“Some times you don’t realize you are actually drowning when you are trying
to be everyone else’s anchor.” ~Anonymous
We are a couple of weeks away from the start of this year’s holiday season. While we hope for these months to be joyous and restful, they can often be stressful and overwhelming. Planning, preparing, traveling, shopping, hosting. It can be a lot! On top of all that, anticipating gatherings with family, colleagues, and even friends can bring up anxiety and worry. For many, it can trigger a consistent stream of people-pleasing behaviors to avoid conflict after which you feel exhausted and depleted during the very time of year that you’re supposed to rest and recharge! Does this sound like you? If so, you might be a people-pleaser. You can find out by reviewing the common signs I list below. See how many resonate with you. Then use the list of tools I offer to manage your people-pleasing behavior as well as determine when, and for what reasons, it’s okay to do it. You will learn to set conscious intentions based on your values which will make saying no and setting boundaries easier and more effective.
Self-care is not a luxury. The curious paradox is that when you choose to put your self-care (mask on) first, you become a better parent, friend, caretaker, offspring, sibling, colleague. Learning how to care for your physical and mental wellness as a matter of routine, and not just for the holidays, is an essential step in showing up fully and consistently in your life. It’s so important I’m going to say it again… Regular self-care is NOT a luxury. It’s the KEY to avoiding people-pleasing, burnout and breakdown. COMMON SIGNS OF PEOPLE-PLEASING:
Difficulty Saying No: Do you find it challenging to decline requests or set boundaries? Do you actually find it hard to say the word “no”? Do you avoid disappointing people but then find yourself spread too thin and neglecting your own needs?
Constant Need for Approval: Do you measure your self-worth based on what others think of you? Do you constantly seek external validation? Are you afraid that if you say your truth, you’re going to be deemed selfish or a bad sibling, child, parent, colleague, friend?
Avoiding Conflict: Do you avoid confrontations or disagreements? Do you agree to do things you don’t want to in order to keep the peace?
Frequent Apologizing: Do you apologize excessively, even for things that are not your fault?
Difficulty Expressing Your Own Opinions: Are you hesitant to share your own thoughts or preferences for fear of upsetting or disappointing others? Do you fear they won’t like you or approve of you if you do? Does this create feelings of guilt and anxiety?
The key here is self-compassion. It takes time to break old habits and hardwire new ones. Be patient with yourself as you practice the tools below. TOOLS TO STOP PEOPLE-PLEASING:
Self-Reflection: Identify the areas in your life where this behavior shows up. Awareness is always the first step to making lasting change.
Discover Your Values: Reflect on your core values and beliefs. When you understand what truly matters to you it’s easier to make choices that align with who you are and aspire to be.
Set Boundaries: Establish for yourself what you are willing to do, and not do, to protect your well-being. Practice saying no to others and clearly communicate your limits in a non-aggressive, self-assured manner.
Practice Saying No or Delaying Your Response: Practice saying no often and in small, inconsequential ways like when a salesperson approaches you while you’re browsing, or when a server asks if you want dessert. If you’re really challenged by saying no, try buying yourself time by creating a delay. Tell the person you’ll think about their request and get back to them.
Learn to Discern: Most of us want to be thought of as nice, generous people. And it can feel good to give support. The key is to determine when it nourishes you (or is neutral) versus when it requires you to sacrifice your needs to satisfy someone else’s. Take a pause and notice how a ‘yes’ feels in your body. Does it feels expansive? Authentic? If it feels good (not from a sense of shame or guilt), then do it.
Prioritize Self-Care: Invest time in activities that nurture your mind, body, and spirit. Think less manicures, facials, bingeing Netflix (these can be nice but they don’t do much in the long run for your well-being) and instead think about spending quiet time to listen for your wise inner voice, read, eat a healthy diet, do activities you love that put you in flow and get you in touch with your childlike inner joy and contentment.
Prioritize your to-do list. Ask yourself what is a necessity? What can wait? What can be delegated? What can be let go? Be mindful about how you budget your energy, attention and time.
Change Your Mindset: Challenge the belief that you have to please people to be worthy of their love or approval. Recognize that your worth is inherent. You don’t have to earn it.
Reframe Perfectionism: Know that you don't have to be perfect to be loved or valued. Learn to embrace your imperfections and celebrate your uniqueness.
Curate and Cultivate Healthy Relationships: Surround yourself with those who respect your boundaries and prioritize your well-being. Let go of the people who don’t, or at least, minimize your interaction and how much you let their opinion of you matter.
Practice these tools now so you feel comfortable using them before the holidays. Seek support from people you know and trust. Ask them to help keep you on track. Use them for accountability and encouragement. If you need support, as your life coach, I will provide that support for you. Remember, you always have the power to make choices that honor you. You just have to decide.
If you’d like to find out what it’s like to work with me privately, book a complimentary consultation at https://calendly.com/franbellcoaching/60mindiscovery.