off on us. So we basically lie to ourselves and then we are lying to them as well.
And if you are hearing this and you are recognizing this in yourself and you have been showing up as a people pleaser in your life just know that when you people please you are giving up on acting on your own behalf. You are giving up on being the advocate for yourself and for your wants and your needs, and you are trying to possibly have some control or influence on someone else’s thoughts and feelings, which again is never truly never possible in any way. And the longer you continue to people please, the less confident in yourself you will feel. And the less confident you will feel in your choices and the less connected you appeal to yourself and knowing what your own wants and your own needs are. You are definitely disconnected from yourself. You are in a constant stress response date. You are creating so much anxiety, so much panic, so much worry for yourself trying to control something that is completely outside your control which is someone else’s thoughts and emotions and at the same time you are completely discounting your own thoughts and emotions, believing that they are just not as important as this other persons comfort and happiness.
So the way out of people pleasing is to get curious about what it is that you want others to think about you. Because remember one of the main reasons we do it is to get others to feel good about us or like us. So what specifically do you want those people to think about you? And then your work here is to start to think and believe those things about yourself. I would brainstorm here. I would write out everything you want people to be thinking about you. And then I would pick one and then come up with stepping stone thought options and then begin the process of believing that new thought about yourself. You are worthy of happiness just as much as anyone else on this planet. Your wants and your needs hold value just as much as anyone else on this planet. But it’s not someone else’s responsibility to value you, to value your wants and your needs or to even make you happy. That is fully your responsibility. And I have really, really amazing news for you, you’re totally capable of making it happen. It starts with letting go of people pleasing.
Alright my friends that is what I have for you today. I will talk to you next week.
If you like what you’re learning on the podcast and you’re ready to create lasting change and results in your life then you need to be working 1:1 with Karin as your divorce coach. This is where we take everything you’re learning in the podcast and 10x it with implementation and weekly coaching where you start to see change in yourself and your life immediately. To find out more about how work exclusively with Karin go to www.karinnelsoncoaching.com . That’s www dot Karin nelson coaching dot com.
Thanks for listening. If this podcast episode agreed with you in any way, please take a minute to follow and give it a rating wherever you listen to podcasts. And for more details about how I can help you live an even better life than when you were married, make sure to check out the full show notes by clicking the link in the description.