EP04: Relationships and People-Pleasing

June 1, 2022


How you think about yourself and other people determines your relationship with them and yourself. This is why people-pleasing can be a problem. People-pleasers suppress their thoughts and emotions, ignore their own needs, and override their own desires so they are able to live for other people… so they can “please” other people. This is a problem when trying to have authentic relationships. What started out as a lesson in “What is a relationship?” morphed into how my religious upbringing and previous partners helped me create a mindset of self-doubt and lack of trust for myself. Thanks for listening and be sure to follow the podcast!


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Hi there. Thank you so much for joining me. Today, we are going to talk about relationships. I know big surprise, right. But I want to get super specific and talk to you about what relationships are. Like, what’s a relationship. Like if we’re going to be talking about that on this podcast, I want everyone to be on the same wavelength. And the reason why is because depending on where you grew up, how you were raised, you were taught different things about what a relationship is and how you’re supposed to be in a relationship. 

So in order for me to share some of my concepts, I want to be clear to you on how I think about relationships. Now, obviously you don’t have to agree with me. You can have your own idea about what a relationship is. But I invite you to consider my perspective on this because I believe it’s a powerful way to think about relationships and our ability to impact them. 

When I first met my husband, Joe, I kept having the recurring thought that he’s out of my league and what that created for me. This constant fear that he was going to find me unworthy or get bored of me, or think that there was something about me that didn’t measure up to him and his world. It actually took a lot of. 

Of mindset work and practicing self-love and self-worth and letting go of hating myself over things I’d done in the past to put myself in a place where I could. Joe loved me without reacting to him. I know it sounds kind of weird because we all, we all want love. We all want to be loved, and he is a very loving and generous person. 

But in my state of mind of thinking that he was out of my league, I was actually kind of wary and cynical of the love that he was offering me. I was always expecting it to be a trap. I was expecting it to be where he was trying to get something from me, that he was this nice because he had some ulterior motive. 

And when I look back over all my previous relationships, I can see that same pattern. Now, there were times that the people that I was in a relationship with were not authentically loving to me. They were out to get something, whether it was sex or just my attention or entertainment or whatever they were wanting to get. 

 So I had evidence in my brain to back this up, that it was very possible that a man could be very sweet and very generous only because he was wanting to get something from me. What I had to overcome in my relationship with Joe is that idea that everyone was that way. And I had to discern what was my brain making up stories about the way that he was behaving and things that actually were a problem that needed to be addressed. On the surface, that sounds like a simple thing to do, to talk to him about things that bothered me or make requests to change things. But what I was dealing with personally is the programming, the habit of being a people pleaser. Because one of the symptoms of being a people pleaser is that you learn to set aside your own feelings and your own thoughts. 

And after being in relationships where my partner would tell me that what I was thinking wasn’t real or true, or that the way that I was feeling about something was wrong, I learned to distrust myself. And so if someone did something and I got angry or upset about it, I would immediately question, “Am I being over-sensitive?”  

And “sensitivity” was something that had been put on me even at a very young age. I remember grownups telling me “you’re just being over sensitive”. And so I believed that my emotions weren’t real and that I wasn’t supposed to think and feel the way that I was, that I was wrong. That’s been huge for me to become aware of. 

I was taught that being jealous or being upset with someone was inappropriate. That I was supposed to trust everyone that I was supposed to always believe everyone, which put me in a position of being taken advantage of many times. And I’m sure my fellow people pleasers out there will agree that we often start out doing something nice for someone and then begin to feel guilt when we start seeing that we don’t want to continue doing that. It’s like we we’ve created this pattern where people depend on us and we don’t want to let them down. Because disappointing someone is hugely painful when you’re a people pleaser. I mean, that’s like the core of our being is making sure that the people around us are happy, are not upset. We hate seeing conflict. And so this causes us to do anything that we can to appease the people in our life. And in order to do that, we have to numb and suppress and set aside our own thoughts and emotions. And yes, I’m on the verge of tears, but that’s okay, because guess what? 

I have learned how to feel my emotions. I have learned it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to get angry. All of these things are okay. It is okay to speak up and tell people that you’re hurting. It is okay to voice your opinion, even if everyone else disagrees with it. Even if it makes your throat tight to share it. 

Even if your voice shakes, it is important for you to learn to share your opinion, voice your thoughts, feel your feelings. That is all part of being human. If you have been pushing those emotions down and suppressing your opinions and your thoughts, and just trying to fit in and just trying to keep the people around you happy you probably feel a lot of stress and anxiety and worry. 

Because those are signs of suppressed emotions, trying to come to the surface. Even if you’re out of practice in sharing those things, start sharing them. Even if people react negatively to you and tell you, you shouldn’t be saying those things and shouldn’t be thinking those things and you shouldn’t be feeling that way you have to say it, you have to get it out. Even if it’s just journaling, even if it’s just writing these things down. And I think this is why journaling is so important to introverts and people who are not already putting their opinions out in the world, because at least it’s a safe place that we can put these things out of our head and onto paper and express ourselves in some way. 

Okay. I went off into the tangent of people pleasing, but I think that’s an important thing to have in here. So this episode is going to be a little longer than normal. I don’t fucking care. This podcast is me putting my opinions, my emotions, my unexpressed thoughts, and feelings out into the world. And it’s either going to resonate with people or it’s not. 

Right? Because I truly want to help people get past all of this fear of speaking up, being authentically themselves.  

Even if it means you might hurt somebody else. Even if it means that. Because here’s the thing that’s people are gonna put on you. They’re gonna tell you, you can’t behave that way because you’re going to hurt somebody. And the thing is, is we already have that self governing going on inside of us. We don’t go around purposely hurting people. The only reason that other people will say that you are hurting them is because you are not aligning with their thoughts about you. 

You are not fitting into these parameters of who you’re supposed to be for them. The power for you is to set the parameters for yourself and who you are going to be for yourself.  

Okay. I got a little off tangent there, but let’s, let’s bring it back to the topic that I wanted to share with you on this podcast, which is my definition of relationships. 

Now, this, I didn’t make this up. This is what I got from my coach and mentor Brooke Castillo. But it’s what drew me to her. It is what drew me to this life of being a coach. And that is the idea that we say how our relationships go by how we think about other people. Just like I said, a moment ago about how people will get upset with us, because we don’t fit in their thoughts about us. People have ideas about who we’re supposed to. Right growing up within society, you know, women are supposed to do this. Men are supposed to do that, or, you know, older siblings, younger siblings, all of that. It’s, there’s all of these expectations and guidelines and all of these things. 

Those are just thoughts. Some of those thoughts are written down. Some of those thoughts are passed between generations, they’re within society. But these relationships are just thoughts and we get to decide for ourselves what thoughts we are going to think about other people. I had this whole lesson planned out and I even recorded it, uh, after my rant, but I didn’t like it.  

After I, after I shared with you all this stuff about being a people pleaser and how that affects relationships I went back and listened to that and listened to the lesson that I had for you. It just didn’t fit anymore. It was too strict, too rigid, and it wasn’t fiery enough, I guess. And um, that, isn’t how I want to show up. I want to show up as someone who’s ,um, figuring this out as I go, because I am.  

Yes, I’m a life coach and I’m a damn good one and I have helped people change their lives. And yes, I’m still learning and I’m still figuring this out and fuck, I’m probably going to be doing that till the day I die. 

But the thing is, is that I also have some trauma that I never acknowledged until the last few years. And now that I have, and I’m learning to work through it, that is going to have an impact on what I do and who I am going forward. It has informed my coaching and shown me how I can be of better service to my clients. 

How I can be more compassionate and still hold them to a higher level, to a level that, that they are aspiring to. Because aren’t, we all, aren’t we all aspiring to something higher than where we’ve been? Isn’t that why you listen to podcasts? To learn and grow? Right?  

I know that’s why I do. I want to, I want to learn how to be a better person. I want to learn how to be a better partner. But what’s making that happen for me is this exploration of how I think. And my time as a people pleaser kept me from exploring that. It dampened my curiosity. It caused me to be afraid of my own brain. It caused me to mistrust myself. And that just doesn’t work for me anymore. 

I love myself and there are moments I’m terrified and there are moments that I really hate what I’m discovering and I have to take a moment and take a breath and remind myself I’m committed to learning and that I’m not going to be perfect all the time or, you know, most of the time even. 

Um, I have to honestly say that creating this podcast has really given me an opportunity to examine how I think. Because I’m talking out loud and I’m an out loud thinker. So getting my, getting my, my brain outside of me on paper, journaling, has been something that helped me, but my hand can’t keep up with my brain. 

My mouth can’t hardly keep up with my brain either, but at least I can stop recording and catch up a little bit and start recording again and go back and edit if I really need to. 

 So I’m going to go ahead and wrap this up, this podcast about relationships, with this…  

Take a look at how you think about other people. Take a look at how you think about yourself. If there’s someone that you know, that you have a very specific perception of, you have opinions about them and you know someone else who has different perspective and a different opinion about them, take a look at their opinion, their thought, and see if you can see that in the other person. 

Really practice questioning the thoughts that you have about other people and about yourself. Are they true? And what if they aren’t? What then? What could that create? What could that create in your close personal relationships, in your partnership, in your marriage, within your family? 

Let’s stop living our lives from these default thoughts that we were given growing up and let’s start questioning them and deciding what we want to think intentionally. 

There are some great relationships out there that we’re missing out on when we don’t do that. And one of the best relationships is the one with yourself. 

Thank you so much for hanging in there with me. I hope you have an awesome week and I will talk to you again soon. Bye bye.

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Your relationship with yourself is the foundation of all of your other relationships

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