“Most people pleasers are also persistent liars”.
Being a people pleaser myself, when I heard this statement, I immediately thought of reasons why this wasn’t true. I mean I would never intentionally do anything to hurt someone! My career and life’s work has centered on serving and helping others…prioritizing others above myself! How could I be a liar??
But when I sat down and thought about it, I realized how often I do lie, even without realizing it. I lie to my friends when I say I want to go to a party, when I actually just want to stay home and watch Netflix. I lie to my boss when I say I can take on another project, when actually I’m so stressed I contemplate quitting every day. I lie to family who ask how my life is going and I put on a smile on my face and say “great”, when actually I’m so depressed it’s a miracle I can get up in the morning. I lie on Instagram, posting motivational quotes about how we need to have a positive body image, when in reality every day I still struggle with body dysmorphia.
People pleasers don’t want to tell the truth, because in reality the truth is often painful, and we don’t want to inflict pain on anyone. We want people to be happy. We want to give, and put others before ourselves. We get satisfaction out of making these “small” sacrifices for the good of others. When we set aside our wants/needs/desires, we feel like we’re doing our jobs as parents, siblings, spouses, coworkers, and friends because others get their wants/needs/desires met.
And then we wonder why people take us for granted. We wonder why people don’t take us seriously. We wonder why we’re under appreciated. We wonder why we’re so anxious and depressed. And yet, we still lie. To others and ourselves. Telling ourselves that people pleasing is a GOOD thing, when in actuality we’ve been doing more harm than good.
By not allowing ourselves to have a voice, and an opinion we're doing a disservice to those we care about.
So how do we break this awful habit? How do we start living in autonomy and being truthful to who we are? Maybe you’ve been living as a people pleaser your whole life, and you don’t even know what you want! A good first step is therefore to get reacquainted with yourself. Ask what are YOUR wants/needs/desires? What lights you up? What drives you? What makes you happy and excited about life? Write these things down, and practice saying them out loud, so that when someone asks you a simple question like “what do you want to eat?” your initial response isn’t “I don’t know, whatever you want”.