If you have the need to please, say yes, over-help, over-do, over-gift, over-compliment, make nice and all that crap we’ve been socialized to do, the jig is about to be up. Most of us have accepted being a pleaser as a good quality or “just the way you are.” And let’s face it, people absolutely love being pleased, so you get rewarded for it.
But, what I’ve noticed lately is that women talk about being a pleaser almost as a point of pride or as something that they have no power or control over. You may have even gotten so comfortable with your status as a pleaser that you announce with a ho-hum attitude or maybe even a flair, exclaiming that indeed, “I’m a pleaser!” I’ve also heard things like, “I can’t help it, I’m a pleaser!,” and “I’m such a pleaser!”
This. Must. Stop. Because when you openly announce to the world that you are a pleaser, you are sending messages about yourself that I don’t think you mean to send. Here’s what’s you’re actually saying when you’re saying “I’m a pleaser!”:
1. “I’m a pleaser” IS CODE FOR “I’m insecure.”
Also it’s code for, “I’m not motivated or guided from within,” or “to feel secure, I need to make sure everyone else is happy,” or “I need to make sure your needs are met instead of mine,” or “if I keep you happy, maybe you won’t leave me.” In other words, if you’re a pleaser, then you are looking outside of yourself for validation and approval.
2. “I’m a pleaser” IS CODE FOR “I don’t have authentic relationships.”
Because…..healthy relationships involve giving AND receiving – not pleasing behaviors. If you have to please the people have relationships with, then you have unbalanced give and take relationships where you mostly give and they mostly take. It’s also code for, “I can hide behind my pleasing so you can’t really get to know me because you might not like me if you really knew me.”
3. “I’m a pleaser” IS CODE FOR “I’m needy.”
Because….”if I am choosing pleasing as an identity, then I have chosen an identity that by definition REQUIRES another person in my little drama of people pleasing.”
Gulp……Are you still with me? Did you have to sit down? Is the room spinning? Holy Shit, that’s a lot of truth. But you can handle it. That’s why you’re still reading. You’re still here and you’re okay. Look, if you a woman, you were socialized to please. We’ve all got this. But if we start to really understand what we’re actually saying when we say “I’m a pleaser” is precisely how we begin to change it.
None of us would ever dream of walking into a room and announce, “Oh, my, I’m so insecure, I don’t have fully authentic relationships and on top of all that, I’m such a needy girl!!” So, let’s stop. Let’s stop announcing to everyone that we are helpless “pleasers.” Through our actions we can show ourselves to be thoughtful, kind, considerate and empowered women instead.