PODCAST

Flexible or Agreeable? Bending to Please

Being a people pleaser

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On this show…we are getting honest with ourselves, opening the other eye, and asking a tough question; are we flexible, agreeable, or bending to please? You might identify with being easy-going or having a go-with-the-flow attitude. Never causing any waves and always blending in. Sounds nice and very agreeable but what if you are flexing and bending your belief systems, stepping out of your comfort zone, and compromising your values to please someone else? We all want to fit in and be accepted to some degree. Sometimes that degree is off the charts as we lose our identity in the endless pursuit for validation. How can we have it all; fit in and self-assert? It’s not as delicate of a balance as you might think. It starts with removing fear. When you operate from a place of how others MIGHT judge and criticize you, you lose your authenticity. What makes you, YOU. Let’s find that person and see what they have to say.

I always thought I was easy-going. Able to just relax and go with the flow. Matt cleared that up for me by reminding me of my lists, and schedules, and a need for “a plan”. Ok ok – he’s right. Maybe the word I was searching for was flexible or agreeable. I like people to be comfortable. I want to say YES more than I say no. I just want to make everyone happy……oops, yep I just crossed the line.

I am a people pleaser. I never really identified with that term or the fact that it may not be a good thing. Who wouldn’t want to please people? What’s the alternative, make people mad? I definitely shy away from confrontation and I feel a little anxiety if anyone is in an uncomfortable spot. This might seem super emphatic but I have learned over the years that balance in everything, is everything. Even in our emotions. 

Dr. Margie Warrell gives us a little more clarity in her article for forbes.com; Are You Too Agreeable? 7 Strategies To Push Back Without Coming Off Pushy

  1.   Distinguish position from person
  2.   Offer a solution
  3.   Back up your position
  4.   State the business case
  5.   Inquire before advocating
  6.   Yes and…
  7.   Concede defeat graciously

We all have ideas and things that are important to us. This is what shapes who we are. When we clone ourselves, taking on the likes and actions of others as a way to “fit in” we lose our unique identity. I can speak from a place of experience. I have been guilty of this more than once. It wasn’t a conscious effort. True people-pleasing or codependency is a deeply rooted, compulsive behavior. In the early stages of self-discovery, you may have zero ideas of what you’re doing you just know it isn’t working. You feel miserable, misunderstood, and never good enough. Trying to be someone you’re not is exhausting. 

But what if you let your guard down and just did you? Easier said than done and if you’ve spent the better part of your life being what you felt others wanted you to be, you may not even know who you are!

Doesn’t finding you and releasing your thoughts and opinions without fear, seem like a worthwhile leg of your journey?

Crystal Raypole shows us How to Stop People-Pleasing (and Still Be Nice) in an article she wrote for healthline.com

Recognizing the signs

Still not sure if you’re a people pleaser or just extremely kind to others? Here’s a look at some telltale signs of people-pleasing.

  • You have a low opinion of yourself
  • You need others to like you
  • It’s hard for you to say “no”
  • You apologize or accept fault when you aren’t to blame
  • You’re quick to agree, even when you don’t really agree
  • You struggle with authenticity
  • You’re a giver – do you give with a goal of being liked?
  • You don’t have any free time
  • Arguments and conflict upset you

If you identify with this behavior it’s a good thing to uncover no matter what your age and stage in life. You can live free by recognizing the characteristics, getting honest with yourself, and being willing to overcome the fear. 

Remember when I said “deeply rooted compulsive behavior” – it’s still there for me. Just under the surface and if I fall into former behaviors, it rears its head and I can be spinning out of control with this need to control and fix. 

I love coaching on codependency because it helps me to hear it over and over and it wasn’t until I got free that I became fully aware of how this behavior altered my perception and controlled my life. 

I’m honest with Matt and he understands that it does come from an honest place of love, however misguided. He gently reminds me when I’m starting to spin. I can’t tell you what that means to me. Not throwing it up in my face, criticizing me, or making me feel like I’m crazy. He patiently reminds me that “I don’t need to worry about that”. Just that easy. It’s the wake-up call I need to get back in my hula-hoop. Thank you Kate B for that wonderful visual which helps me understand boundaries and what I’m responsible for and what I’m not.

What if you could channel all your energy into finding yourself, activating your power, and elevating your voice? 

Beth Gray helps us with Finding your voice: loving your authentic life in an article she wrote for Inner Life Coaching

There is an extraordinary power that is held in YOU being You. When I suggest you need help finding your voice, I am not referring to a writer or a speaker. Instead, I want you to find the power of the small, still voice – somewhere deep inside – that dares to stand up for you.

Finding your voice is discovering the You that has investigated, for yourself:

  • What you really think
  • What you truly desire

Key Highlights

  1. When you operate from a place of how others MIGHT judge and criticize you, you lose your authenticity. 
  2. Speaking up to express an opinion that isn’t held by the majority takes courage
  3. It’s important to distinguish the opinion that you are pushing back against from the person who holds it.
  4. When we clone ourselves, taking on the likes and actions of others as a way to “fit in” we lose our unique identity.
  5. Doesn’t finding you and releasing your thoughts and opinions without fear, seem like a worthwhile leg of your journey?
  6. The urge to please others can be damaging to ourselves and, potentially, to our relationships when we allow other people’s wants to have more importance than our own needs
  7. Next time, challenge yourself to wait until someone explicitly asks for help.
  8. You can live free by recognizing the characteristics, getting honest with yourself, and being willing to overcome the fear. 
  9. Recovery might require a new set of standards and values by which to lead your life!
  10.  There is an extraordinary power that is held in YOU being You. 

CHALLENGE: take the time to uncover the authentic you; your opinions, your passion, and your voice! Being open to a new perspective is being flexible, going along with it just to be liked, is being too agreeable. Find a balance that puts your thoughts and feelings first. 

I Know YOU Can Do It!