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Episode 159: People Pleasing Isn’t Pleasing Anyone

May 19, 2022
April Price Coaching
Episode 159: People Pleasing Isn’t Pleasing Anyone

Episode Summary

Most of us have a deep, biologic instinct to please other people. Not only does people pleasing feel necessary to maintain good relationships, sometimes we even think that it is altruistic and noble and good to put someone else’s opinions, needs, and preferences above our own.

But the truth is that people pleasing creates resentful, inauthentic relationships that are based on pretending and lying. This not only creates tension between us and the people in our lives, it also erodes our relationship with ourselves.

So how do we reconcile the things we want with the things other people want from us? How do we honor our own needs while fulfilling our desire to help and serve others?

On today’s podcast episode, I’m sharing why people pleasing keeps us from the loving, authentic relationships we want to have, how to overcome your need to people please, and how to prioritize to your own desires while still loving and caring for other people.

Episode Transcript

Welcome to the 100% Awesome Podcast with April Price. You might not know it, but every result in your life is 100% because of the thought you think. And that, my friends, is 100% awesome.

Hello podcast universe, welcome to Episode 159 of the 100% Awesome Podcast. I'm April Price, I am so happy to be here with you today. How are things? How are you? How is May? Are you busy? I feel like me just always all the things, right? Like my oldest son just graduated from college and I have another son graduating next week from high school. It's also David's 50th birthday next week, which has been a really big deal in our family for the last four or five years.

Actually, the kids have been teasing him about this upcoming event in his life, and we are finally there. And so, we have a lot to celebrate, a lot to do, a lot of events, a lot of things going on. And I imagine it is the same for you in your life. And just this morning, I was thinking, oh, my gosh, I can't do it. I can't do it, I can't do all the things, I cannot do everything that is required of me. And I was talking to my coach about this, and he gave me a little reframe that I want to offer you. I go to him for for help in my endurance training, and we often talk about, like all the parts of me that are needed for the event, right? Like, I've kind of divided my body up into parts and I like at different points. I'm like asking this part of my body to show up and like pull the weight, right?

And so, he kind of like, encouraged me to think about my life and all the responsibilities I have in the same way that there are parts of me that are good at all those things, right? Like there's the part of me that's going to be really good at having Ethan's parts. And this is the part of me that's really good at meeting the needs of my clients and coaching them. And there's the part of me that's going to be really good at podcasting. And so, I've adopted this thought that, like, I can't do all the things, but all of me meaning all of the me's that are needed, right? All of me, can get what has to be done, done. And so, I just want to offer that to you, that all of you, all the parts of you can get what has to be done, done, and you can do it. I just want to let you know that I believe that all the parts of you are capable of the things that you need to do in your life right now. And I'm cheering for you and I am right there with you as well. We can do it.

So, I think that's actually a really good introduction to our topic today. We're going to be talking about people pleasing. We're going to be talking about like what other people think of us and how we are really invested in shaping what other people think of us and like showing up in our lives so that people will think certain things of us. We're going to talk about like the expectations that other people have of us and how much we are doing in our lives, because we are trying to meet those expectations and get the approval and validation of other people. And sometimes that may not be serving us. It actually in an effort to like have the relationships we want when we people please. We can actually end up creating the opposite of that, creating the relationships we don't want and especially with ourselves.

And I want to talk about this because it has come up so often recently for my clients recognizing this tendency. In fact, we had a workshop last month that was all about it because I was seeing it so frequently and it was a really awesome workshop. So listen, if you are not in my coaching program you should be like every month I offer like relevant workshops that like help you where you are to change the way you think and to change the way you're showing up in your life. And this workshop was so valuable, I wanted to share parts of it with you here on the podcast so that you know you can create the relationships you want without having this people pleasing, keeping you and creating barriers in those relationships. So, the other reason that I thought this was a really good time to do this episode was a couple of weeks ago I did a podcast interview with my dad and many of you heard that and I got a ton of really positive feedback on that.

A lot of you really liked hearing our different perspectives and our conversation and our relationship, and I really wanted to use that as an example because when my dad first approached me about doing the podcast, like, my brain really didn't want to do it for a number of reasons. And then there was, of course, the part of me that was like, Well, this is what good daughters do, and like, you owe it to him to help him, like he's helped you so much. You really owe it to him. And what kind of a person are you? If you are selfish and you say no and you don't do these things? And I found myself feeling that pulled. To, like, do something that I didn't want to do just to please him and just to, like, make sure that I was like, okay, as a daughter or okay as a human being, right? And and thinking like, oh, it's too awkward to say no. And I and I and I don't want to have that conversation and all of that, right? And I found myself really not having the relationship at least internally.

Like he doesn't know any about anything about this, it's all happening, inside my head. But distancing myself in that relationship because of my thoughts around like I'm obligated to do this thing he's asked me to do. And I want you to know that I did this work on my own thoughts. I did this people pleasing work that I'm going to talk to you about today. And it completely changed that experience for me, as you could hear in the episode like that turned out so well because I did the internal work to get to a place of love where I wanted to do that interview. I told myself, If I cannot get to a place of love, if I cannot get to a place where this is something that I want, then I'm going to say no and I'm going to be true to that. And I was able to get to that place. And it was so amazing, like all of this work, again, I felt so close to him and so proud of that episode and so proud of like the conversation we were able to have it. And I had so many people tell me like, I loved hearing your relationship. It's obvious you love him so much and I am so grateful that I did the work that those true feelings could come through.

And and this is what I'm offering each of you, that if we're just performing and people pleasing, our relationships are not as pure and good and authentic and sweet and loving as they could be. We're holding ourselves back by thinking, Oh, I will just like, ignore what I think. Ignore what I feel. People please them. And we're missing out on the sweetness of the relationship that can be there when we do the work, to be honest with ourselves and honest with the people we love and do the work to get to love and validation for ourselves rather than like performing and getting it from someone else.

So, I just want you to know that I think these authentic, true relationships are available to every one of us, and they are only available when we when we give up the people pleasing, which is really just lying to each other. And we tell ourselves the truth, that's how we get to love. Okay, so I'm going to kind of describe my process with that as I go through and teach you about these principles and give you tips for your own life. And if you want more help with this, if there if you just find like I'm people pleasing so many people in my life in these relationships that are so precious to me. I would love to help you with that. You can get on a free coaching call with me and we can talk about where you are and where you want to be in these relationships and how coaching can make the difference there. And so, as always, you can sign up for that call at my website I would love to coach you to talk about my program and to talk about how it can make a difference for you and your relationships.

Okay, so with all that said, let's start at the beginning. First of all, what is people pleasing like? We hear this term all the time, we throw it around all the time. What is it? I mean, I'm sure there's a million definitions, but I really think about it as it's when we value someone else's opinion or comfort more than our own right. We're worried about somebody else's emotional experience or their thoughts and feelings about us. We're worried more about that, their emotional experience than we are about our own, right? And so, we kind of like put our own needs aside, our own feelings aside, our own thoughts aside, and we prioritize other people's needs and opinions more than our own.

And honestly, for each one of us, there is a very good reason that we do this, a biologic reason that we do this. Like as we were evolving as humans, right? We evolved in tribes, in societies, we needed each other to survive, we needed to belong. If you if you got kicked out of the tribe, right, then you were going to die. You were going to get eaten. You were going to be frozen. You were going to be hungry, you your chances of survival went down. Significantly, if you were on your own. And so, we really have this deep evolutionary need to belong and to have the approval of all the people around us. It was a necessary survival skill at one point in our evolutionary history. And it's kind of just like built into our DNA, right?

And I heard this thought from somebody sometime that said, we all come from a long line of people pleasers, right? Because we all descended from the earliest humans who needed each other and like for our very survival, right? And then we're born into the world, vulnerable, and we need the people around us to take care of us. And so, like, of course, we have learned to, like, live our lives in such a way that the people around us approve of us and keep us around. Okay? And so, I don't want you to make yourself wrong that you have this tendency, like each of us do. And, it's very uncomfortable to prioritize our own needs and our own thoughts and our own feelings, above that of somebody else.

Just because that is not our instinct, our brains instinct is to just like go along, to get along, like prioritize what other people want, make other people comfortable. And and it thinks that's the best way to survive. But the truth is, we aren't in actual danger by not having the approval or validation of other people. Our brain just thinks we are. Okay, so before I talk about how we change this, I just want to like emphasize again why people pleasing is a problem. Like, why does it even matter? Why is it even a problem? If I try to people please and the first thing that I want to offer you is that it's not even actually possible, right? We think that it's possible to please other people. But it's actually physically impossible.

Emotionally impossible to please someone else because other people's emotions, pleasure, approval, love, like all of that, all of their emotions are produced, of course, by their thoughts, not by our actions. We sort of think like if we do things, then they will feel positively or negatively about us. But it's never what we do that's creating their positive or negative feelings. It's their own thoughts. And so, here we are trying to perform in a way that will change someone's thoughts or alter someone's thoughts or give someone certain thoughts about us so that they can feel good about us. And when you really think about the way emotion is created, like we cannot create pleasing for anyone else, and instead we're going through our lives. We're trying to behave in a way so that other people will choose the right thoughts and feelings so that we can feel okay about ourselves. But this actually isn't possible.

And like really early on in my in this podcast history, I told this story about a birthday cake. Or the the lack of a birthday cake, actually. And this is a really good example of this. So, many years ago, maybe not that many, but a few years ago it was my birthday and I was simultaneously in the middle of a cut where I was trying to like reduce the amount of calories I was eating so that I could reveal the muscle and all of that. And I'm in the middle of the cut, and so David decided you know, what if I just buy a cake, right? She's going to think that I don't care that she's in this cut she's going to think that like I'm unaware of what's going on in her life and she's going to think I don't care about her. So, he decided not to buy a cake. And listen, he's trying to, like, make me feel loved, right? And so, he's like, okay, I'm going to not buy this cake so she'll know that I understand where she's at and that I care about her, and then she can feel loved.

But if you know the story, what happened was I was like, no cake, well, you clearly don't love me. You don't care that it was my birthday and you didn't buy me a cake because you don't love me enough, right? Now, Here's the thing feeling loved is always up to me. David was trying to make me feel loved by not buying the cake. I still chose to feel loved, okay? And listen, like I'm telling you, he cannot people please me, he cannot please me. Because I promise you, if he had bought a cake, it's very likely I would have chosen to feel, like, unloved or like that. He was unaware of what I was going through. I was like, really and truly in that moment, I could see truly that he could not win because I could not be pleased by him. I can only ever feel loved if I choose thoughts that make me feel loved. I can only feel loved if I choose thoughts where I think he loves me. And this action shows me he loves me. Like we literally cannot please another. Their pleasure, their feelings are always created by them. And we bend over backwards per day to it. He spent his whole life bending over backwards trying to please me, and he cannot do it, right?

And it's not just because I'm difficult to live with, it's because every one of us only feel pleased when we choose thoughts other people cannot create those for us. And so, I just want you to know that that's one of the most important reasons to stop people pleasing, because you literally can't do it. You have given yourself a job that cannot be done no matter how hard you try.

Okay, so there you go. The second thing that I want to offer you is that it's not actually people pleasing that we're doing, that's what we call it, but we're actually pleasing ourselves. I want you to notice how we get something out of it, right? When somebody chooses to like me, I choose to feel good about myself. I choose to get validation. And so, as we go around people pleasing, hoping that people will like us, right? We're actually getting something from it. So, for example, when I talk about the podcast, let's pretend that my dad asked me to do the podcast I didn't want to do it and I said yes any way, thinking I was doing it for him. But the truth is, I would really be doing it for me. I would really be doing it so I could think that I was a good daughter. I would really be doing it that like because it it makes me more uncomfortable to make him uncomfortable. And so, I am getting something from it, like so many times where people pleasing so that we can avoid something else. And that is for us maybe we're trying to avoid feeling bad.

Maybe we're trying to avoid guilt, maybe we're trying to avoid shame. Maybe we're trying to avoid confrontation. Maybe we're trying to like we are getting something from it. We are getting some comfort by doing this thing. And it's so important that you tell yourself the truth about this. Why am I really doing it? I'm telling myself I'm doing it for them, but really it's because I don't want to feel something or I need some sort of validation. I am getting something from it, and so even the name People Pleasing is sort of a lie. It's really pleasing us, even though it doesn't feel like it. Even though saying yes, when you want to say no, doesn't feel like pleasure, you are getting something from it. And it's so important to know that. And, and I just think it's important to know that so that you can get what you need without manipulating other people. The next thing that I want to say about like why we want to give up people pleasing is that erodes the relationship you have with yourself when you are constantly making other people's requests and concerns and emotions more important than your own.

It erodes the relationship you have with yourself. You can't trust yourself, you can't rely on yourself to take care of yourself emotionally and to prioritize yourself. And that takes a toll on the relationship with yourself. And there is no more important relationship in your life than the one you have with yourself. Are you treating people and more worried about their comfort than your own? And that will take a toll on the relationship you have with yourself. The last thing that I want to say is like, why this matters and why we want to give it up is that it is just so exhausting. To like be always performing. It is so exhausting to always pretending. It is so exhausting to be in inauthentic relationships and to be faking it all the time and to be like.

Trying to be and feel something that you are not. And just like in a performance kind of way. And not only is that exhausting, but the relationships. Like are not authentic, do not feel good. They feel like a burden. Those relationships become heavy. They become exhausting in and of themselves. And I just want you to know that, like, none of that has to be there. It can be so different when we're willing to give up are people pleasing tendencies? Okay, so I want to give you a few tools to help you stop people pleasing and have a much more honest relationship with other people and a much more reliable relationship with yourself. Okay, so the first thing that I want to offer you is that we have to tell ourselves the truth. So, I want you to just notice that, like when somebody asks you to do something or somebody expects you to do something, we tell ourselves, I have to do this thing, and that is always a lie, right?

It's so important that we tell ourselves the truth. Like the truth is, we only do what we want to do. So, why do I want to do this thing? Maybe I want to do it so they will like me. Maybe I want to do this so they won't be mad at me. Maybe I want to do this so that I can feel good about myself. Maybe I want to do this so that I can, like, be approved of in some way, right? You need to tell yourself why you want to. If it's true that we only ever do what we want. I want to understand my motivation. So, for example, if I'm in the place where I don't want to do the podcast and I say yes, what is the truth? I don't have to do it. I want to do it. So that I don't have to have an awkward conversation with my dad. I don't want to do it so that, like, he won't think, like, badly of me, so that I won't look ungrateful, right? And so, I have set up a rule in my life that I only want to be doing things out of love.

And, listen, I'm not perfect at this, right? This is a work in progress. But when I realized how I was feeling about this podcast and I was feeling a little bit resentful and I was feeling a little bit obligated and I was feeling a little bit, like, hesitant and upset and sort of, like, backed into a corner. I knew it was because I was thinking, I don't have a choice. I have to do this thing in order to, like, maintain the relationship. And that is a lie. The truth is those feelings of resentment and obligation are the thing that are going to harm the relationship. And so what I have decided in my life and I think would be so useful to you is to require yourself to be able to to do things in your life from love. So it's not that I say no to everything my brain doesn't want to do. I just know that love is a feeling, which means it is created by my thoughts. And if I'm going to say yes to something, I am going to require myself to choose thoughts that create love about it.

I am not going to say yes to anything that I'm not willing to do the work of changing my thoughts so that I can get to a place of love, even though my instinct is that like I have to people please in order to preserve this relationship, it is the very thing that is going to drive a wedge in that relationship. And what is required for this relationship is for me to figure out what I need to think, what I need to do, what I need to say in order to feel love when I do it. And so I ask myself if I wanted to say yes and then wanted to do it from love, what would I have to believe? I would have to believe that are two divergent opinions were both valuable. I would have to believe that it would be a benefit to all of my listeners to be able to hear another perspective. I would have to believe that I might not be right about everything.

That his perspective could be so useful and valuable to two other brains that think like his. I would have to remember that I love him, that I trust him, that we both have something important to offer. And when I can get my mind there, it is so easy for me to say yes from love. And I just want to offer you that with whatever other people need from you ask of you, request of you expect of you. You want to evaluate is this something that I could do from love? And am I willing to do the work to choose the thoughts that will create that love for me? That other person doesn't do that. It's not their job to make me feel okay about this. That is always my work. I want you to know that wanting to do something because of love is always in your power. And. And I just require myself to get there before I say yes.

And if you need a minute, right? If somebody requests something of you and you need a minute to think about what you really want, you can just say that, like, I need to think about that, let me get back to you. The next tool that I want to give you to think about in terms of people pleasing is to ask yourself. Who am I trying to control here? So, it's so interesting, right, that when we're people pleasing, we feel like they're controlling us. We feel like their expectations, their thoughts, their needs, their emotions are controlling us. But the truth is, we are trying to control them. We're trying to perform. We're trying to take action. We're trying to do things so that we can control their feelings about us. And if they feel okay about us, then we can feel okay about ourselves, right? We're going about it the long way and we're trying to control the emotional experience of other people so that we can then feel good about us. So, then we can like control our own narrative about us so that we can like feel like we are good people and validate ourselves.

And this is just the long manipulative way around it. And so, you just want to ask yourself, who am I trying to control here? And notice how I'm trying to control them so that I can feel good about me. And maybe instead of doing that, I should just control how I think about me. I should just control my own thoughts and feelings about me. How you want to feel about you is always your job. I want you to ask yourself by doing this thing. What am I trying to feel about myself? And how am I delegating that to them? By doing these things. And can I take control of that back? And I just want to encourage you to stop trying to control other people's experience and spend more time trying to control your own. If you need to feel loved, if you need to be feel validated, if you need to feel important, if you need to feel valuable as we all do, if you need to feel appreciated as we all do.

That is always your job. Where are you not doing that for yourself? What are you not thinking about yourself so that like you're missing feeling these feelings about yourself. It is as hard as it is to control our thoughts about ourselves that we can feel good about ourselves. It's even harder to control the thoughts of other people. Like I said at the beginning, it's exhausting to try and control the thoughts of other people. So, bring the control to the place where you have the most control over your own thoughts and feelings about yourself. We spend so much of our lives trying to control what other people think instead of just being who we were always meant to be. And like the perfect example of this is Jesus Christ. I love that part in the Scriptures where He's talking to his apostles. And he said, Who do men say that I am? And they're like, Well, some say you're a prophet and some say you're a teacher, and some say you're the savior. And some say, you know, you're the anti-Christ.

Or like, you know, an angel of the devil, right? Like everybody has a different opinion, right? And like Christ who, like, did it all perfectly. Like, people still had thoughts about the way he was doing and that he should be doing it differently, that he wasn't doing it right. And if he lives their life trying to get all of their approval, that he'll never accomplish the work that he came to do. And and he says to them, like, Well, who do you say that I am? And Peter says, You are the son of God. And Christ then says, Blessed are you, Peter. And I love that phrase, not because, like Peter got it right, but because Peter blessed himself with the thoughts. He chose to think about Christ. Right. Blessed are you. You're so lucky that you have these amazing thoughts about me that fill you with faith that fill you with hope. That gives you like hope for the future.

Blessed are you, your life is better because you've chosen those thoughts about me, right? And all of that is up to you, but notice none of that. Not Peter's opinion. Not the opinion of the Pharisees. Never change Christ's opinion about himself. And like, as you do this work, it's so important that you decide what you're going to think about you and that you're going to show up in love as your authentic self in the way that you want. And you're going to let other people choose for themselves. You're not going to control that for them. And if they love you, then blessed are they. They get the experience of love. If they approve of you, they get the experience of feeling joy and approval. When they think of you, that is an experience for them. It's not even your experience to have right? That's what Christ was saying. Like it doesn't change Christs experience of himself.

Peter's the one the splits because Peter's the one having those positive feelings inside of him. And it's the same for you. If people love you and approve of you and are pleased with you, like blessed are they. Because they get to have the experience of that inside their bodies. They get to have the experience of love. But you don't. Your experience of you is created by your own thoughts about you and blessed are you. If you decide to love yourself, if you decide to approve of yourself, if you decide to be pleased with yourself. Okay, my friends, that's what I have for you today. I want you to know that it's totally normal and instinctual for you to want to please people. Of course, that's what your brain is going to offer you. First and foremost, it's going to feel like so important to please other people. But I want you to know that true joy, true authenticity, true like a true relationship with others and with yourself is available when you don't just do what's instinctive. And instead you choose for yourself, choose for yourself how you're going to show up in your life, what you're going to say yes to, and choose for yourself.

How you're going to think about yourself without needing validation and approval from outside of you before you give yourself permission to do that. Your life and your relationships are just so much better when you give up people pleasing. And that, my friends, is 100% awesome. I love you for listening and I'll see you next week.

Thanks so much for joining me on the podcast today. If you want to take the things I've talked about and apply them in your life so that you can. Love your Earth life experience. Sign up for a free coaching session at This is where the real magic happens and your life starts to change forever. As your coach, I'll show you that believing your life is 100% awesome is totally available to, every one of us the way things are is not the way things have to stay. And that, my friends. 100% awesome

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