Your People Pleasing Habit is a Power Suck
Whether or not we realize it, we take actions that directly give away our power. This is an awareness and avoidance campaign. Become aware of how you are doing this, and then avoid doing it.
When you people please, you sacrifice the power of bringing the authentic you to the table.
To please others and gain approval, you say “yes” when inside you’re screaming “hell, no,” you tell bold-faced white lies to avoid hurting feelings, and you suppress your voice, the power of your words, and the value of sharing what you’re really thinking.
You do whatever you can to avoid confrontation, thus giving away the opportunity to change a situation for the better and to learn and grow from the change. You’re giving away your personal productivity as you take on more and more in your desire not to disappoint and to be liked.
You’re acting like a robotic version of you, not the real version of you.
You may not realize that people pleasing quite often backfires.
The pleaser acts as such to gain affirmation and instead draws contempt.
Psychologist Maria Sirota explains this phenomenon:
Human beings are highly sensitive to power dynamics in relationships, and we’re always looking to see who the alpha is and who’s at the bottom of the totem pole...We’re aware, even if only on a subconscious level, of those who are insecure and lacking in confidence. People who aim to please come across as weak and needy, and many of us are inclined to react negatively toward them.
It gets worse.
Unfortunately, people pleasers attract manipulators who will take advantage of them, and they can even be the target of abuse from workplace bullies. In fact, it’s estimated that 12 million people experience workplace bullying in some form each year, with people pleasers being the clear majority of those who report such bullying.
How to Stop People Pleasing at Work
So how do you shift the emphasis from pleasing to empowering? Try this bullet-point list to put a bullet in your bad tendencies:
- Commit to 90 percent self-worth, 10 percent assigned-worth—How you feel about yourself should flow dominantly from your own self-appreciation and self-acceptance—two things you must get better at.
- Think of the You-niverse, not the universe—Stop trying to be everything for everybody in the world (leave that to Ryan Seacrest). Ask yourself if continually making others happy is really worth sacrificing your own happiness.
- Spot the difference between compassion and compulsion—Be on alert to what you’re feeling when you choose to respond in a people-pleasing way. Are you doing it out of kindness? Great. Are you feeling compelled to do it to because you want to avoid conflict or want approval, and afterwards notice you feel ticked off that you gave in? Not great.
- Remember that politicians never get 100 percent of the vote, and neither will you—Not everyone will like you. It’s a fact of life, and it’s OK. So stop trying to make it so.
Push through unease to unearth growth and change—It’s not easy to press through the discomfort of saying “no,” pushing back, or saying what’s on your mind instead of what you think others want to hear. But in doing so you can change someone’s point of view or help them realize something about themselves, while also delivering a more assertive and confident representation of yourself in the office.