The issue of people-pleasing and the significance of learning to stop it is one to keep exploring I think, dear reader.
What is people-pleasing? Faking and manipulating.
It starts with the so-called ‘magic word’ children are taught to say to unlock the flow of bounty their way, ‘please’.
Say the right word, make the right sound, adopt the right body posture, vocal tone and facial expression, however disingenuous, and the other feels obliged to respond favorably.
Underlying at an unconscious level is the fear the other will punish and hurt you if you displease them.
It derives from childhood conditioning, where parents instituted a punishment/reward dynamic to train and modify the child’s behavior to suit their agenda.
Disingenuousness in itself is deleterious to the soul, because whenever you’re faking to any extent, you’re divorcing yourself from your soul, from your true nature, whence derives your personal power.
But also the underlying reason for it, the fear of people, which though quite natural, when left unaddressed, unacknowledged, and lurking in the shadows of your mind, forces you into false behavior, and the false thought patterns required to support the behavior. Whereas by addressing and accepting the fear of others – moment by moment walking down a busy street or whatever, it dissipates and you’re then able to drop the whole issue and be yourself, afraid or not, but at least not faking being unafraid when you’re afraid.
Desisting from people-pleasing however doesn’t entail learning to be a people-dis-pleaser. To the contrary.
Manners are essential. Manners – from the Latin manus means literally, how you handle people. Acknowledge all others as members of your global family of humans, and remember like you, all are feeling the inner torment that makes being human so exacting and ultimately rewarding.
Access compassion for that in everyone, whence your empathy, be informed by a willingness to be considerate, as in consider the plight of the other and without breaking pace be as helpful as you can, rather than be a hindrance even on a subtle energetic level.
Of course, show appreciation for the gifts others bring you by thanking them from the heart for every act of service, however small, and for each gift bestowed, even just the gift of paying attention to you for a moment in passing,
But try relinquishing the word, ‘please’ when asking for something and see what occurs in the gaps.
Please, in that context is short for if you please – a nonsense brought to Britain by the Normans (a Norman nonsense) – and manipulative degrading nonsense to boot.
If I ask you to do something please, I’m asking will you do this if it pleases you? Degrading because it assumes the other isn’t in command of their own mind enough to figure out whether it’ll please them to comply or not. And manipulative, because now you’ve set the please-protocol in motion it obliges the other to play along or feel the extra awkwardness of saying no.
Try asking for things without adding please – use the ‘please’ vocal tone on the final syllable of the question if you like – and watch what happens in the space between the two of you.
Balance out any arising disconcertion by saying a heartfelt thankyou when they comply of course.
It’s particularly interesting as an existential enquiry, this people-pleasing relinquishment process, when you observe yourself say parking or doing a three-point turn with cars stacking up behind waiting for you to complete the move. Watch the levels of tension rise in the body. Any degree of tension-rise is entirely due to the people-pleasing/punishment-avoiding tendency.
Any time you stop moving at your own natural pace in order to comply with the pace-setting of others, even if you’re just imagining that pace-setting, is deleterious – it disconnects you from the natural tempo at which the chi is flowing through you.
Imagine setting your own pace and sticking to it without exception. Imagine setting your own direction and sticking to it without exception. Imagine making your own decisions and sticking to them without exception. Perhaps you already do all this. But in reality no matter how much you advance in the non-people-pleasing endeavor, there’ll always remain a residue hanging about the garage bins out back.
That’s because people-pleasing is a function of the lateral prefrontal lobes, the most relatively recent area of the brain to evolve, and which facilitates language and all the stories we tell ourselves about how others will judge and therefore treat us, and all the sub-stories we tell ourselves about what will happen as a result, how we’re going to offset or fall prey to any imagined negative reactions.
Years and decades of conditioning have gone into developing that faculty , not just in your own lifetime, but for generations of your ancestors going back about 100,000 years ever since homo sapiens started gathering clan-wise in numbers greater than the natural maximum of 150 before people can no longer trust others to have their best interests at heart.
So it’s unlikely it’ll ever just go away and vanish.
The sensible approach as with all deleterious habits, as in habits that delete your chi, is merely to observe the process in motion.
The very act of observation in itself, along with an underlying intention to heal, as in reunify yourself, will dissipate the power of whatever is being observed.
However to truly observe your own front-brain-based mental processes in action you have to observe from the rear brain.
Hence imagine if you will, a benign magical being with superhuman power reaching in through the back of your head, gently taking hold of your mind in the forebrain and pulling it into the back-brain, all the way until it’s sitting up against the rear wall of the skull, and make a habit of it – continually draw your mind back to the rear wall of the skull and observe the world and your internal reactions to it from there.
Simultaneously develop the habit of maintaining an open heart in the front, as this connects you at soul level to everyone around you.
Also simultaneously inform yourself with an intention to always conduct yourself with genuine manners, to feel a genuine connection of kinship with everyone, and for this to protect you from harm.