Why We People Please
People-pleasing is a survival-based activity.
Human beings are a tribal species. We need to belong to survive.
Because of that, it’s instinctual to seek approval from others.
People-pleasing is created by our evolutionary biology as well as social conditioning.
Biologically we are wired to search for danger and avoid rejection.
Social conditioning trains us to seek external validation.
Women have had to depend upon others for their survival for most of our existence.
It hasn’t been that long that women have gone from being property to owning property.
We needed a partner or family or neighbors to be happy with us and believe that we were worthy of their love and support to survive.
This has been passed down to us generationally and culturally through subtle and not-so-subtle messages.
But we see people-pleasing in men too.
I’m wondering if, as mother’s we’ve passed this on to our boys as well as our daughters. I’m pretty sure I did.
It starts when we are children.
Our view of ourselves and the world is formed between the ages of 0-7.
It’s also the time of life when we are most dependent upon others for our survival.
We hear messages like,
Be nice. What will people think? If you act like that, no one will like you.
Don’t hurt so and so’s feelings. It will make grandma feel good if you do that.
The basis of people-pleasing is fear. We did this in the past, for good reason.
But today, people-pleasing comes at a high cost to us.
One of my jobs as a coach is to help my clients discern when an actual survival response is warranted and when we are letting the survival brain take over and prevent us from growing.
For most of us, at least in the United States, the danger of dying from rejection is not likely.
The current reality is, in our more actualized society, people-pleasing is a dangerous game that we will always lose.
People-pleasing costs us valuable time, energy, self-respect, and love. It can cost us our health, interests, dreams, loving and respectful relationships, and a fulfilling life.
And people-pleasing deprives the world of the best version of you.
The world misses out on your uniqueness, your gifts, your energy.
What if the greatest gift you can give your loved ones and the world is a fully actualized you?
What if the world is longing for you?
What if when you consider yourself and your needs, wants, and desires, you are able to show up in a more powerful and loving way that is better for everyone involved?
I believe it is.
It’s not easy to overcome people-pleasing.
People pleasing and not people-pleasing will both feel uncomfortable.
But one will keep you stuck in an unfulfilling life, and one will move you forward.
Remember, the cause of people-pleasing is fear.
Do you want to live a life based on fear or love?
I want to always choose love.