I have been working with individuals one on one for 16 years. The phrase I hear the most is, I’m a people pleaser. I would describe people pleasing as the perceived need, desire or compulsion to take care of the needs of others instead of yourself. This can show up in passive ways that are invisible to others. Or it can show up in more overt ways, like overly focusing on the needs of others. The origin of this behaviour, often goes back to adapting to family dynamics to get our individual needs met.
I often refer to myself as a recovering people pleaser. I grew up in a family system that involved alcoholism, physical, and verbal abuse. In an attempt to solve this problem, I became the junior family counsellor and would try and calm everyone down. From time to time I would be successful. My motivation was actually quite simple. I was attempting to control my environment so I could have some inner peace. The problem is that this adaptation carried into all my future intimate and work relationships. In my experience people pleasing is an attempt to manipulate and influence situations. In relationships, I would be overly caring and give way too much. All in an attempt to be loved and cared for more. Often this would not be reciprocated and would result in unconscious resentments. In my case these resentments would build up over time and then I would get frustrated or angry. In my work, often as a manager, I would do everything possible to make my employees happy. Again, this would not be reciprocated in terms of their commitment and I would get angry and frustrated. In my life this created a core belief that nobody was there for me. In order to solve this problem, I was there for everybody but me. I think you will agree that this is not a very powerful solution
Loving yourself means being your own best friend, standing by yourself at all times, including times of failure; being there for yourself no matter what." - Anita Moorjani
In Human Design, people pleasing often shows up as a form of conditioning. (Related: 5 Ways That We Take On Conditioning) For Generators and Manifesting Generators (MG’s) this is actually a part of your design. You are designed to feel the joy you get from making others happy. When these types are living in alignment this in turn impacts everyone around them. In seeing this payoff it can become motivation to continue making others happy. The key is doing this with balance.
Imagine being invited to go to a dinner party and you say yes even though you don’t want to go. You said yes because you didn’t want to let your friends down. You go to the dinner party and realize just how much you don’t want to be there. You become frustrated and this impacts your mood. Instead of making others happy, you are actually affecting their moods in the opposite way. Remember, Generators and MG’s are meant to do what lights them up which in turn has an effect on those around them
Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others. - Brené Brown
3 Ways You Can Stop People Pleasing
Say yes to what brings YOU joy - This will be hard at first, but remember Human Design is an experiment. You try things out and see the results. The key is to use your strategy and authority when saying yes to things. If you are in alignment, you will have a positive experience which will open the door to feeling joy. This will require commitment and awareness on your part. With practice, your experiment will show you that putting yourself first is actually right for you.
Breathe IN - My friend Lynda Austin shared this with me years ago and it really put my people pleasing in perspective. Lynda is a channel and her source said to me, you can’t just breathe out! People pleasing is the equivalent of only breathing out. Of course we cannot survive if we only breathe out. This was brought a profound shift to my people pleasing and created lasting change.
Learn to say NO - Boundaries are an essential tool to bring an end to people pleasing. Sometimes we just need to say No. Boundaries in their simplest form are a series of yeses and no’s. As a people pleaser it can be challenging and difficult to say no. The re-frame here that I love is that when saying no to someone else you are also saying yes to yourself. The other message I like, is that No is a complete sentence. Of course there are all sorts of ways to say no without actually using the word. If we go back to the dinner party situation, you could say something like, “I need to practice some self care tonight and recharge my batteries, let’s plan for another time.” (Related: Setting Boundaries in Relationships)
I have to be honest, it will take time to shift your people pleasing habit. However, with awareness and practice you can definitely shift this behaviour one choice and one day at a time. Allowing yourself to be conscious of your choices and then seeing the result of practicing new actions will lead to change. The best part is that your needs will begin to be met and you will actually have more vibrant energy to reflect out into the world
What Are Energy Types In Human Design?
How Can Human Design Help You?
The Open Solar Plexus
5 Ways That We Take On Conditioning
Setting Boundaries in Relationships