Are you a people pleaser?

May 04, 2022
Do you fear rejection, upsetting others or how people react? Do you do things that don't serve you to help others? Or give more time to others than maybe you'd like?

As I've learned more about self development and growth, this hit me like a thunderbolt the other day.
I worry about getting things wrong, upsetting people or being criticised.
This hamstrings me as a coach as I hold back or take longer than I should in delivering uncomfortable news, posting conflicting opinions or recommending our services to people who I believe need them.
And when I have worked with a small selection of people who are less resilient to anything other than praise, who react badly to my well meaning guidance, I choose to let this reaffirm my belief that people aren't capable of criticism.
But this is MY perception. A decent percentage of people are more resilient and capable of being pushed and having suggestions made to their approach.
This is MY fear, not the reality of the situation. I realised this when I went to open an email by someone who is using their expertise to help me write a blog and I was flooded with nerves.
"What if I was wrong? What if I've pissed her off? Maybe she'll think I'm writing about things that shouldn't concern me?"
And of course. She was insightful, friendly and polite and my blog is better because of it.
The more we learn and assess our triggers, the better we are able to deal with them.
But where does this come from? I'm hoping typing this out will be some kind of cathartic relief. 
My Dad was (and still is) a quiet yet angry man. He says little, offers almost zero praise or affection, was occasionally angry and never fulfilled the emotional needs a father should.
I am extremely lucky and grateful to have had such a kind, caring mother that I feel despite this, I am luckier than most people.
But a physically present, but emotionally vacant father leaves a hole. 
"Treat them mean, keep them keen" applies here as I have historically tried to win his favour. Inviting him to watch rugby games, watch me box, view houses together. Almost all my efforts were rebuffed. 
And of course I remember these more than the sparse acts of kindness that I know full well were present.
Many of my childish acts were met with quiet or occasionally anger. And obviously these are the ones that stand out.
I was and am nervous around him. Despite the power shift as I am now the man, my brain is still rooted in these historic reactions and I feel these in his presence. 
This spills into the rest of my life. I feel the same nerves now when I challenge a client, or post a conflicting point of view. And I worry about upsetting or angering people and being distanced from them.
I have taken the blame for my Dad's actions. I have falsely believed it was my fault and taken responsibility. And I worry about triggering similar reactions in others today.
As humans we are wired to fear rejection. Being expelled from our tribe would likely lead to certain death. But this outdated operating system holds us back today. Which you can see with how I react to situations others would find normal.
Of course, this is all me self assessing myself and finding meaning, possibly in nothing. But whether or not this is true. It gives me solace in that these feelings stem from somewhere and are natural.
This then gives me the awareness to challenge them, and my clients, and those who read what I write to help me to help as many people live healthy, happy lives as possible.
By becoming more aware of how we as individuals instinctively react, we can catch ourselves doing this sooner and work through it. Rather than ignoring or numbing ourselves to our realities.
This is A LOT of what I see in people who follow what we do. Previous thought patterns impact their decisions as adults. I don't believe, for many people, it's as simple as not having your meals planned or doing enough steps each day. Although these things do form a part of our process, it's not where the most time and effort needs to go or where the biggest happiness shifts will come from.