I had a day recently, when my authentic self retired to the park bench and my people pleasing persona decided to turn cartwheels down the street.
I was seriously annoyed at the syrupy, gushy, disingenuous way I was trolloping on. My voice was pitched up somewhere in My Little Pony Land and I could not do enough for people, smile enough and say sorry enough. Bleh! I was blasting a projected version of niceness and stupidity out there at one hundred decibels that was just too loud, fake and false. People pleasing is the ultimate sign of a Vatta blow out.
Here is what to do if you find yourself flaying around, acting like a syrup, dipped humanoid who can’t do enough to help, who can’t stop smiling and who is gushing more than that open wound on your wrists you have just sliced up in self disgust:
Tune into how you are feeling. If your self-respect has suddenly taken a dive to lick the bottom of the road then, as Thich Nhat Hanh teaches, allow yourself to feel the emotion.
Offer yourself compassion and comfort. Be with the feeling of degradation and view it as invitation to address a deeper issue.
You can start this by identifying your triggers. Who is it that sends you gushing? Why are you so desperately seeking their approval? Then what is it in yourself you have overlooked that you seek in this person?
Then, begin the work of addressing this need within yourself. The key to it all is self- contentment and self-worth.
Whether you are playing yourself down so you don’t intimidate or gushing so you can get some love and acknowledgement… the only way to stop the people pleasing is to begin to settle into your own skin and your own value.
Finally, meditate, meditate, meditate. Use a simple still mind meditation to bring you home again. Then, contemplate what you value; what is important to you. This will centre and ground you again.
So, allow your authentic self to rise up off the park bench and give the finger to that people pleasing imposter once and for all.
Zali Nash is an Australian writer and yoga teacher living in Moscow for a few years. You can get your pearly-whites into more of Zali’s articles at her website and blog Path to Contentment www.pathtocontentment.com