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People Pleasing - The secret way to make patriarchal socialisation actually useful

People pleasing is something you were taught, and maybe that not 100% bad

If you are someone who has been taught to be a caretaker and nurturer, we often sacrifice our own well-being for the sake of others. This is commonly dismissed as “people pleasing”, but often it’s real-life consequences can cause us to be left feeling anxious, defeated, and stuck.  In fact, we often get praised for it. Phrases like "she'd give the shirt off her back." and other variants praise us for stripping us bare for other people.

It's only taken me 40-odd years, but I have finally found a way to make ingrained socialisation which teaches us to sideline our own needs and just be a service, a really useful tool, and that is to view it as a mirror.

Do you ever wonder why you have not quite worked out this adulting thing yet? Why your belly sometimes hurts or you can feel so anxious? Why no one else takes care of you as you take care of them? Why no one truly understands you? If you feel alone in a relationship or a room full of people or sometimes it feels like you can’t trust your own decisions in your life, Perhaps we could use this as a warning system rather than a mark of failure? These could also be signs you're not getting your needs met, and often, I believe, when we're not getting our needs met, it is because we are waiting and hoping other people will fulfil them and not giving them to ourselves.

Perhaps we use these feelings of discomfort to guide us back to what we really want to be feeling and receiving because this can guide us to how we to begin to give this to ourselves? Do you want to feel more heard? How can you listen to yourself more? Do you want to feel more secure? How can you show yourself more safety? Do you want that person to be more reliable? Where are you showing up for yourself? These little indicators can lead us back to the place where we have a chance for real transformation that will always lie within ourselves.

At the root of these feelings is often a lack of self-care and self-compassion. We are so busy taking care of others that we forget to take care of ourselves. We are so busy trying to please others that we forget to listen to our own needs and wants. And as a result, we find ourselves outsourcing our emotional needs to folk who are themselves emotionally under-resourced.

By learning to understand and listen to our own needs and wants, we can start to create a sense of balance and well-being. By learning to trust ourselves and our own decisions, we can start to feel more confident in our abilities. And by learning to be compassionate towards ourselves, we can start to feel less alone and more understood.

Self-care and self-compassion are not luxuries, they are necessities. They are the foundations upon which we build our lives. And by learning to take care of ourselves, we can start to live the lives we truly want and deserve.

A black woman looks to the left


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