I, Natalie Lue, am a recovering people pleaser.
Suppressing my needs, wants, expectations, feelings and opinions (people pleasing) is as natural to me as breathing, and so it has become part of my daily self-care to be conscious, aware and present about where and why my inner pleaser is showing up. I’ve been doing it for long enough now–the noticing it that is–that on those occasions where my pleaser has a little too much airtime, it feels mighty uncomfortable.
The discomfort is good because it keeps me out of a lot of trouble and is a sign of how much I’ve grown. There was a time when I put up with all sorts of shenanigans in the name of not wanting to rock the boat and out of fear of hurting the other person’s feelings by ‘being myself’ and having some basic boundaries.
When I talk about this with Reclaimers (the folks who read and listen to my work over at Baggage Reclaim), especially when I run workshops, we end up laughing our heads off when we think about the things that we do in the name of being ‘pleasing’. A biggie is sleeping with somebody, not because we really want to but because we feel bad for them having a hard-on and nowhere to put it. Other biggies are carrying on as if someone is going to be mortally wounded if we admit that we don’t want to do something or that we don’t want to do it right now, keeping achingly silent because we fear using the ‘wrong words’, dimming our light so that people don’t feel away about our talent, accomplishments and achievements or us being our authentic self, and sacrificing ourselves for romantic partners and being genuinely perplexed as to why we’re not chosen.
Heaven forbid that anyone should have to wait, do without, be uncomfortable, or, wait for it, take care of their own needs, expectations, desires, feelings and opinions! Funny though, how our needs, expectations, desires, feelings and opinions are delayed and neglected and how we’re prepared to be in so much discomfort that our current life choices might actually be excruciating.
People pleasing is an epidemic that affects our emotional, mental, physical, spiritual and even financial health.