Most of us want to believe we are good people, honest at heart and a source of love and support for those important people in our lives. The truth we have to face when we start to look more deeply is that in many ways we aren’t as honest as we would like to be.
Take it a step further…when I first began to look into my shadow I realized just how manipulative I could be. Now I am no professional trickster believe me you can read my facial expressions like a book, but I am the kind of person who wants to make people feel good. That means I used to go out of my way to help people, I wanted to be seen as the good girl, dependable and positive. It meant I would often say “yes” when inside I was saying “NO!” it meant I would often put other people’s needs first before my own…maybe this sounds familiar? Have you ever been a people pleaser too?
Now there is nothing wrong with be being helpful but there is something wrong in overstepping boundaries, your own or other people’s and lying to ourselves and others about how we really feel about doing something. Let me explain the subtlety of why…
When we help out of a need in us, perhaps it is the way we get love and appreciation in life, it means our intention is not totally pure and even if it is subconscious other people pick up on this and don’t receive your “help” so well. Quite often I noticed I used to attach subtle conditions to my help as well, I do this thing for a person and keep a score, they owed me, so my help wasn’t given unconditionally, it was never spoken about, but the energy meant the other person would feel it.
When we help others, we are also assuming they can’t help themselves and even that they aren’t able to ask for help when they need it. This assumption, where we put ourselves in the role of the savior, disempowers people and means we can easily slip into a cycle of dependency. It isn’t healthy for either party in the long run, it is a short-term fix that makes everyone’s egos feel better until they need the next injection of love or appreciation.
So how do we break the people pleasing cycle?
Firstly, stop assuming people need help and you are the person to give it. Change your perspective to one of trust and respect for everyone around you. And I mean everyone, your kids, your parents, your friends and neighbors. When we put people in an empowered frame, just that shift in energy can help others move into a place of their own power. If you perceive someone might need help you can ask instead “what support do you need right now?”, then follow their request, it carries a totally different energy.
Secondly listen to your own needs first. You can’t fill the cup of others from a cup that is empty. It is ok to say “yes I can help you and I can do it on Wednesday” rather than dropping everything for someone instantly. When we drop our own plans what we are actually telling our inner child is you don’t matter, what you need is not important and it keeps us in a place of needing love from outside of ourselves. Check in first…do I have the energy to really give unconditionally to this person right now? If any part of you is doubt don’t do it right away give yourself space to consider your needs first. Fill your cup. Give as it spills over not before.
Thirdly get honest with yourself about why you like helping others. We all lack love and appreciation in our lives sometimes, and that is ok. You can ask for what you really need, maybe it is a hug or a kind word or some admiration from someone. You can also acknowledge the f*ck out of yourself “I am utterly amazing I just got all this done and cooked a healthy dinner for my family, hell yes! Go me! I rock!”. The more you are your own saviour, your own source of love and appreciation the less you will feel the need to have others rely on you so you feel good.
I am not saying these steps are easy but every time you break the people pleaser cycle you empower yourself and those around you. Your break the chains of ancestral neediness that bind us unhealthily to one another and mean our sovereign selves cannot be seen. Be brave today and please yourself, I promise you are not being selfish you are being honest and better still as all our cups start to overflow we all get to share in the happiness, empowerment and trust that creates between us.