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People pleasing; the problem with being nice

Are you often accused of being a people-pleaser or too nice?

Do you:
• struggle to say “no”
• find it hard to be speak up
• on the look-out for perceived rejection
• fear ‘negative’ emotions
• often do a favour for others at your own expense
• have a weak sense of self
• have difficulty with boundaries
• become emotionally dependent/co-dependent in relationships
• constantly need approval from others
• have a need to be liked
• collapse when someone criticises you
• worry what other people think of you

Consequences of being too nice:

Your happiness is in the hands of others
If you base your sense of worthiness on other people’s approval of you, the power is with others. You have subconsciously given away your sense of self-esteem to the whim of other people’s ability to notice, be grateful, polite or express their opinion.
You suppress feelings and build resentment
If you’re so anxious to make others happy, you suppress your own feelings. Suppressing emotions leads to a build-up of resentment and often sparks acting out of anger or frustration. This is often because your actions are conditional and come with expectations — that others will appreciate or reciprocate your efforts. Suppression of emotions eventually results in physical or psychological breakdowns.

The Cost of Pleasing in relationships

Our pleasing habit denies others the opportunity to help, give, and love us equitably.
Relationships are based on dishonesty, so there is no authentic connection.
We give up our power, happiness, and freedom to truly contribute.
Our unwillingness to risk being authentic and speak our truth creates hidden agendas that damage relationships.

Unconsciously or otherwise others can take advantage of you and, as you enjoy feeling needed and wanted, you unwittingly continue the toxic cycle

How to stop the cycle

  • Remember that you always choose to say yes or no
  • It’s OK to say that you’ll need to think about it
  • Ask yourself “What do I need?”
  • Know your priorities and values
  • Set limits and boundaries
  • Remember “What other people think about you is none of your business”
  • You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s OK
  • Seek feedback from people you trust
  • Learn to rely on your own judgement and assessments
  • Practice speaking up

Heather is a Mindfulness-based Psychotherapist at the Lotus Centre in Brookvale.

The compassionate art and practice of Self Care

What is Self Care?

The art of self-care is deciding to take personal responsibility for your own physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual well-being. Practising self-care is preventative, not selfish.

Why is it important?

Lack of self-care can lead to a build-up of stress, resentment and dissatisfaction with life. The stress hormone cortisol builds up in the body causing our immune systems to become more susceptible to illness and disease.

If you don’t take the time to exercise regularly or eat healthy, balanced meals this further increase the chances of chronic health problems.

Why is it especially important for women?

Women often suffer more from immune illnesses like chronic fatigue syndrome and thyroid disorders, ailments that experts believe are often exacerbated by stress. Women suffer emotionally from a lack of self-care can leaving us anxious, depressed and less productive.

Women often carry most of the mental and emotional load – women are the managers of the household and often the main caretakers of the family. We organise and manage the kids, the family social activities, the diary, the household chores, the bill payer, the meals, the list is endless. This mental managerial role often goes unnoticed. Women also carry the emotional load of the family.

Often women postpone self-care to better serve those we love — taking that bath can seem petty when your kids need help with their homework — although forgoing our own needs can actually damages those relationships in the long run.

Even though it feels like there’s no time for you, looking after your own health (emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually) is essential.

Here are some self-care suggestions:

  • Find time for friends – Laughter is the best medicine. Take time to watch a funny movie or laugh with a friend on the phone.
  • Learn to say ‘no’ and set boundaries. Identify situations where you habitually say ‘yes’ and notice if you become resentful – this is a clear sign that you have taken on too much.
  • Learn a mindfulness or meditation tool to help when your feel overwhelmed.
  • Accept help from friends, family members and professionals so you can have break for a few minutes, hours or a day or two. Learn to delegate.
  • Exercise: It has a positive impact on both your physical and emotional well-being. Aim for small enjoyable things try walking, run, swim, garden or learn yoga. It’s a natural way to relax body and mind.
  • Be your own best friend. If you were, what would you tell yourself right now? Look in the mirror and say it.
  • Make a list of activities or hobby that you used to enjoy and add some that you think you might enjoy.
  • Let yourself be cared for. A regular massage or Energy healing session or treatment might help to develop a sense of well-being and is something to look forward to.
  • Talk it over: A therapist can help assist with stress management techniques and will be a sounding board when you need to make decisions that are appropriate for your personal situation.

Heather is a mindfulness-based therapist, Hypnotherapist and Energy Healer at the Lotus Centre. Heather has three grown up kids, a husband and a dog. To book an appointment call 0405 821880.