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Hidden Consequences of People Pleasing

Updated: Apr 11

Spam Filter For Your Brain - Episode 39

I've been preparing for the People Pleasing course which is running throughout September and something has been on my mind I wanted to address in this week's podcast.

I think that a lot of us think that people pleasing is a sort of habit that we'd quite like to get out of, and it makes us feel a bit uncomfortable but because it generally only affects us, it doesn't something that's a real priority to sort out because there's so much other stuff to be getting on with. And I think quite often we think there are just so many other bigger things in the world that if we're busy, and all of us busy, then this really isn't something that needs to take centre stage right now.

And something has been playing on my mind that I wanted to address in case it has not been playing on your mind, and that is that I believe that it is the subtle art of people pleasing that we are socialised into, which is one of the main causes of people not speaking up against oppression.

And if you think that that sounds like quite a big leap, I want you to think about times that you have been sat around at a family occasion where your uncle makes a joke that is just a little bit racist or used terminology which is really unacceptable. Or how about when someone in a social setting uses a term which is frankly really outdated and people should know better now because we have the internet? Or how about a time that someone who's older than you or you could pass off as being from a different era makes a comment which is frankly homophobic and could be straight out of a 1950s textbook?

I think a lot of us in these situations tend to keep quiet because we don't want to make a fuss, because we don't want to disturb the whole nice atmosphere that everybody's enjoying. I think there are so many occasions where we are conditioned to believe that speaking up or speaking out equates to "I am going to make other people feel uncomfortable and so therefore I should not do that".

What we're going to be looking at in the course in September is an awful lot of how we bend and twist and turn away from our own morals, our own values, and our own core, true, authentic self of the life we want to be living and the world we want to be creating, because we think we can control how other people feel. And we think many, many of us believe that it is more important to keep a sense of peace, to not be the one who creates a negative atmosphere, by speaking up or speaking for other people.

There is such a culture of anti-wokeness at the moment, (which is basically, from my understanding, accusations of being woke is you weren't an asshole, is what I'm reading it to generally mean). There are so many accusations by hugely famous people with massive large social media followings who are accusing other people of cancel culture when they have vast audiences to project their bemoaning to. We are in a culture that really teaches us that "everybody is being silenced by everybody else and free speech is under threat". And so we should not be just another person who is pulling other people up on their nonsense and I call bullshit. I think that us trying to step away from what we think makes the world a more kind, more inclusive, more equitable place for all of us to be residing in, is stepping away from our values. I don't think there's many people who are listening to this who wish for a world that has more division in it.

And so I just invite you to get curious about where you don't speak up because you think it's not the right place or the right time or they probably wouldn't be listening anyway because this is what people pleasing is. And there are real-life consequences, there are real-life safety implications for people who are often less privileged than us when we don't speak out, when we let these comments slide, when we don't have those difficult, uncomfortable conversations.

Because if there's one thing worse than having an uncomfortable conversation about an oppression, it's living with that oppression. Overturning some of these structures, creating a more kind, more level pleasing field of a world where more of us have more access to more of the resources, is going to involve an awful lot of difficult conversations. And if you have people pleasing embedded in your soul, embedded in your socialisation, and you think that that is the way that we should behave, you're not going to be able to have these really important, difficult conversations. And we need everyone on board, we need all of the big-hearted, caring people to be having these conversations at the time that it feels least comfortable. And this is why we need to stop people pleasing.

This is why we need to stop thinking that we can control how other people think.

This is why we need to step out of the emotions and be willing to feel our own discomfort so that other people have a possibility of living in more comfort.

If you would like to take part in this, I would love you to come and join the course. There is accessible pricing. That means if you can afford it, there is one price. If you need a concession rate, there is a concession rate there available for you. And if you can't afford it, no one is turned away for financial reasons. Everybody has access to this work should they need it, please do reach out and email me.


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