Attention People Pleasers: 6 Rules for Your Sanity

If you fall into the category of people who drive themselves nuts by trying to constantly make others happy: PLEASE read on.

(Or don’t if you just don’t want to. I depise those things telling me I MUST follow this person or read this email or I’ll die or be disappointed for the rest of my life. If you don’t want to read this, I’ll be ok either way; but these rules have helped others and may offer some insight).

To any People Pleasers in the house: you’ve got my empathy! YES, it’s great to make others happy and feel good. It brings us joy. And yes, being kind is a wonderful thing, the world needs more of it. Many of us love seeing the look of pleasure on someone else’s face and like knowing we helped to put it there.
But there are rules. Limits. Boundaries. You can’t do it all the time and it can’t be your only focus. It will wear you down, exhaust you, and eventually you can end up overwhelmed, tired, and worn out.

That’s why boundaries are so very very important; and here I called them “Rules”. They can be limits, stops, or lines you create for yourself but they’re all boundaries.

Here are some of the hard and fast rules I train people on:
Rule: Don’t please others in ways that cost you.
Rule: Make sure you have the room to ask for what you want, not just focus on what someone else wants.
Rule: Self care isn’t selfish.
Rule: Be mindful of giving to others when you don’t have enough for yourself.
Rule: Never place the value of someone else’s good opinion or attention above your own.
Rule: If you’re afraid to speak your mind, pay attention. (P.S. There’s a way to do it gracefully).

If you are a reforming (or reformed) People Pleaser, know that you can change. You can learn how to take care of yourself AND also do kind things for others, when it works for you. The energy is different. NO longer will you give when you’re not filled up; you’ll be able to recognize when it’s time for you to give yourself a Time-Out and recharge BEFORE you say “Yes, I’ll do that.” Just to make someone else happy. There are no medals for martyrs due to exhaustion.

You got this. You can do it. I know you can.


Are You ‘Giving to Get’ Love in Relationships?

Are You Playing the ‘Giving to Get’ Game in Relationships?

Is this you? Are you doing kind things over and over for others in order to get love?

This subconscious (and dysfunctional) relationship tactic might go something like: “If I give you this (or do this for you) then you’ll give me love (or treat me like I’m important/worthwhile).” And it’s destined for disaster.


Giving with an expectation of getting something in return is a common game we play on ourselves and in relationships.

Reciprocity (give and take) is built on the concept of mutuality; with both people participating. But when you’re playing the “giving to get” game, it’s far from mutual. The game is born out of a feeling of lack, and it ends in emotional pain. That lack is that you might feel needy, unimportant, not “good enough,” unlovable or unworthy exactly as you are.

In a “giving to get” cycle, one person ends up doing most of the giving, the niceties and forgiving while the other person is on the receiving end of all that kindness. Whether or not they asked for it.

In your mind you may think “they ought to love me, after all I’ve done.” You may not even know you do this, you may just wonder why you’ve ended up disappointed in relationships. “After all I’ve done for you, how can you treat me this way?”

May I gently remind you: it was your choice to do all that doing, no one made you do it. But the consequences remain that you may have given all of yourself to someone who wasn’t giving the same back.

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8 Ways to Get Over ‘Giving to Get’ and Find Love

8 Ways to Get Over ‘Giving to Get’ and Find Love

Recently I wrote the article Are You Playing the ‘Giving to Get’ Game in Relationships? about a tactic some of us unconsciously use in relationships.

What is it? It’s an unhealthy way we act in relationships if we believe we have to do something in order to earn the love of others. It’s ‘giving to get’ something in return; an expectation of being loved or cared for if you do the right thing or say the right things or act the right way. It’s a basic belief in conditional love.

Why do you need to stop it? It’s a set up for disaster. It leaves you disappointed and feeling taken for granted while you are angry at the other person for doing all the taking. But you set it up that way: you did all the giving.

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Resistance is futile: STOP for just one day

How often do we push down the feelings or thoughts that we don’t like? How often are we told to “look at the positives” or to imagine the best? While I’m a huge fan of the Law of Attraction (and the power of the positive), it seems like we may be missing a vital, and simple, lesson in growth.

By avoiding or resisting something, we give more power to it.

By trying to shove a feeling or negative thought down, we’re expending the energy to shove or push something that could just as easily be observed and released.

What do I mean?

Imagine a scenario where a friend of yours just got a great promotion, while you are struggling at work.

The first emotion that comes up may be one of jealousy or envy, and since that’s not a very spiritual emotion we may push it away. Or pretend it’s not there. The problem is that the feeling may cause a cavalcade of other “improper” emotions.

Your thoughts may start circling around feelings that you aren’t happy at your own job…or  nothing good ever happens to you, or your general lack of “enough-ness” (the thoughts that you aren’t smart, thin, young, old, rich or fill-in-the-blank enough).

“No”, you tell yourself, “that’s not positive so I’m going to ignore it.”

But yet that nagging feeling moves into your subconscious and while you may conveniently “forget” the original feeling, you may continue to feel something awkward around your friend.

Maybe you start to think she’s acting different, that her new promotion has gone to her head. Or you just feel uncomfortable but can’t quite put your finger on it. And that thought is still circulating in the back of your emotional brain.

While you aren’t using conscious energy to push the emotion anymore, there is still the internal resistance that’s created by not accepting the original thought or emotion. You don’t want to be “that person” that is jealous of his or her friends.

You don’t picture yourself as petty or small, so it creates incongruity. Yet you are still working on NOT being a jealous person. Instead of a person that does feel jealous every now and then, which is a more accepting way of dealing with some of those not so pretty emotions.

I see this a lot when working with people that are trying to change their health or bodies. They find themselves sabotaging their own efforts to become healthy, without understanding why. Sometimes it’s a feeling of deprivation that they’re reacting to, “I worked sooo hard and haven’t lost a pound. So it’s ok that I eat this brownie/box of cookies”.

Or the same when it comes to working out. All of a sudden they have reasons NOT to workout.  One of the best secrets to creating the body that you want is to stop fighting the body that you have. Learn how to change your view of exercise, working out, or fitness. I love the idea of PLAY.

My suggestion: for one day, IDENTIFY and ALLOW. And here’s the kicker… don’t try to fix it.

1. Allow the thoughts and feelings that show up to be there.

2. No pushing them down, or avoiding them.

3. Just accept them without judging them.

4. Don’t try to fix or change anything.

5. Just notice the thoughts and feelings.

6. Do nothing to change them.

The key is to identify the real feelings and not fix anything!

Our brains are often working on the solutions, or the fixes. And if it’s a feeling, there is no “solution”. If your brain doesn’t know “how”, then it’s going to want to “do something” so let it just notice the feeling. That’s the “doing”. Think about the feeling. Let your brain play with something shiny there.

If you need to say, “oh that’s interesting. I just felt judgmental.” Or jealous. Or felt angry. Or wanted to say something snarky. Even notice the thoughts you have about yourself like the judgements or attempts to be “good” or “bad”.

Not trying to change your feelings or thoughts is not an easy process, we’ve been programmed to push, learn, adjust, change, course-correct, alter, recreate, etc.

Just allow them to move through you with creating a stake in your subconscious. Without resisting your feelings or thoughts, you may find that you have more energy. To be YOU.

Just for one day.

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