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Is people-pleasing bad??

I had a conversation recently with a friend about people pleasing.

It seems like pleasing people gets a bad rap.

As a human being on the planet, it would seem that we would WANT to help people, right? Helping others is good! We’re always hearing about random acts of kindness and paying it forward. How could it possibly be bad?

It is true, the world could use a whole lot more kindness. There is so much division these days.

And yet, the answer as to whether pleasing others is good or bad is actually rather complicated.

It comes down to your intention.

Pema Chodron, is an author and Buddhist Nun. In her Compassion Card Deck, she teaches about basic Buddhist Principles using slogans. One of her slogans is “Don’t act with a twist” She explains, “Acting with a twist means having an ulterior motive of benefitting yourself. It’s the sneaky approach.“

When your intention is to make someone do something for you, to make them like you, or to establish “quid pro quo” you are acting with a twist. You could call it people pleasing, but it’s really manipulation. 

All of the above is based upon the assumption that you are not worthy of help, or of even being liked. Acting with a twist, never really gets you what you want.  Instead, it only leads to more dissatisfying experiences, because you never really receive the worthiness that you are seeking. Sure, you may receive a compliment or a thank you for your help, but the effect is only temporary because it comes from the outside in. 

A feeling of worthiness that lasts is an inside job. You are the ONLY source that can create lasting change.

The truth is, you are worthy of all good things by virtue of the fact that you are breathing.

Seriously…I wouldn’t lie to you.

I know this because the Law of Divine Oneness tells us that we are one with everything in the Universe. Indeed, we are made of “star stuff”. If we are one, then we are the same as everyone else, no better, no worse. We’re all just doing the best we can with what we have and we are ALL worthy.

The problem is that many of us don’t know this. We think we have to “get” something or “do” something to be worthy but we just don’t.

The shift comes when you begin to believe that. It may seem impossible right now. You may have a bunch of voices in your head that tell you otherwise.

But the truth is right there waiting for your acknowledgement.

Consider, perhaps, that all of those voices are wrong.

Those “voices” are the voices of your parents or family members, of a society that reminds you daily that you just don’t measure up, of past mistakes and injuries…

But none of them are you.

Your voice, your TRUE voice of your Higher Self is quiet and loving, curious and compassionate, it’s centered and calm.

And if you have never heard THAT voice, I invite you to seek it out. I promise, it’s there.

So, how do you do it?

First things first, believe that you are enough, just as you are. This is going to take some practice…and more practice and even more practice than that, but that’s the goal. And trust me, it’s a big goal!

Those voices will have something to say about it. Every time you think “ I am enough”, the voices in your head, will pop back up and tell your you’re wrong, but you just go on thinking it! And, keep finding ways to prove it, remember your brain will help with this! The more you tell your brain good stuff the more it goes out to find proof! (news flash, the more negative stuff you tell it, it will go find that too)

And then, one day, you’ll figure it out. Once you believe in your value you will begin to find many more reasons to love yourself. And when you are full of love for yourself, you want to spread that love and help others.

And because you love yourself, you will help when you can, but only if it feels RIGHT for you and only if you can truly be of service. If you will do more harm than good, then you will simply hold space and send up a prayer. You will leave the helping to others who have the energy and skills to do so. And you will love them for it.

So no… people pleasing isn’t the problem. The intention behind it is.

Once you have that sorted, you go ahead and help as many people as you can from the overflow of love that you have discovered within you.

And if you’re beginning to wonder how to break the pattern of manipulation and sacrifice, it may be time for us to talk.

Reach out.