Ep #267 The Unfiltered Truth About People Pleasing

Have you ever gotten caught up in people pleasing behavior? 

In this episode of The Boss Up Podcast, I’m opening up about struggle with people pleasing, defining it, explaining why it’s harmful, and offering guidance on how to quit this behavior. 

I’m sharing the childhood memory that locked me into people pleasing patterns, and how it shaped my tendency to overcompensate in relationships. 

What You’ll Learn:

  • The root causes of people pleasing.

  • How it effects personal well-being and authenticity in relationships.

  • Why it’s best to take responsibility for our own needs instead of masking them with dishonesty. 

  • The impact of people pleasing on both mental health and physical symptoms, including the link to chronic illness.

  • How to end this cycle and assess your own behaviors and motivations including with clients (especially if you’re a coach or therapist).

I invite you to continue the conversation in the free Boss Up Facebook group HERE.

Stay tuned for upcoming content focused on mind-body-energy practitioners!

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Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

#267 The Unfiltered Truth About People Pleasing

[00:00:00] Hello. Hello. And welcome back to the show. Alrighty guys. I have been home for over a week, which is kind of weird, but I’m already packing up and about to head back to Miami. So this one is brought to you in between travels, but I just have to tell you, I am so well rested being at home, being in a regular routine back in my own gym.

[00:00:50] That’s one of the things I miss the most because my gym here is exactly what I want. And when I’m at hotels or away, it’s just so different. You know, what it’s like to be in your own place and space. So I’m feeling rejuvenated and ready, but we’re going to handle something today that this question came up in the Facebook group, the free Facebook group today.

[00:01:20] And I was like, you know what? We have not talked about this on the show in a long time. And since we are talking about Bossing Up business owners, healing focused entrepreneurs, this one is going to land right in your heart, especially if you are a Southerner like me. Hey, you ready? Buckle up. We’re talking about people pleasing.

[00:01:48] And specifically, how to quit people pleasing. What is it? Why it’s not healthy or helpful, and how to quit doing it. I am a classic recovering people pleaser. I’m telling you, it was a big deal. You know, I remember being nine years old and I, I just wanted attention. I just wanted love. And I don’t know if all of you know the story, but I did not have a mother growing up.

[00:02:24] But for a very brief period of time, my dad married someone. It was very short lived. Can’t say there was a deep relationship that happened there with me, but there was a moment where I was rubbing Avon lotion on her feet. And she was so appreciative and I felt so recognized and important and loved. Now I’m rubbing her feet.

[00:02:54] I feel validated in love. Isn’t that interesting? I told this story when I went to massage therapy school. They were like, how did you know you wanted to become a massage therapist? And I remembered being nine years old and someone felt so good because of me. And then I felt so good that I just wanted to help and heal the world to feel good.

[00:03:18] And I know looking back that it was the moment of recognition, it was the moment of appreciation. It was being seen, validated, heard maybe for the first time ever. But isn’t it interesting that it wasn’t me receiving the love, it was me giving it. And I think that moment really set me up for people pleasing.

[00:03:42] Now, also being raised Catholic and having the giving heart and wanting to please Jesus and wanted to give my life for the other, dying to self in order to serve, right? All of that played in there. But the question that was asked this morning was what is people pleasing specifically? What is the reason for it now?

[00:04:06] I’m not going to look away and go and pull up the post, but it was basically, she was asking the question of, is this true that people pleasing it is about you? It is about what I got as the people pleaser. It’s also about, let me just please them instead of addressing the discomfort of their emotions. So in other words, when you don’t want to tell someone no, because you’re afraid of their reaction.

[00:04:38] So, you say yes when you really mean no in order to avoid confrontation or discomfort of the other person’s emotions. Have you ever done that? Oh, I didn’t want them to feel bad, so you lied. You lied. You played nice when you really didn’t want to do it. I’m like, I really don’t trust people pleasers. I love you.

[00:05:05] It’s so great that you want to help, but I don’t like being lied to. I don’t know how to take what you say. I’m not sure like if it’s legit because it’s so not transparent. So let’s, let’s really break down people pleasing, why we do it. What is the reason behind it? Why do you say yes when you really want to say no?

[00:05:31] Do you ever work extra work overtime, go do something on the weekend that you really don’t want to do, but you feel obligated to like, I didn’t really want to bake a cake and participate in the cake sale. I didn’t really want to go stand there all day long and give of myself so someone else would suffer more.

[00:05:52] But I did it. Because it’s what I’m supposed to do. So answer this question, supposed to do according to what rule book? Where did you get that information from? Who told you that? And in what way did it apply? Because I think that is like, I’m saying Southern hospitality. We take things to a whole nother level down here in the South.

[00:06:22] Like we are all about doing for the other. I was classic that I owned a tanning salon and I had these containers like tall to the ceiling containers of everyone’s tanning lotion, eye goggles, like anything that they needed, I took responsibility for. So I didn’t have to deal with the discomfort when they didn’t have it.

[00:06:50] I didn’t want to deal with their discomfort that they were feeling, like, so I made sure that I would never be uncomfortable and that they would be well taken care of. And I know a lot of you healing focused business owners do the same exact thing, but here’s the bottom line of all this. You’re not really helping.

[00:07:13] You’re lying. You’re being dishonest and you’re doing it for yourself and masking it as if you were doing it for them. That’s hard to swallow. Right? And you can’t see it until you see it. Like I could not see it. I remember when I saw a rheumatologist, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. This was after like a dozen surgeries, I had been on medication for, I don’t even know, my whole year, it was like 24 years total, but somewhere in between there, right before I got off of everything, when I saw this rheumatologist, and he says, you know, fibromyalgia is self inflicted, it’s self inflicted.

[00:07:52] It’s something that we bring upon ourself because we don’t take care of our needs. We are so busy taking care of other people and their needs, and we are taking responsibility for other people instead of taking responsibility for ourselves. And our body starts to reject the behavior. What? I was blown away.

[00:08:20] Anyway, that’s when I began waking up to this idea about people pleasing, about codependency, about why do we go over and beyond for someone else to feel better? Like it’s so hard to handle their discomfort. So we compensate or overcompensate. So, they don’t have to experience the discomfort. We just take it on and experience it for ourself.

[00:08:52] It is displaced responsibility. And I’ve had some negative feedback to the way that I explain it, but I was like, nice people are liars. You are lying. When you tell me something that’s not true to avoid what I might think, say, or feel. That’s not healthy. Why can’t we be honest and transparent? We can do it with kindness, but lying about it to try to avoid the discomfort of someone’s reaction, it’s not healthy for you or the relationship because they’re not actually in the relationship with you.

[00:09:39] They’re in the relationship with this overcompensating behavior. Is that tough to hear? That was really tough to hear for me. You know, we talk about tough love and saying no and allowing your kids to become responsible for their own needs and their actions. But my God. This haunted me for over 40 years, or maybe it was 40 years.

[00:10:05] I really started making these big changes around the 40, 42 year mark. My friend was diagnosed with cancer and I had this huge reaction to like, wait a minute, we suffer, then we die. Like, Oh no, there’s gotta be more to this life. And that really woke me up. And that’s when I started realizing like the people pleasing, the codependency, the behavior of avoiding emotion.

[00:10:33] And why? Was it really for the other person? The answer is no, it’s not really for the other person. It’s for you. It is a very selfish act because you want someone to think highly of you because you want them to say you’re nice. Because you want them to believe that you are so giving and selfless. You do it for them to think that about you.

[00:11:07] It is selfish behavior flipped. So it’s not a healthy, selfish. There is a healthy, selfish, and that is you are responsible for your desires and needs being met. You’re responsible. So, not someone else. Like, if I’m uncomfortable and I’m having disagreements or I’m having a reaction or an attitude about not getting what I want, that is not your job to fix it so I don’t have to feel the discomfort because then I never grow.

[00:11:43] I’m never challenged. I’m spoiled, rotten, and entitled instead. So let me just ask you, how many people are spoiled and entitled because you didn’t allow them to feel their own discomfort? How many people have you tried to fix? or heal. Like, God, this is such a big deal. Once I got it, I’m telling you, I realized, like, I wanted to go back in time and undo all of that behavior.

[00:12:15] Of course I couldn’t, but just so you know, in the end, it doesn’t pay off because what are you really doing it for? You could just acknowledge and appreciate and accept yourself. You don’t actually have to do that behavior in order for someone else to give you that. You could just take the short route and just decide, I am worthy.

[00:12:43] I am enough. You could just like claim that for yourself. You don’t have to go through all of that behavior. You don’t have to play this facade of, I need them to think I’m nice. I need them to see that I’m Christian. That I give my heart that I serve that I’m doing God’s work. You are doing God’s work when you are being yourself.

[00:13:06] When you are connected to divine and you’re living your potential and you’re expressing desire godliness Through your actions and behavior. You are doing God’s work God’s work is to be yourself and to contribute to the world as yourself not as pretending to be a nice person who is lying and doing things for others not to feel uncomfortable or yourself not to feel uncomfortable because of their emotions.

[00:13:41] I feel like I just jumbled a whole bunch in there. I hope you guys are getting this. We have a free Facebook group where we can have conversations about that. It’s linked below. I would love to hear what’s your experience around people pleasing codependency. You know, there’s a lot of talk bashing narcissism and making it so wrong and so selfish and truth is narcissism is a protective behavior and so is people pleasing.

[00:14:09] It’s just different sides of the coin. Matter of fact, you cannot have a narcissist in the relationship without the people pleaser. You need each other. You need them to need you to get your needs met as much as they need you to avoid their shameful experience so that they can exist. You guys are playing this together.

[00:14:34] So before throwing around the labels and the blame, take a look in the mirror. And see where you could be contributing to the behavior. And I am not saying that it is your fault that you’re in an abusive relationship. Delete, delete, delete. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that it is up to us to take full responsibility for our wants, needs, desires, for our expression in this worldly life.

[00:15:04] God is in each, each, each, each and every one of us. There is a seed planted in every being meant for us to materialize it on planet earth with other humans in relationship, unapologetically unique, individual, confidence, creative. Guys, you all have it inside of you. You don’t have to do all of this overcompensation in order to be that.

[00:15:37] You just need to see it in yourself and then you won’t have this needy, creepy, people pleasing, trying to fix, trying to change, trying to solve other people’s problems. You’ll actually see that it is more responsible to let them solve their own problems. You’ll have better relationships. you’ll surely have more fun and way less resentment.

[00:16:01] What you control and what controls you, what you are attached to and dependent on will eventually become what you resent. So whenever you are Like, trying to take away them from experiencing their negative emotion. When you take that away from them and you take responsibility for it, they become enabled.

[00:16:29] And because they don’t have exposure therapy, they don’t have to feel the discomfort. They don’t have to learn the skills to get over the discomfort. You actually handicap the other person. And you see a lot of this in our world. We do not expect. People to reach their potential, so we handicapped them and we treat them like handicaps and we take on their responsibility and then they have atrophy, they, they no longer have the muscle to feel discomfort and then they lose the courage.

[00:17:06] Cause let’s just face it, our brain is lazy, wants things to be instant and easy and predictable. We don’t really want to take chances. We don’t want to do scary things. Like we have to literally put ourselves in that position in order to grow. Once we become established adults, it ain’t easy. So I want you to do a little assessment.

[00:17:31] On your behavior. I can do it on mine. I can call myself out. I do this all the time. I love working with high demand, highly result driven individuals who want to bring something new into the world. Creative beings. Daring and courageous, crazy enough to believe that they can do it. Okay. That’s what I’m ready to go for.

[00:18:00] I’m like, if you are that, what is it? The square round peg thingamajig, whatever that is, you’re the odd ball in this world. Like I want to work with you. I want to help you take your crazy ass and crazy idea out into the world and have it manifest or materialize. That is it. But the behavior I keep finding myself in year after year after year is kind of this, like, it’s okay.

[00:18:30] Let’s slow it down. Let’s not push or pressurize. But guys, that’s not helpful. I am so sorry if I have done this to you or if I thought I was doing this for you and I hurt you in any way. Now I get. That many of you don’t want the pressure and you don’t want to be pushed and probed into your potential. I get that.

[00:18:54] I’m not really talking about that. I’m talking about the person who came to me for the pressure, for the courage and the confidence and the boldness. And I enabled you in any way and did some people pleasing and didn’t want you to be uncomfortable. And I released the pressure. My apologies. I want to never do that again, but the truth is I validate nervous system dysregulation and I get that sometimes our soul or we, when we identify who we are, wants to go do something bold and courageous, but our body is not yet on board.

[00:19:38] Mostly because we’ve been participating in this people pleasing activity and we kind of want it returned to us. So if that is you and I have harmed you or enabled you and like let the heat off in any way shape or form that held you back, my apologies. So if you are that daredevil, that bold, amazing, confident beast that wants to be in a community that pressures and pushes and gets uncomfortable for the sake of our growth.

[00:20:11] And to help humanity growth, you are welcome. Because I see my people pleasing tendencies. I call myself out, I’m talking to my assistant about it. I was like, you see, you see where I do this? I kind of let the heat off. And I just like, because I don’t want them to quit. Now tell me guys, who am I serving when I take off the heat so they don’t quit?

[00:20:41] I’m serving myself. I’m preserving my business. That is not for their good. That is for continuity. That is for return clients. I have to be able to call myself out because I cannot sit here and call up the behavior and continue to do it, but I can be aware of it. I can recognize it and I can have conversations about it, which I do.

[00:21:10] So some of you I’ve already talked to about this. You’re going to recognize what I’m talking about. But for today, I want you to do an assessment. Why do you say yes when you want to say no? What are you afraid of? If you are coaching someone or if you are their practitioner and you want to help them, why are you afraid to tell them the truth?

[00:21:37] Why are you afraid to give them the awareness? Because of the way you’re going to feel or because of the way they’re going to feel? That is the question. So if you see something. But you, and you’re in the position to coach them. You’ve been given permission to coach and you are not transparent because you’re afraid they’re going to quit.

[00:22:00] Guys, you’ve got to be willing to call this out. Instead, preface it with, all right, I’m going to tell you something that may be uncomfortable. Are you open to hearing it? Just preface. And be okay if they say, no, I have clients that are like, Hey, this is not a good week to call me out or like, I’m not raising my hand.

[00:22:25] I am like, my nervous system is like balking at me. I’ve, I’m done a lot of like outrageously new active stuff. And I’m afraid. Like my nervous system is acting out, like it’s like, please, please, please stop. Don’t do it. You’re going to be ashamed. You’re going to be embarrassed knowing like, and they let me know that.

[00:22:47] And I do, I back off. Although I do recognize that pressure is a good thing. None of you would be here without pressure. If they, you didn’t get pushed out. You wouldn’t be here. Pressure is a good thing. Going to the gym, you want to lift heavy weights, like pressure is a good thing. So back to the client scenario.

[00:23:09] If you’re a coach or a practitioner, are you willing to at least preface it and ask if they’re willing to hear it? Are they open to being coached? Just lead with that. Are you willing to hear what I am observing? Would you like to know what I’m thinking or inquiring about? I’m curious if you would like to see what I am witnessing.

[00:23:40] Just try it. Try it with someone that you, people please, but then talk about to someone else because that is not healthy. It’s actually like stirring up some mess. If you’re not willing to tell it to the person, don’t tell someone else. Got it? But if you are willing and you’re in the position, you have been hired, you’ve been paid, you’ve been summoned to coach to help them grow, be honest.

[00:24:15] You afraid to tell them truth? Is you afraid to be told? Because if you’re not looking in the mirror and you’re not doing your own work, it is going to be very uncomfortable to do it with something else, just with someone else. Matter of fact. That’s the wounded healer when you’ve got all this shit to heal and you’re going after someone else and trying to heal them instead.

[00:24:40] That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m saying do your own work. See where your people pleasing, be willing to feel the discomfort when someone is let down or someone is upset with you. Be willing to stand firm in your decision. Allow them to have their own experience. You do that for yourself. And then when your client shows up with this codependent, people pleasing behavior, preface with, are you open to hearing what I am observing?

[00:25:14] I’m curious. I’m curious why you’re doing dot, dot, dot. Or I’m curious what you’re experiencing when you say yes and you really want to say no. What are you avoiding? What are you trying to control in the other person? because you can’t control it in yourself. Got it? This is for coaches, practitioners, who are helping people heal health, wealth, and relationships.

[00:25:46] If we want to help others grow, we have to be willing to grow. And in order to grow, we have to be willing to deal with discomfort. So notice, just go 24 hours. No being nice or people pleasing or doing shit you don’t want to do. Just decide for 24 hours, I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to observe.

[00:26:11] I’m going to be truthful. If I don’t want to do it, I’m going to say no, thank you. Don’t go into explaining it. Just say no, I’m not interested. And then deal with that discomfort. and see what it’s like. That’s the assessment. That is the challenge for this week. Let me know if you’re a classic or a recovering people pleaser.

[00:26:32] Let me know if this was new awareness for you, if it was hard to hear, or if maybe you’re like, Oh my God, you’re a crazy woman. I would never do that. If I tell my kids, no, I’m not babysitting. They’ll never talk to me again. Find out where the control issue is. Are you self preserving? Are you not willing to feel the discomfort for yourself?

[00:26:56] Or are you afraid what’s going to happen to the relationship when you are being yourself? Because you have to wonder, is this the ideal I D E A L of a relationship? Like, is this fake? Is this a mask? Is this a costume? Or is this really me in this relationship? I work with a lot of women over 45 years old, that there’s something that happens when you’re like that 48, 50, 52.

[00:27:27] This shit doesn’t work anymore, guys. Cause by that time, if you’ve been people pleasing your whole life, it’s like, Your body is now giving you a hard time, chronic pain, diagnosis, illness, disease. And that is because you are not being true to yourself and your body eventually. Is going to start telling the signs and I’d like for you to like, not wait that long.

[00:27:53] Some things can’t be reversed. You know, it’s too late by the time you figure it out and then you start writing out like all the reasons why you can’t change. Have a great week. I’m going to drop a few more episodes. I’ve got some great interviews coming up. I hope you’ve been checking out the interviews that I’ve been doing on the YouTube channel.

[00:28:16] And if you want to come to the Facebook group, the link is below. I’ve got some really fun stuff coming up that has to do with mind body energy practitioners. So if you are A mindset coach, or you’re dealing with the mind. If you are a body worker, a massage therapist, or if you are a energy healer, this will be for you.

[00:28:41] So it is something that I am creating and forming and we’re going to have some, I’m not even, let me not get into that because I don’t want to make another offer. Just know that there’s something on the horizon coming your way. I’m really excited about, very passionate about, been thinking about this for years and just want to do something to get us together so that we can identify who are the mind body energy practitioners in our area.

[00:29:07] And I’m talking worldwide. All right. Until next week.

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