9 Ways You’ve Been Trained to Be a People Pleaser
Welcome to Episode 23 of the Feel Good Superpower Podcast.
Today I’m talking about the 9 ways you’ve been trained to be a people pleaser & how that label was created… with my anecdotal evidence that society creates and upholds the need for People Pleasers
First, I want to say that being a people pleaser is not a bad thing. I invite you to stop feeling bad about wanting others to be happy or wanting to have a feel good happy world. Know that it is not your fault – because there are more than 9 ways you’ve been trained to be a people pleaser… I am only sharing nine of them with you.
And… I am going to share how most people have people pleasing skills but people pleasers excel with these skills.
Shaming you or blaming you for being too nice, too kind, a pushover, or worse creates unnecessary mental and emotional trauma.
The extreme form of people pleasing where we sacrifice ourselves for others is not the topic for today’s show… I will share my thoughts about this another time.
I do want to talk about how our systems and culture have created a damning picture of a people pleaser.
But first… here are some of the feel-good fabulous qualities of healthy people pleasers:
Click the play button to listen to the podcast about 9 ways you’ve been trained to be a people pleaser.
Be sure to scroll down this page so you don’t miss the video and free offers.
Here’s the rest of the transcript for The The 9 Ways You’ve Been Trained to Be a People Pleaser:
There are 9 ways you’ve been trained to be a people pleaser without going into too much detail as I believe you’ll be able to relate and identify examples of your own for each one:
- As a child, you’re taught how to please your parents and are rewarded for it
- And punished when you don’t which reinforces the behavior of pleasing your parent
- When parents talk about someone else’s child’s achievements or behaviors favorably, their child may try to be like them to please their parent.
- Proving ourselves to our parents or authority figures is a form of pleasing behavior
- Teacher-Student and School
- In school, you are taught to be like everyone else. The education model is designed for conformity – one model for every student… so when you don’t fit in… you try to find ways to fit in to survive… fitting in is a form of pleasing behavior.
- Students are taught to please the teacher and those that do are rewarded and acknowledged… those that don’t are ignored, dismissed or admonished
- Then, parents who hear good things from their child’s teachers, are pleased. This instills the pleasing others mindset.
- It is costly to not fit in… to conform, so we learn how to be pleasing to other students and the adults around us so that we’re not bullied, mistreated, dismissed, ignored, or criticized
- Body Image
- I don’t think I need to say anything about this do I? Women have been objectified so much over the years that I don’t know any woman who does not have some self-critical issues with their bodies. If you’re not pretty or thin… well it’s the end of the world. So what do we do – we try that fad diet, or fad exercise program, or fad pill or treatment to try to make ourselves look like the photoshopped image of models and actresses plastered on billboards. We want to be pleasing to others.
- Boss to Employee
- We’re set up to please the boss or manager from the first time we meet them… starting with our application and resume, then the job interview, and then we have to maintain that throughout the time we are in the job.
- It’s a constant please my boss, coworkers, and customers environment
- Performance Appraisals
- In a job situation, managers usually hold performance appraisals with their employees. This is another structure designed to ensure we please our managers and our customers.
- Now we have boss pleasing and your boss is a person – so it’s people pleasing.
- Customer Satisfaction
- If a business’s customers are not satisfied, then the employee is going to get feedback and be asked to improve or even get written up or fired. These are another word for people pleasing – in this case customer pleasing.
- Service Based Economy
- We live in a service based economy and the #1 quality that is needed by those who provide a service, is customer service and satisfaction – which are just other words for people pleasing.
- Whether it’s your sibling, aunt, uncle, grands, or distant relative… we’re all performing in a way to make them happy or have a good time. This is so prevalent during the holiday family gatherings. So much energy and effort is put into creating a peaceful environment for everyone. People Pleasing.
- Is also a structure for people pleasing – following a set of conditions and norms – conforming again… and if you don’t agree with it all or ask questions… well judgment, criticism, gossip get fueled in that community.
It is unfortunate that it is common to be shamed for being motivated by pleasing others. You may be surprised to learn that people pleasing is not a medically diagnosed disease, nor is it a diagnosed mental or emotional disorder.
I found the origins of the words people pleasing to be disturbing… mainly because it has become a label with which to discriminate against those of us who are empaths, sensitives, kind, caring, giving, and compassionate. These traits are a good thing… as long as we don’t sacrifice ourselves in any of our relationships.
In the 1970’s, medical treatment for alcoholism as a disease, was focused on the alcoholic. Once treatment centers found that involving family and partners of the alcoholic in the treatment and support process generated lower incidents of relapse with higher periods of sobriety, the term co-alcoholic was created.
Then in the 1980’s, drug treatment programs formed the term chemical dependency from the perspective of addiction to alcohol or drugs. To create a most publicly unifying term, the word co-alcoholism was updated to co-chemically dependent. But this was too much of a mouthful to say… so it was shortened to co-dependent.
So Codependency was used to describe a person who is in a relationship with an addict and who enabled them in some way with their addiction. But all of a sudden, the term co-dependent became a term to describe someone who attracts and gets into relationships with narcissists or addicts. It was at this moment that the term people pleasing came into being – to describe codependents who would automatically make sacrifices to care for others who are incapable of reciprocity… Codependents have difficulty in resisting getting into relationships with people who are addicts, controlling, or narcissistic.
By the 1990’s the term codependent and people pleaser became mainstream. I find this unfortunate because
Ross Rosenburg concisely and clearly defines codependency in this book The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us as follows:
Codependency is a problematic relationship orientation that involves the relinquishing of power and control to individuals who are either addicted or who are pathologically narcissistic. Codependents are habitually attracted to people who neither seem interested nor motivated to participate in mutual or reciprocal relationships. Hence, the partners of codependents are often egotistical, self-centered and/or selfish. Typically, codependents feel unfulfilled, disrespected and undervalued by their relationship partner. As much as they resent and complain about the inequity in their relationships, codependents feel powerless to change them.
To me, it is inappropriate to be cavalier with labels like codependent or people pleaser. They are medical terms and should be treated as such. But, suffice it to say, I see these two terms being used by the general public all too often without fully understanding the origins, meaning or ramifications of doing so… nor are they qualified as a medical or mental health professional.
Words have meaning and energy. They can be weapons of destruction. I invite you to be honoring of these words going forward.
Here are the sources from my research for your reference:
Disclaimer: What I am sharing here is not a replacement for licensed professionals. As an Intuitive/Sensate Life, Relationship and Business Coach, I am not providing health care, medical or nutritional therapy services, or attempting to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any physical, mental or emotional issue, disease or condition. The information provided in my podcast pertaining to any aspect of your life is not intended to be a substitute for the professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by your own Medical Provider, Clergy or Mental Health Provider.