People pleasing is such an underrated occurrence that is either rarely spoken about or a thing not many of us are even aware that we do. I feel that this sort of behaviour is something we learn in our lives to fill a deep void from within. It comes from a place of lack and emptiness and we try to fill it up by moulding ourselves into a being that we feel others may like or approve of. People pleasing is one of the most common self sabotaging behaviours. So I would like to shed some light on the matter in the hopes to help myself and others to work toward stepping out of this behaviour and into a more authentic and fulfilling way of being.
So what may people pleasing look like? It can vary from person to person… but it would most commonly be trying to fit in with the crowd, trying to be like others, or be liked by others. Going along with trends not because we genuinely like them, but because we think others may like them. Wearing clothes you feel others may approve of without stopping to ask yourself whether you like them. Ordering food on a menu based on what others around you are eating. Changing your accent to fit in with the crowd around you as you are afraid to stand out and be different, all the while stepping further and further away from yourself. Saying things or agreeing with other’s opinions without taking the time to ask yourself what your opinions on the matter may be. Doing something only because you know that if you don’t, it would inconvenience the other person and so you put their needs before your own. Honestly, the list goes on and on.
There are so many different forms and fashions, it is hard to keep up with them all! And maybe a few of these examples sound familiar to you. People pleasing is something that we all know exists but for some reason, none of us talk about it. Why is that? Why are we not promoting our own individuality? The more we please others, the more we move further away from ourselves. When we start to lose ourselves, when we do not even recognise ourselves… There will definitely come a point of overwhelm for the fact that you are so lost, you don’t even know who you are anymore. What your likes or dislikes are, what clothes you like to wear, what your actual accent may sound like (the one you hear in your head), your opinions and observations that are true to you and not someone else. It all starts with awareness and a gentle curiosity for wanting to get to know yourself.
So how do we start to get to know ourselves? We start by asking ourselves the most basic questions. If you were to block everyone else out, if you knew you wouldn’t be judged and if you had no worries about fitting in… This can be done in solitude. It could be a trivia of different questions. You can get creative with it. When you meet someone for the first time, what would you ask them? How would you try to get to know them? Then start to do the same for yourself. You can start with your likes and dislikes, then move on to your opinions on certain matters. What are your values as a person? What standards would you like to live by? How would you like others to treat you, and then try and incorporate that into how you interact with others.
It all comes down to going on a quest to not only find yourself and who you are but also in loving yourself and every part that you discover. It’s about getting to know yourself. You could be at the age of 50 and still not truly know who you are. It is a process, but one of such deep satisfaction and loving acceptance, it is definitely worth it. When you start to accept who you are as a person, you won’t care whether other people accept you or not. You will reach a stage where you will have so much self worth and respect for yourself where you can understand that others opinions, ways of being may differ to you. You could either learn to compromise and live with that or you could understand and let them go with the understanding that they are not your type of person. That there are so many people in this world, you cannot possibly be liked by everyone or be similar to everyone. To understand that you will find your own people. And when you start to own who you are… you start to attract people who are compatible to who that is. You start to attract people who are also authentically true to themselves too, paving a way for a more fulfilling, happy and free life. Does that not sound great?
This journey requires a lot of awareness on the acceptance of who you are. You can only truly accept all parts of you when you love all parts of you. Especially the parts that are no way near perfect. To say “I love myself… quirks and all” That’s what makes you special, and sets you apart from others. Sometimes we feel comfort in fitting in as we do not like the added attention we get when we start to become truly authentic. Authenticity is so attractive to people because more often than not, it is what so many people crave but don’t realise that they can too be true to themselves and live in their authenticity. Why not? So it starts with one, who inspires another and then another… all in all spurring on a path for others to really dive deep within themselves to discover and get to know who they truly are and to love and accept themselves for it.
So I hope you enjoy the beauty of getting to know yourself, to befriend yourself, enjoy your own company, understand yourself. It is a beautiful process, and I do know that we all need to give ourselves a little more attentive kindness and nourishment along the way.