People pleasing is a strategy; it’s not love.
Love is genuine; people pleasing is manipulation.
I was having lunch with a friend the other day and she told me, while rolling her eyes, how much she hated sex with her boyfriend.
In fact, they didn’t really have much sex, and hadn’t for years.
Instead of telling him, she told me how much she despised and disrespected him for his withholding. She ‘pretended’ this was enough when with him. As I munched on my sandwich, she delved into her adventures with a much younger guy who she felt in control of, emotionally and sexually, while creating an image that wasn’t true either.
People pleasing is a form of control:
“You’ll like me or love me if I do this for you.”
“I need to feel okay, so I will give in and do what you want, even though I resent you.”
“If I take this action, you will owe me and you won’t return the favor, but I’ll keep score of the points and use it against you someday (or wait for the day you wake up!).”
“I expect the same in return.”
“I’m doing this so you’ll think I’m nice and when I ask you to do something distasteful, you’ll feel obligated to do so.”
“I have to do it. If I don’t, who else will?”
“I must sacrifice, otherwise I can’t make up for my childhood… or I’ll be thought of as selfish or a jerk.”
Any of these phrases sound familiar?
Like my friend, some of us do it to be liked, to get along to go along, to score points or because we feel obligated. It’s a way of trying to get validation in some capacity.
Most of us aren’t even aware we are doing it!!
It’s tiring to be dishonest with our intentions. We blame someone or something else for how we feel and for why we’re stuck as the ‘pleaser on steroids.’
We’re trying to control, but there is no love in control; it’s a false perception. We can never command the feelings of others like we think we do. If we really saw ourselves through the eyes of others, we would have a mixed bag… and then what would we do? Be a chameleon?
Ever felt like a fake or phony? Try to masquerade as a perfect example to others? How disconnected do you actually feel from who you truly are when you do? How insecure?
Believing we control others through an image (true or not) that we feel is acceptable can be a lifelong pursuit. It’s a prison of limitation, by living into this ‘image’ and not being true to ourselves; often we don’t know how we really feel because we’re afraid to go there.
People pleasing is a form of lying. It doesn’t make us happy. It’s a huge effort with no pay off… leaving us to feel frustration, resentment and non-fulfillment.
Real love requires authenticity. We have to connect to ourselves and do what we genuinely feel. Our relationships will definitely change, some for the better and some will become nonexistent.
Many of us lack a sense of self if we separate from the validation of others. It’s scary and it feels out of control! Digging into our feelings, we’ll find some pretty jacked up beliefs we have of ourselves and this world. This is where the journey begins.
Moving from fear to real love
In embodying real love we come to find true connection, trust in ourselves and life to give us what we need. It ceases to be a dance of control. Real love experienced through self-acceptance creates the foundation for it to show up with others.
Real love requires awareness and connection.
The next time you take an action or say words causing a physical reaction, STOP! Break through the autopilot pattern and ask why you’re going against yourself?
What do you really want to do? How do you really feel?
State it out loud. It may come out wonky or abrupt, but do this often and you’ll get into your deeper truth. Again, your REAL truth is about YOU–your beliefs, your patterns and connecting to the love within. It has nothing to do with the other person.
For more on this topic, please join me for my weekly radio show: People Pleasing and Why You’ll Never Win!