People Pleasing: Is The Stress Of Trying To Fit In Stressing You Out?

January 23, 2017 Kerry Sutton No comments exist

Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” ~ Oscar Wilde.

Have you spent your life bending over backwards to accommodate the needs of others in a quest to be accepted, needed, and validated? If, so then you know the pain of feeling not enough, and the accompanying fear that those around you will eventually discover your flaws.


People pleasing is aptly described in Darlene Lancer's book as – “being a human pretzel”. In fact the need to be approved of is so great you experience anxiety whenever family, friends or colleagues are disappointed or unhappy with you.

The fear of being criticized causes you seek perfection in your daily life. This generates the need to be perfect – It might be getting perfect grades, working more hours than everyone else, having a spotless home or maintaining a flawless appearance.

This pursuit of perfection is exhausting, because it is unattainable, and therefore accompanied by self-judgement and comparison. Your emotions are not exempt from this heightened scrutiny either. Rather than recognizing uncomfortable emotions as a normal part of being human, you might question if your emotions and feelings are normal.

As a People Pleaser You Might Also:

♦   Need to feel in control

♦   Need predictability

♦   Have difficulty saying what you think and feel

♦   Have difficulty saying no

♦   Lack assertiveness

♦   Fear rejection

♦   Fear abandonment

These behaviours can have dire long term consequences – E.g. The loss of your "True Self."

However, all is not lost. Reconnecting with your true self is a wonderful journey of self-discovery...


♥  Practice Self-acceptance – Consider this. Do you give yourself the validation, respect and love you crave so much from the people in your life? Take some time out to notice your thoughts. Are you pulling yourself down, chastising yourself or is your self talk supportive and encouraging?

Self-acceptance is acknowledging your true self, warts and all, and being okay with what you see. Begin to extend compassion and kindness to yourself when you stuff up. When you notice harsh thoughts about yourself, ask yourself if you would say this to someone you cared about.

♥  Start Setting Boundaries – Darlene identifies two immediate benefits of setting boundaries. Getting the behaviour you want, and boosted self-esteem from honoring your needs and standing up for yourself.

Good boundaries are when you can say no without explanation, and can state clearly what you think and feel. Start tuning into your body sensations during conversations. Notice if there is an increase in muscle tension or your heart rate. Take note of feelings traceable to the conversation. You could be feeling smothered, angry, depressed, or anxious.

If you are experiencing fear or anger it means your boundaries may have been violated, or you are feeling used because you have given too much.

♥  Take Responsibility – The flip-side of wanting people’s approval is holding other people responsible for how you feel and behave. When you take responsibility it is your choice to make changes or not, to be motivated or not, to speak your truth or not. There is no one else to blame or excuses to make.

♥  ♥  ♥  Try This Exercise For Becoming More Authentic – by Darlene Lancer

Put some time aside each day to note “the discrepancies between what you say and what you actually think and feel.” Consider what it would be like to live a day, a week, your entire life expressing your True Self?

Write a Few Sentences About What Would Happen If:

    You didn’t worry about hurting people’s feelings...

    You didn’t just go along with other people’s decisions...

     You didn’t give up your time or listen when you didn’t want to...

     You said no when you wanted to...

     You told people when they disappointed you or hurt your feelings...

     You were more honest about your opinions...

     You weren’t afraid to show your anger...

     You admitted when you didn’t know the answer or what to do...

If you are always trying to be normal (fit in), you will never know how amazing you can be. ~ Maya Angelou

Begin to live an authentic life based on what matters most to you. And enjoy a new found freedom and respect for yourself and the people in your life.

Lets Talk

If you need to break free from the habit of people pleasing, please call me for a Free 15 minute consultation. We can talk about what is going on for you and I can answer any questions you might have. If I am with a client I will get back to you as soon as I can.

0403 064 874


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