I used to be a ‘Pleaser’.
Pleasers want everything to be beautiful and harmonious and we’re willing to do what it takes. We pride ourselves on being easy-going, generous, agreeable and flexible because we want to be loved and we’re convinced pleasing = love.
We’re not meek and we’re the opposite of lazy: We move mountains to make others happy because we lack the confidence that we’ll still be loved if we don’t give ‘til we bleed. We tend to avoid conflict, as if it’ll bring on anaphylaxis!
Big trouble is, being a pleaser of others can often mean not pleasing yourself – and that breeds massive resentment over time. A relationship doesn’t usually die quickly of resentment but the slow burn of resentment eventually depletes the oxygen in a relationship and can cause a gradual asphyxiation of the love.
Being assertive to get our needs met is hard for Pleasers at first because we’re worried about being rejected if we appear selfish – but I learned to trust myself, express myself and be a Pleaser no more – and so can you!
Here’s a formula for assertive, healthy self-expression that even Pleasers can have the courage to try:
1 State how you’re feeling without blaming the other person:
E.g., “I’m feeling lonely”
“You don’t hug me enough, you’re not affectionate!”
2 Say what you think your feelings are about:
“Physical closeness to you, just in everyday ways makes me feel really happy”
“You never want to cuddle me and I hate it”
3 Ask for help with your feelings, be specific and direct:
“Can we hold hands when we watch TV and touch in passing sometimes? It helps me feel closer to you and I love you”.
“Compared to me, you’re cold and I’m sick of it. I’m not happy and you need to lift your game!”
A little loving assertiveness is good for both of you because you know where you stand, you’re taking responsibility for your feelings and facing your fear of being rejected rather than being too afraid to be authentic. Importantly, by expressing yourselves assertively and compassionately you prevent the build up of resentment between you.
Give the 1,2,3 a try and for more on creating or re-creating the relationship you desire check out my relationship eCourse and subscribe for updates. When you subscribe for email updates and inspiration you’ll immediately receive a copy of our ebook direct to your inbox to get your learning started.
See you there.