People pleasing in essence is carrying out a task or activity to please others. People pleasing looks like saying “Yes”, to the waiter when they bring around the tray of nibbles so as not to offend them, or “Yes” to your Mother in law when they offer you a second helping of her chicken pie (replace with Mother in Law's favourite dish), when you are already full, or “Yes” to a friend who wants you to share a dessert that you really don’t want.
People pleasing is not taking your priorities into account. It is putting the needs of others before yours. People pleasing can be confused with kindness. You want to feel like a good person. And to a certain extent this is the way society has conditioned us as women, as mothers, to self-sacrifice and to be selfless. To put others needs before our own.
What it looks like in real life is that you do things for others at the expense of your own priorities. This is often carried through in your weight loss attempts. Eating more than you want to, eating foods not on your plan, and eating at times when you don’t want to, all to please others.
But the problem with this is... while we try to please other people, we are being inauthentic or ‘liars’, as Brooke Castillo from the Life Coach School calls it. In trying to get other people’s approval you are telling people what they want to hear. This is not kindness. This is a fake you.
Many of my clients say confuse people pleasing with having good manners i.e. it’s rude to say no. You can definitely say no politely. Think about when someone is wanting you to stop in the street for a ‘quick’ survey. I bet you have managed a polite “no thanks” if you are rushing through your ‘to do’ list and still need to collect the children.
Serial people pleasing happens because you desperately want other people’s approval. You are seeking validation from the outside world that you are worthy of being loved, that you are important, and that you are a good person. If you are trying to get this validation from the outside world, it more often than not means that you are not doing a great job of validating yourself. That you are not making yourself feel important, loved, or worthy.
If this sounds like you, don’t worry, feel empowered, because now you are onto yourself. You are definitely not alone, and there are steps to take to stop being a serial people pleaser and start putting you and your weight loss goals first.
Follow the steps below and be prepared for a little discomfort and some great empowerment. It is normal to expect discomfort, you are changing some patterns and your brain will find this uncomfortable. But the pay off is that you will present the real you and be proud that you honoured yourself and followed through on your weight loss plan and goals. For example: only eating until you are satisfied, not eating when you are not hungry, and not eating dessert when you had not planned it.
Step 1: Practice saying “No”
Start on small things if this makes you nervous, like if someone asks if you would you like sugar or a slice of cake with your coffee. Practice saying, “no thank you”, “no thank you, but it does look lovely” or “I would prefer not to”. Find a phrase that works for you and think of and plan situations where you can use it.
You don’t owe anyone an explanation. People will respect you when you give them a straight answer. This definitely gets easier with practice!
Step 2: Practice thinking new thoughts
Try these thoughts on and find one that resonates with you. Practice saying it at least 3 times a day. Write it down and put it next to your bed, write it in a journal each morning, put a sticky note in your cupboard, have it flash up on your phone. Whatever works for you, but make sure you practice.
· Me and my weight loss goals are important
· Saying “No” to one thing, means saying “Yes” to something else (That something else is you and your weight loss goals)
· I am important
· I am open to believing that I am important (if you your brain rejects the thought above)
· I am 100% loveable just the way I am
· I can’t control the way someone feels about me and that is ok
· I am learning to put myself first and people will respect my authenticity
Step 3: Practice some self-love
This can look like having a journal that you spend 5 minutes on before bed or in the morning when you are having your cup of tea or coffee. You can record 3 physical things that you like about your body, or record 3 things that you can be thankful that you did for yourself in the 24 hours before. This practice creates neural pathways in the brain that get the brain looking for the positives about you. The more you do this the more the brain will do this automatically.
Step 4: Learn to self-evaluate
Don’t just go unconscious or beat yourself up when you recognise you have people pleased. Make sure you look at each situation and decide if you were being authentic and plan how you want it to go the next time. Definitely don’t beat yourself up, use the people pleasing incident to learn, to create a new strategy, to decide how you want to show up in a similar situation.
Do things because they align with your priorities, not as a way to try and control how someone feels about you. You can’t control other people, but you can choose how you want to feel about yourself. So why not show up in a way which is authentic and true to you. When you treat yourself as important and practice self-love, you are not being selfish, you are filling your own cup. When your cup is full, you have so much more love to give others. When you treat yourself as important, you are showing other people how you like to be treated.
If you are ready to commit to improving the relationship you have with yourself and explore a solution for sustainable weight loss, get in touch with me on my contact me page to schedule a no obligation mini call to find out how you can become the best version of yourself. One on one coaching gives you the advice, knowledge, encouragement and solutions you need to transform yourself inside and out. Get in touch today.
Have a brilliant week and remember saying “no” to something is saying “yes” to something else.
You have got this.