One of my passions aligns with my purpose to be a source of empowerment to people. That passion is in helping people break free of limiting beliefs that don’t serve them. As a result of those limiting beliefs, people’s unique gifts are withheld from the rest of us.
In my recent Rant & Grow podcast I spoke with board certified physician Kay Hooshmand, about her goals and desire to have a TV show. Kay was raised with the expectations of either becoming a lawyer or a doctor.
Many of you reading this know exactly what it’s like to be raised in families with high expectations on the children, and all the associated challenges that come with that.
One of the reasons pushing your kids towards a career that isn’t of real interest to them is not a good idea is that it establishes the mindset within them of “I don’t really matter”. This is made worse by the desire of a child to fulfill the parent’s wishes in an effort to receive approval. The outcome is you end up training your kids to be people pleasers.
We want the best for our children by pushing them to have goals and to achieve success. However, only pushing our own agenda ends up having a negative impact on the beliefs they hold about themselves.
If you are a parent doing this to your children, stop. Stop it immediately.
My conversation with Kay reminded me of a lifelong issue I’ve personally struggled with related to people pleasing. Even after decades of work on self-awareness, and therapy, and coaching, and practice — it still creeps up on me from time to time.
People Pleasing is An Epidemic
People pleasing is a real problem. After you review these 10 signs I borrowed from a Psychologytoday.com article by Ami Morin about people pleasing, you may discover you are trying too hard to please everyone.
1. You pretend to agree with everyone.
Listening politely to other people’s opinions — even when you disagree — is a good social skill. But pretending to agree just because you want to be liked can cause you to engage in behavior that goes against your values.
2. You feel responsible for how other people feel.
It’s healthy to recognize how your behavior influences others. But thinking you have the power to make someone happy is a problem. It’s up to each individual to be in charge of their own emotions.
3. You apologize often.
Whether you excessively blame yourself, or you fear other people are always blaming you, frequent apologies can be a sign of a bigger problem. You don’t have to be sorry for being you.
4. You feel burdened by the things you have to do.
You’re in charge of how you spend your time. But if you are a people-pleaser, there’s a good chance your schedule is filled with activities that you think other people want you to do.
5. You can’t say no.
Whether you say yes and then actually follow through, or you later fake an illness to get out your commitments, you’ll never reach your goals if you can’t speak up for yourself.
6. You feel uncomfortable if someone is angry at you.
Just because someone is mad doesn’t necessarily mean you did anything wrong. But if you can’t stand the thought of someone being displeased with you, you’ll be more likely to compromise your values.
7. You act like the people around you.
It’s normal for other people to bring out different sides of your personality. But people-pleasers often sabotage their goals. Studies show that people-pleasers engage in self-destructive behavior if they think it will help others feel more comfortable in social situations. For example, people-pleasers eat more when they think it will make other people happy.
8. You need praise to feel good.
While praise and kind words can make anyone feel good, people pleasers depend on validation. If your self-worth rests entirely on what others think about you, you’ll only feel good when others shower you with compliments.
9. You go to great lengths to avoid conflict.
It’s one thing not to want to start conflict. But avoiding conflict at all costs means that you’ll struggle to stand up for the things — and the people — you really believe in.
10. You don’t admit when your feelings are hurt.
You can’t form authentic relationships with people unless you’re willing to speak up sometimes and say that your feelings are hurt. Denying that you’re angry, sad, embarrassed, or disappointed — even when you’re emotionally wounded — keeps a relationship superficial.
The Role of Self-Worth
The question I always ask when it comes to any beliefs or behaviors that are a negative manifestation of the ego is: what is the root cause?
It comes down to self-worth. Low self-worth has patterns of behavior rooted in the inability to be vulnerable and authentic, as well as the need to control. High self-worth has patterns of behavior rooted in love, sharing, freedom, acceptance and human dignity, and that is where we should be shifting our focus.
People pleasing is a form of needing to control. Control how others react to you, control what they think of you, control their emotions and behaviors. The need to control is rooted in low-self-worth.
“Low self-worth is a worldwide epidemic, but it does not have to be a life sentence.”
One of the 12 principles of an authentic leader, covered in my upcoming book “Emotionally Aware Leadership” deals with the impact self-worth has on leadership development, and how we show up in the world.
Self-worth impacts how we relate within ourselves and how we act towards others. Included is research data across 1350 people with scary results on how many people simply don’t think well enough of their own self-worth.
You’ll have to wait to read the results of the research, but for now if you are interested in gaining a little more perspective on this subject you can visit a previous blog with some videos by clicking here.
Brain Hacking Your Way to Freedom
The good news is that if you were raised to be a people pleaser, it’s not a life sentence. You can break free of it and gain control of your own life.
You can only achieve true happiness by living your purpose. If people pleasing is in the way of you pursuing your passions that align with your purpose, you will want to break free immediately.
Kay is on her way to manifesting her purpose with some specific goals and the adoption of some mantras. Mantras are a powerful way to apply neuroscience, or as some call it “brain hacking” techniques.
“Only when we break free of the need to please people, can we freely fulfill our purpose in life.”
If you personally struggle with people pleasing, here is a simple mantra you can adopt right away to set yourself free:
“I am worthy to live my life according to what best suits me. I accept myself fully as I am, and only attract people who respect me for who I am. I choose to be my authentic self at all times, and I am deserving to fulfill my life purpose.”
Remember to repeat it several times a day for 90 days. You can develop new habits in 21 days, but in order to code a new belief in the brain, it takes 90 days of daily mantras.
Six Simple Steps to Fulfill Your Purpose
Step One — Identify and remove your barriers. Work with a mentor, a coach or a therapist to get vulnerable about the beliefs standing in the way of your success.
Step Two — Ask yourself what you wish to be remembered for when your time on this planet comes to and end. What will be your legacy? Write that down.
Step Three — What are your values? Write them down. Do you value integrity, helping people, empowering people, making money, helping charities? Your values will not only be your guide through life, but they will attract who participates in your life with you.
Step Four — Identify your weaknesses and your strengths. Accept your weakness but leverage your strengths. Don’t waste time trying to fix you, spend time focusing on what’s already great about who you are and use that to your advantage.
Step Five — Adopt gratitude, vulnerability, and authenticity as your way of being. Gratitude will open you up to seeing possibilities, and overcome challenges. Vulnerability will allow you to forgive yourself and others for being imperfect. Authenticity will give you the strength to never sell yourself out, under any circumstances.
Step Six— Have a plan of action with measurable goals, and ask a mentor, coach or a trusted friend to hold you accountable to them. In the end, manifestation only happens in the world of action, not vision. Do the work.
Kay is a smart, strong, and independent woman who is raising a child on her own, put herself through medical school, and has ambition to make a difference in the world. She is a leader. All she needed was a little perspective and some life coaching tools.
Check out the life coaching session with Kay and see what commitments she makes to be true to herself and break free of expectations from others. Maybe you’ll discover some wisdom for your own life. You can listen to the podcast right here.