Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Letting Go of People Pleasing

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(Photo credit: dno1967b)
by Victoria Ayres

I heard something powerful recently by author, Eckhart Tolle that said something along the lines of: "Not everybody is going to like you, nor do you need them to like you."

I forget exactly how he worded it, but I had a light bulb moment with that.

I had heard that first part before, but never really considered the idea of the second part, that I didn't need anyone to like me.

It's okay to just relax and be myself without anyone else's approval.

I have been a big time people pleaser for the majority of my adult life.

I would morph what I said and how I acted according to who I was with, and would usually agree with people, so that they'd like me.

I realized not too long ago just how much I was doing this, and just how exhausting it was. I was putting so much pressure on myself to be super nice and have people like me that I began to notice just how fake I was.

I so wanted other people's approval, and yet so many times this inauthenticity would end up pushing them away anyway. I would prefer to be alone rather than with others because then I wouldn't have to be concerned about putting on this big, exhausting show for people and having them like me.

Your situation may be to a greater or lesser degree than mine, but I do feel like people pleasing runs pretty rampant with people.

What really has helped me to work through this is to first of all just have the awareness of this people pleasing tendency. By shining the light of awareness on anything, it starts the healing process.

I began to observe myself in action and noticed just how uptight I would get with others with the exception of a select few who are closest to me.

I then began to practice being truly present when I was with another person, and would practice giving them my full attention rather than focusing on what I was going to say next or how awkward I felt.

This gave them the space to just be and I could relax into the moment with them. If I found my mind beginning to steer away from the present, I would just bring it back. Taking conscious breaths helps, too, with just staying centered in the moment.

Letting go of people pleasing means accepting yourself. We don't think that who we naturally are is good enough, so we put on a show. When there is a desire to have everyone else's approval, it is because we're not accepting ourselves.

When you feel pure love inside for your own being and everyone else's, you realize that everyone is perfect just as they are.

I also came to the conclusion that I would just practice being where I am at with people without pretending like I'm so perfect. If they liked it great, and if they didn't then that's fine, too.

What I was doing before certainly didn't do me a whole lot of good, so why not just practice being where I am at with people, and see what that does for me. So far, no one has run away screaming, and in fact, my relationships are so much more authentic.

It has helped me to feel more relaxed when I'm around others to just practice being. It's really all about being in acceptance of one's self: all of it, every last, so-called apparent flaw.

When I embrace those things, it's funny how what doesn't serve me just naturally falls away and my inner beauty is allowed to shine through.

Victoria Ayres is a Certified Life Coach and writer. Her services are available via phone, Skype, and in-person. Visit http://www.VictoriaAyres.com or email her at VictoriaAyres11@gmail.com for more information. Follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/victoriaayres11 and Twitter at #VictoriaAyres11.

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