People-pleasing in its most simple form is agreeing with others when you don’t really agree, saying yes when you want to say no, and apologizing when you did nothing wrong. So, if we know people-pleasing is not a healthy behavior to build long-term relationships, because you’ll lose yourself when doing it, then why do we do it?
One reason why we do it is that we don’t want confrontation. This most likely started at a very young age. Maybe hearing the words “be a good kid,” or “go apologize, you hurt their feelings” could have created the crux to unhealthy relationships, as we didn’t learn how to give others space to express their emotions.
Even though avoiding confrontation might seem like a way to fix things, suppressing emotions, like anger can make it fester inside and grow, until it erupts. As a Life Coach, and one that loves working with Co-Dependent ladies, this behavior can be tackled by uncovering why you don’t want someone to be upset. After you have done that, then you can begin exploring what emotion you need to meet for yourself, so you can be present while others express themselves.
Transforming the behavior as a People Pleaser to a Peace Maker is quite the journey. Practicing the communication skill Listening will be the most effective tool during this process. There won’t be any magical moment where you just stop reacting and thinks are all songs and posies wherever you go. The truth is you will struggle, you will want to slip back into old behaviors, and it will take a tremendous amount of patience and growth on your part. Becoming a peacemaker could mean you are going it alone with little to no support around you.
I believe the answer could be as simple as Listening. It would be hard to actually pinpoint when as a society we began to put so much emphasis on the need to have people always agree with one another, yet at the same time, hold the opinion that anyone can do as they please. One group is asking for acceptance and tolerance, the other group is asking for the same thing but maybe in a different way. Yet neither side is understanding because they aren’t really listening.
Developing this behavior happens when you interact in situations that you might have avoided before. You don’t engage because you have the answers, you engage in the conversation because you are seeking the answers. Choosing to hold space for someone can generate peace within from the awareness that you are creating more compassionate and true relationships. Learning what unconditional love could feel like as you disagree with someone and end the conversation by saying, “I enjoyed hearing how you see it, thank you”.
Respect for yourself and treating others with dignity is an important part of being a peacemaker. Be aware that people misunderstand others’ intent quite a lot. Instead of saying, “I didn’t mean that, I am sorry,” you could say, “I can see you’re upset, and you disagree with me, would you share how you see it?” Being honest sometimes seems like a lost art form but knowing you don’t need to People Please and can show up in a respectful manner as a Peacemaker, instead, means being your true, authentic self.