Self-sacrifice and People-pleasing is NOT the Same as Kindness
Self-sacrifice and people-pleasing may look like kindness, but it isn’t nice at all.
Kindness can be deeply healing AND
Too often I see kindness used as a survival strategy.
As the only option …
There is another way.
I have written about people-pleasing before but inspired by a conversation with a friend this morning, I feel called to bring a deeper awareness of how this may look and its harmful impact.
We have so often been conditioned to meet the needs of those around us and to see self-care as selfish.
We are all busy juggling the many demands of life and the next day “rinse and repeat”.
However, I invite you to PAUSE and dive deeper to investigate your decisions, your thoughts and motivations …
Looking back at my first career in international project management and having worked with plenty of high-performing professionals in my current career, I often see self-sacrifice and people-pleasing driving many decisions. Intention matters, and people-pleasing, which is ultimately always rooted in fear, always comes at a cost.
People-pleasing is an adaptive behaviour that once was an effective survival strategy and that has become habituated, either to gain something (e.g acknowledgement, acceptance, approval, sense of belonging) or to avoid something (e.g fear of rejection).
It may be effective still in the short term, but many end up with burnout, health issues, relationship struggles or something else had to give. And of course, we end up feeling taken advantage of whilst it was our own behaviour rooted in feelings of unworthiness, fear of conflict or rejection etc that contributed to a lack of boundaries.
Change starts with awareness.
The following behaviour has nothing to do with being nice, it is people-pleasing:
❃ not expressing your true feelings to avoid conflict
❃ not asserting healthy boundaries in fear of rejection
❃ accepting blame to avoid conflict or to keep the peace
❃ worrying more about what others think than what you think
❃ committing to things without even considering your needs
❃ saying “yes” when your gut is screaming “noooooo”
❃ struggling to ask for help in fear of rejection or humiliation
❃ going out of your way to accommodate people
People-pleasing while neglecting your own needs leads to exhaustion, burnout, and resentment.
Neglecting your needs for the needs of others is not kind.
You can be kind to others while being kind to yourself.
I would love kindness to be a choice you want to make,
not the only choice you feel you have.