For much of my life I had the classic pleasing disease.
Pleasers want everything to be beautiful and harmonious and we’re willing to do what it takes. Pleasers often come across easy-going, generous, agreeable and flexible, because we want to be loved and we’re convinced pleasing = being loved
We move mountains to make others happy, lacking 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 can often mean not pleasing yourself – and that breeds resentment over time. All that putting yourself last can really build up over time and lead to resentment of the people you’re trying so hard to please. 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.
Asking for what you need instead of hoping to be magically given to, is the best way to prevent resenting others. Learning to be assertive to get your needs met is hard for a Pleaser because of the fear of being rejected, but it is possible and saves longer term pain.
Here’s a formula for assertive, healthy self-expression:
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 resources.
Just BE the love that you ARE.