Where are you my gorgeous people pleasers? Listen up darling- this song’s for us.
People pleasing creates a tug-of-war between your soul and your ego. And guess which one wins...no surprise, it's ego!!
How do I know? Because I spent years living in this tug of war...wanting freedom- freedom to be fully me, to unapologetically stand in my own truth, and craving radical emotional honesty. Wanting to be seen, heard, and loved for all of me, not some safe curated, masked version of me. Yet feeling driven to hide parts of myself to keep everyone, including me, comfortable. To abandon my truth and shrink to win approval or acceptance. And to chase validation in order to feel that I had permission to take up my rightful space in this world.
I didn’t see it. I didn’t know I was in a war- but I felt it. I didn’t know people pleasing was actually codependent patterns built on a lie my ego believed. A lie my little girl self had constructed from the things she'd seen, heard and experienced. A lie she had wrapped around them that said, “Sandi you can only be okay if they are okay. Your okay-ness is dependent upon their okay-ness. So stay small, abandon parts of yourself, avoid conflict, fix, rescue, do what you got'ta do to make it all okay for them!!” Hence the drive to people please. Hence the aversion to conflict, confrontation, disapproval or discomfort of any sort. That was a load of misplaced responsibility that put a ton of unfair pressure on the "them's" in my life, and me. It meant I was responsible for carrying their pain, smoothing out their path, and fixing their problems. For being whatever I needed to be to keep them comfortable, avoid conflict, and restore a sense of okay-ness . It also meant they weren't allowed to take their own journey, have their own feelings, or god forbid- not be okay. I needed validation that I made them okay, so I could feel okay. It was a tether that kept me tied to others in unhealthy dependence. A survival strategy my young ego had created to secure feelings of safety and belonging. A tool that had stopped serving me long ago, but one my ego had grown to depend on. Literally, I didn't know any other way. Please, perform, perfect...rescue, fix, smooth...hide your shadows, be bright & shiny, but don't be too much....ugh, it was exhausting!
It was a tether that kept me tied to others in unhealthy dependence. A survival strategy my young ego had created to secure a feeling of safety and belonging. A tool that had stopped serving me long ago, but one my ego had grown to depend on.
Yet my soul also wanted more. And it would not stop whispering the truth. My soul and ego were in a tug of war. Stay safe, keep to our strategy...or be FREE. Gratefully my soul won and today I am free. Today I no longer ask you to be responsible for making me feel okay. I know I can be okay even if you’re not, because I know that you are you and I am me and we each get to be responsible for our own inner worlds, our own happiness, our own okay-ness. And I no longer seek permission to take up my rightful space in the world. It’s a deep abiding freedom that I never knew was possible. It is the work of codependency recovery. It's been hard. I've had to unravel the lies and learn new healthy ways of connection. Some days it's still hard. Some days I find myself being pulled into the dance, and others I find myself running in the other direction. I don't know that it will ever come natural to me. But I do know that now, I have a whole new set of tools to help pull myself back to center.
Beautiful Sister....people pleasing is not benign - it is not some little thing - it is not “just being a nice or overly caring person” - it’s a lie that controlled me, stole my freedom, and slowly killed my soul's aliveness. It drives us to hide parts of ourself and to trade our souls freedom for validation. Sweet pea, that is NOT what is meant for you or me. We were created to be all of who we are - that’s our best most beautiful self. We are NOT better, the world is NOT better, when we hide behind the mask of people pleasing. Sister - it is your work, my work, our work...to rediscover who we are, what we are capable of, what our best most authentic self looks like, and to BE that...ALL of it!!! Freedom comes when we realize we don’t need anyone else’s validation to feel our worth. It’s time to rediscover who you are and what you’re capable of. What is meant for you. It’s time to live big and brave and true within your one precious life...whatever that looks like for you.
Freedom comes when we realize we don’t need anyone else’s validation to feel our worth.
It's possible. There are tools and strategies to help you get there. Shannon and I have spent years learning and gathering them- we share them with you here. And there are sisterhoods, like ours to support you, guide you, and encourage you. So how do you get to freedom? Where do you even start? Well, you start where you are...
Awareness. Start by becoming aware that you're using people pleasing as a coping strategy. That it's no longer serving you. That the the cost is too high.
Own it!! Sis, you've got to get honest here and own it. Own that people pleasing is not harmless. It's not just "being a really nice or overly caring person." It is a unhealthy survival strategy that is keeping you from showing up in your life bravely and authentically, and it's causing you to trade your souls freedom for validation. Ouch...I know it hurts. But it's your step towards freedom.
Willingness. Now that you know better, you've got to put on your brave girl boots and be willing to change. That's scary because people pleasing (codependency) has been your survival tool that's got you this far. And that's okay. Yay for you...look how smart you were to find a way to be okay in the world. Be grateful. But now it's time for better. So be willing to sit in the discomfort of change. Be willing to put in the hard work. Be willing to learn new ways, use new tools, and to connect with new people on the same healing journey.
This brave hard work...this is your work. But you are not alone. Gorgeous friend. Begin to cut the rope. No more tug-of-war....instead begin to choose FREEDOM! You are so worth it. And we've so got your back.