As one of my coach friend said a few weeks ago “I don’t know all the keys to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” (Hi Gregory Long)

In the vast spectrum of human behaviour, the art of people-pleasing holds a particularly deceptive spot. What may initially appear as a benign or even altruistic act quickly reveals its more insidious nature upon closer examination.

The Evolutionary and Societal Roots of People-Pleasing

Our instinctual urge to keep the peace and maintain group harmony has deep evolutionary roots. In primitive times, being part of a group was not just beneficial—it was a matter of survival. Being ostracized could equate to a death sentence, so getting along with others was paramount. As the ages rolled on, this primal need took on new layers, magnified by societal expectations and further complicated by the omnipresence of platforms like social media.

This behaviour is especially prominent among those raised as women. As Kara Loewentheil highlights in her insightful blog post, women have been conditioned to “undervalue their own experiences, thoughts, and opinions,” pushing many into the trenches of people-pleasing.

Understanding the Consequences

  1. Loss of Self-Identity: Consistently sidelining our desires erodes self-awareness.
  2. Emotional Burnout: Trying to meet diverse expectations drains emotional reserves.
  3. Resentment: Suppressed feelings can lead to silent hostility.
  4. Superficial Relationships: Connections founded on appeasement lack genuine depth.

Are You a People-Pleaser? Signs to Watch Out For

  • Constantly saying ‘yes’, even when you’d rather not.
  • Feeling overly responsible for others’ emotions.
  • Frequent, unwarranted apologizing.
  • Avoiding confrontations at all costs.
  • Hesitation in voicing personal needs or opinions.

The Irony and Ramifications

The paradox of people-pleasing is that while we seek to control perceptions and sway opinions, we lose sight of our genuine selves. This internal compromise often undermines self-confidence, ambitions, and strains relationships.

Breaking the Chain

  1. Self-Awareness: Recognize and acknowledge this behaviour.
  2. Establishing Boundaries: Learn to say no.
  3. Self-Care: Dedicate moments for introspection and genuine pursuits.
  4. Seek Guidance: Therapy or coaching can offer invaluable insights.
  5. Cultivate Assertiveness: Express your needs confidently and respectfully.

The Triumph of Authenticity

Embracing authenticity in a world that often demands conformity is an act of courage. Being true doesn’t mean disregarding others; it means valuing our feelings just as much. After all, it’s not about meeting external expectations, but about honouring our internal compass.

For those who see themselves in the patterns of people-pleasing and yearn for change, coaching can be transformative. As an Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Coach, I’ve witnessed the power of self-awareness and strategic guidance in reshaping these patterns. If you’re ready to embark on a journey toward authenticity, self-worth, and empowered leadership, I’m here to support and guide you on this transformative path. 🌼

Reach out and take the first step toward reclaiming your authentic self. The journey is challenging, but the rewards are invaluable.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Sophie