Hi, I’m Steph and I am a recovering people pleaser.
It took me three decades and a burnout to acknowledge that I had a problem. Plus a combination of therapy and coaching to tackle it. Not too long ago, my inability to set healthy boundaries, say no to things I did not want or did not have the capacity to do, and show up for myself impacted every aspect of my life. All day. Every day.
I told myself that I just wanted to be kind. But I wasn’t being kind at all. My partner would ask me what I wanted to watch in the evening but instead of answering, I would return the question. And then be quietly resentful while sitting through a golf documentary [No judgement if that’s your thing. Some of them are lovely, I’m sure. Point is: they’re not my thing.].
As weird as this may sound with the benefit of hindsight, I did not recognise how messed up my thinking really was at the time. How illogical it was to never communicate my needs just to be eternally disappointed that nobody was taking them into account. To mask my personality and deplore that nobody really knew me. To never ask for help and feel utterly abandoned. How could I possibly form meaningful connections with other people if I kept being caught up in my own head, fretting about how I might be coming across?
Now I know that I can say no without being unkind. That it’s in fact kinder to say no than string people along or resent them. I’m no longer the flaky person who cancels on the day of an event because I psych myself out about potentially making a spectacle of myself in some way, shape or form. Don’t get me wrong, I still feel a surge of nerves and often fear, especially in social situations. But it does not hold me back any longer. When the fear is strong and the negative thoughts come, I know what to do.
These days, I spend a lot of time doing the things that give me joy and I feel more myself than I have in a long time. I connect with people and I don’t feel like I am on trial all the time. I know that my feelings won’t kill me [they make me feel alive!] and that my thoughts aren’t necessarily true [let alone helpful… or kind]. I spend my nights asleep instead of ruminating. Gone are the days when I would relive awkward situations on repeat. Sometimes I even dance in the kitchen. Badly. And that makes it so much more enjoyable.
On here I share some of my thoughts around people pleasing and I write about the tools and techniques that have helped me set and maintain healthy boundaries. If any of this resonates with you and you’d like to explore how coaching might help you overcome your own people-pleasing tendencies, I invite you to schedule an intro call.