The Good News for Breaking a People-Pleasing Habit.

katie pulsifer coaching, life coaching, people pleasing

I would define a people-pleasing as someone who is doing something for others in pursuit of a certain, desired outcome.

There is an expectation of a particular result ahead of time. And the result that the people-pleaser is going for, is always a positive feeling.

In other words, the people-pleaser pleases in order to feel good.

Let me explain this a little further. We have a well-intentioned belief that if we do something nice, kind, helpful for someone else, then we will make that person happy. If we make that person happy they will likely be nice, kind and helpful to us.

If we make them happy, then they will make us happy.

And if we become really skilled at making someone happy by being nice, kind and helpful, then we may experience receiving even more from them. Not only will they make us happy – we may also get the other person to like us, make us feel appreciated, loved, secure and taken care of. They might also even agree with us, stand up for us, support us, need us and approve of us.

Wow. That feels amazing. The people-pleaser figures out that making other people happy means that not only do they get to feel good, they get all these other positive emotions and experiences as well.

But what happens when the people-pleaser doesn’t get the outcome that they were expecting?

It can be very difficult to deal with. People-pleasers think that they can expect a certain outcome (happiness, kindness, helpfulness) from the person that they are trying to please and when they don’t get it, it can so hard to understand. Many people-pleasers will think that something is wrong with them. They might have thoughts like this.

I didn’t help them enough
It just wasn’t good enough
It wasn’t what they wanted
I have let them down
I am not good enough
They don’t like me
They don’t appreciate me

These kinds of thoughts can be very painful for people pleasers to think and often create feelings of insecurity, self-doubt, worry, anxiousness, and regret.

Negative emotions like this can be hard to handle and may push people-pleasers to try even harder to make others happy, even trying to anticipate and manage other people’s needs, at all costs.

This is the negative ugly cycle of people pleasing.

As people-pleasers attempt to create happiness in others, they can lose perspective and connection to their own happiness. Their own needs become secondary.

Resentment builds. Anger surfaces. It gets ugly.

The people-pleaser feels miserable.

And breaking the cycle seems impossible.

Except it isn’t.

So many of us find ourselves in situations like this because we believe that we are the ones responsible for creating the feelings in other people.

But, that is not the way it really works and here is why that is such good news for you.

Everyone creates their own feelings from the thoughts they think. We are each 100% responsible for what we feel. No one can make us feel anything. Feelings are created from thoughts, not from other people and events.

So how is that good news?

First, we get to think whatever we want. As human beings, we can think about our thoughts. Which means that we can notice them, see the effect of them and CHANGE THEM. Thoughts are fluid. Thoughts are only opinions and impressions of the world around us in that moment. And we always have the option to think whatever we want.

Yes, we can change our thinking anytime we want. And changing our thinking changes our feelings. Our feelings are our own responsibility.

Feeling miserable comes from thinking thoughts that make us miserable.

Feeling happy comes from thinking thoughts that make us feel happy.

The second reason this is such good news is that it means that other people do not need to change in order for us to feel better. Other people do not need to be happy for us to be happy. We have the capability of choosing the emotions we want to feel, regardless of what is happening around us.

This is incredibly liberating, especially if you are a people-pleaser who is struggling to manage your own emotions because you believe that you have to create happiness in others to feel good.

You do not – that is not your job. That responsibility belongs to them.

You can create your own happiness and any other emotion that you want to feel, anytime you want. I recommend that you focus on self-pleasing first. Figure out your emotional needs and give that to yourself. Then go out into the world and do amazing, caring, helpful and kind things for others – without any attachment to the outcome. Knowing that you have taken care of yourself ahead of time.

If you want to learn more strategies for who to kick a people-pleasing habit for good, join my upcoming FREE CLASS “6 Reasons Why People-Pleasing Hurts More Than It Helps. How to break the habit that keeps you from having everything you really want!” 

 

For class details and to reserve your seat – CLICK this LINK

They Gossip and I Let Them.

gossip

Early last week, I heard some gossip. Someone I know was saying untrue and unkind things about me. Then over the weekend, I heard some more gossip – that a friend was dramatizing and blowing out of proportion something about my daughter.

When I found out about both of these situations, my immediate response was to think that I had done something wrong and that I was to blame.

Of course, it had to be my fault!

My stomach started to hurt. And I scanned my mind for every possible clue of how I could have upset these two people. I was fixated on this for days and became completely distracted by it.

I desperately needed to find the evidence of what went wrong, so I could immediately get to work fixing it.

I had to find a way to change their minds.

I replayed every interaction, every conversation in my mind. I put myself in their shoes.

How could I have let this happen? How could I have given them just cause for the gossip?

Wait a second….hold on here. What was happening?

Who was this obsessed, self-critical, crazy person that just showed up?

Oh, right – I know her. It was ‘the old me’ back to pay me a visit.

I knew ‘the old me’ very, very well. We had lived together for a very long time.

She didn’t like confrontation and she liked everything to be perfect. She wanted everyone to be happy.

She was a master at taking responsibility and apologizing for things that were not her fault.

She also always wanted to be liked, understood and never judged harshly.

She hated gossip {especially when it was about her or anyone she loved}!

No wonder she was back.

A few years ago, when ‘the old me’ was running the show, she worked hard to make sure that everyone got the right impression about her. She people-pleased her way through life trying to make sure that no one ever said anything negative about her, ever.

Except, that they did.

She tried to control the impossible.

She turned her life upside down to manipulate outcomes that she had no business trying to manipulate.

Despite her best efforts, she found out that not everyone liked her.

And that they definitely didn’t understand her and they also judged her harshly whenever they felt like it.

They were going to keep on gossiping.

Learning this lesson was crushing at first. Quite devastating, actually. To think about all that wasted effort. All the hard work that you can pour into getting someone to know you, to like you, to understand you and be loyal and kind to you forever.

Except that it just doesn’t work that way.

Grown-ups get to do whatever they want. Boy, did I resist this lesson at first – but, the fact is that it’s still true.

Yes, they get to think and feel whatever they want. ANYTHING they want, ANYTIME they want!

They can form their own opinions, change their minds and behave however they want.

Even if it is not what I want and it makes me uncomfortable.

Even if it means that they decide not to like me or my daughter or to say untrue or unkind things about either one of us.

katie pulsifer coaching, gossip

Yes, what I want them to do is completely irrelevant. Just like what they want me to do, is irrelevant to me.

When I really began to understand this and apply it to my life, I realized that I didn’t want anyone trying to manipulate my thoughts, feelings or actions either. I wanted to be free to decide what is true for me. I wanted to conduct myself according to my standards and be responsible for my own emotions and not someone else’s.

And, here is the part of the learning of this lesson that has brought me the greatest relief and has helped keep ‘the old me” in check – I decided to believe that I am really OK with other people being wrong about me.

Yes, people get to be wrong about me. And I can just let them.

They can misunderstand me. They can judge me harshly. They don’t have to like me for whatever reason. And, it’s totally ok.

AND IT’S SO MUCH EASIER…

Because here’s the deal.

All my efforting to please others, to be understood, judged fairly and to be liked was based on convincing others to be RIGHT about me. And that pulled all my focus, energy and power away from me (something I can always control) and placed it all on other people (something that I can never control).

I was spending my entire life inside of other people’s lives trying to influence things that were actually none of my business.

The only person that ever has to be RIGHT about me, is me.

So, I told ‘the old me’ to take a hike.

And I settled into the acceptance that these two people have some negative thinking about me and my daughter. And that I don’t have to do anything about it. They can gossip and I can let them.

At first, it was hard to accept this. But I keep practicing the acceptance and letting go of wanting to control these situations. I knew that despite my discomfort, I was choosing the easier path.
Because I knew the alternative (convincing them to change their minds, believe something different, be right about me) is much harder and ultimately, impossible.

It would have taken hours and hours, perhaps even days away from my own life. It would have taken me to places (their minds and emotions) where I didn’t belong. It would have triggered all my old manipulating and people pleasing.

And I am done with that, for good.

Hello, ‘new me’!

What about you? Ready to let them gossip and not have it turn your life upside down?

If you prefer, we can figure this out together – because I know that two minds are better than one. Book a complimentary Breakthrough Session to see how letting go of what you can’t control and allowing others to be wrong about you, can help you to start feeling better immediately! Let’s take 30 minutes to talk about it. Book your session today!

What Boundaries Can Never Do For You And Why.

boundaries

As a coach, I get a lot of questions about boundaries.
Here’s one from a recent client:
“I feel like everyone in my life is taking advantage of me. I guess I have no boundaries. Can you help me with that?”

I start the conversation asking her to share an example.

And the example always goes something like this…

“So-and-so wants me to help her out with such-and-such. She is constantly asking me to do things for her. She has absolutely no respect for my time or my schedule. She always thinks that I can drop everything and be there for her. She has no appreciation for me at all and I am sick of it.”

I am curious about what she does next.
And the answer is always something like this…
“I tell her that I can help her out.”
I ask why.
“Because she asked and I don’t want to disappoint her.”
A-ha.

I told her she didn’t help to create boundaries.
She needed help getting good at no.
We all get this one confused – especially when we are people-pleasers.

We believe some crazy things about boundaries.

1. We think boundaries are these invisible shields of protection that will prevent the requests, the favors and the phone calls for help.
2. We believe boundaries will teach people to stop taking advantage of us and then they will know exactly how to treat us better.
3. We think that boundaries with stop the potential disappointment that others will have in us.
4. And finally, those boundaries set an expectation of how other people should act with us.

Boundaries don’t have these 4 superpowers. They can’t do any of these things.

And here’s why.

People are going to do whatever they want, whenever they want.

They are going to ask for help, favors and make requests. And they get to do that.

And you get to respond to those requests in whatever way you want to.

Just because someone asks you for something, does not mean that you have to say yes or believe that you are being taken advantage of.

Here’s the real superpower that you are looking for – getting good at no.

Getting good at no means getting good at telling the truth.

This matters because every time you say yes when you really mean no – you are choosing to tell yourself and the other person a big, fat lie.
Lying is choosing to take advantage of yourself, to not appreciate yourself, and to disappoint yourself.

Telling the truth is what teaches people how you want to be treated because it shows them how you treat yourself.

Boundaries do play a role in our relationships but rarely do we actually need them. 9 times out of 10, the problems that we are having in our relationships are about the way we treat ourselves. The better we treat ourselves, the better our relationships. Treating ourselves better begins with us telling the truth.

And here’s what getting good at no can do for you.
A no can be delivered with kindness and love. Kindness and love are emotions that you experience and they feel good!
No is a sign of self-respect. Self-respect increases your trust in yourself!

No makes your future yes that much sweeter.

You will be much more excited about your yeses without all the resentment and irritation!

Ready to say no more in your life? Book a complimentary Breakthrough Session and let’s talk about why saying no is a challenge and how you can move past it.

 

4 Powerful Lessons to Create an Empowered Life

Here are four of the most significant lessons that I have learned and used to create an empowered life.

These lessons have changed my life in radical ways – helping me to let go of what I can’t control and focus on what I can. These lessons have taught me how to know myself better and how to positively influence every direction of my life, creating what I want on purpose and not by default.

 

1. Stay out of everyone else’s emotions.

I’ll admit, this one took me a long time to learn.

I used to believe that it was my responsibility to create other people’s emotions.
I believed that it was my job to make people feel happy, appreciated, included, calm, engaged, interested and special.
Therefore, I believed that it was also my responsibility to ensure that the people in my life never felt disappointment, anger, sadness, frustration, worry, fear or loneliness.
I thought that was my job and just the way things worked.
It meant that I spent a lot of time trying to ensure that people would feel the way that I wanted them to. Of course, I wanted the people I knew and loved to feel good (positive emotions) and to never suffer (negative emotions) so I worked really hard to manipulate situations, so there would always be happy endings and positive outcomes. I tried to anticipate potential negative outcomes and remove that possibility if I could.
It was a lot of work. It took so much effort. It was exhausting.
Sometimes I felt like I was successful and a lot of the time, I felt like I was not.
I continued to do this, until I learned the important lesson that other people’s emotions are none of my business.
People get to feel and experience any emotion that they want.
I have no business going into their lives and trying to manipulate circumstances in order to create a specific outcome.
Their emotional experience is 100% their own responsibility. It is for their benefit. What they do in their lives is entirely dependent on what they feel. I have no place trying to influence their experience of processing their own emotions – whatever that means for them.
My only job is to create, observe and understand my own emotions and manage them effectively. Lesson one of living an empowered life.

2. Stir up some fear and self-doubt on purpose.

I used to be very risk adverse.
I was afraid of experiencing fear.
I hated feeling self-doubt.
So, I lived in a very cozy comfort zone. Everything was safe and predictable. I loved trying to control everything and make it perfect.
Perfect to me – meant stable and consistent, reliable and steady.
And it also meant my life was stagnant and stuck.
The safety and security that I had created around me was like a protective shield and it was literally sucking the life out of me.
I craved growth and evolution in my own life. I loved learning new things. But as soon as a little fear of the unknown or self-doubt about my abilities to create something new creeped in, I retreated back to the security of my comfort zone.
I started new things and stopped when I got scared, felt uncertain or uncomfortable.
I didn’t know that evolving and growth automatically meant that fear, self-doubt, uncertainty and discomfort would show up.
I didn’t know experiencing the feelings of self-doubt and fear are exactly what I had to experience in order to grow.
I learned that those emotions came from my thoughts.
Those emotions are actually harmless.
The worse thing that could ever happen is that I would feel some self-doubt, some fear, some uncertainty and some discomfort.
Those emotions would wash through my body and I would feel them.
And by being willing to experience them, I would grow towards the new thing that I wanted to learn. I would evolve and stretch myself towards the new experience and ultimately create a new experience in my life.
I learned the lesson that fear and self-doubt are a necessary and manageable part of growing out of a comfort zone. Lesson two of living an empowered life.

 3. Protect my yes.

I used to believe that I had to do it all.
I had to always say yes.
To create the best for family. To make everything perfect. To please everyone. To never disappoint or let anyone down. To always be prepared for anything.
And that I could never ask for help doing it all.
And guess what?
I completely wore myself out.
For a while, it was fulfilling work. I told myself that it was noble.
It’s what women do – they just take care of everything.
And then, my exhaustion caught up with me.
I stopped taking care of myself.
I was angry.
I felt unappreciated.
I was disappointed.
I was deeply resentful.
I didn’t understand why I had these feelings and then I felt badly that I had them. I was ashamed that all my attempts to take care of everything and make it perfect didn’t bring me more satisfaction. It was distressing to realize that I was actually making myself miserable trying to be a woman who took care of everything all the time, at my own expense.
Then, I learned the important lesson of constraint. I learned that I could protect my yes. And most importantly, I did not need to say yes to others at my own expense.
I learned that I was trying to take care of everyone and make everything perfect, so others would be happy.
I was always saying yes to manage other people’s emotions (lesson 1).
This was a big wake-up call for me. If other people are ultimately responsible for creating their own emotions, then it doesn’t matter how much effort I expend and how many times I say yes to everything to try and control their emotions.
It doesn’t work that way.
I was suffering by over-extending myself to do the impossible – manage other people’s emotions.
I learned the lesson of protecting my yes, so that I could take better care of myself and focus on what I could control, not what I couldn’t. Lesson three of creating an empowered life.

4. Love myself, no matter what.

This is my most favorite lesson.
This one is powerful because it means that I have learned to generate my own self-love – under any circumstance, no matter what.
I am not reliant on others to love me, so that I feel love.
I am not dependent on taking care of everyone, making everything perfect, managing all the details, manipulating happy ending and outcomes, so that I will experience love.
My job is to love myself.
When I do this, then I can show up and allow other people to experience their own emotions without trying to change them.
When I love myself, I don’t feel compelled to influence other people’s emotions. I allow them to feel whatever they want and I am ok.
When I love myself, I know that I can embrace fear and self-doubt as a necessary part of growing and evolving into the best version of myself.
I use self-love to help me overcome the moments when fear and self-doubt tempt me to quit, give up or sabotage my dreams.
I use self-love to keep from retreating back to the comfort zone of my old life.
When I love myself, I protect my yes, with ease. I know exactly how to ensure that I do not over-extend myself to my own detriment.
When I love myself, I know that perfect doesn’t matter.
When I love myself, I know that taking care of myself is my top priority. And that I can take care of myself without feeling selfish and guilty – because feeling selfish and guilty never inspire me to take care of myself. Those feelings are unnecessary, not useful and do not feel good.
Love always feels good.
And I am the beneficiary of my love.
I get to enjoying the double experience of creating love for myself and receiving the love that I create for myself.
And now I go out of my way to create and experience more of it, every day. Lesson four of creating an empowered life.