3 Life Skills to Ease Anxiety if you are in People Pleaser Mode
“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
People Pleasers. You guys are so cool and awesome. There are times I wish I had stronger people pleaser skills because you humans are so charismatic, fun to be around, and just an overall pleasure. However, there is a dark side to people pleasing, right?
For instance the high anxiety of saying no, quadruple apologizing when there is no need to, and the worry of what others will think so you over talk, over perform, overdo everything!
I’m not a natural people pleaser but I can learn from you. I do study you and see how you go about things, being thoughtful, and helping people… You’re not an anxiety ninja yet, but you can learn from me. Slowly and surely we both pick up on each other’s skills.
I hear you when you get angst because you have to tell someone no. I hear you when you feel distressed because you have to change plans, not include someone, or let someone down.
People pleasing is not all that it’s cracked up to be. And that’s OK. It’s good to please people AT TIMES, but not to the extreme when it causes mental health issues, relationship issues, or health issues.
That’s when we need to nip it in the bud, start taking care of ourselves and learn life skills.
Boiling everything down, this can be uncomfortable to shed your people-pleasing focus. And that’s OK, as that is where you grow and develop your skillset.
This is a big topic, but for this post, I want to help you with your anxiety when you have to start standing up for yourself and feel powerful again. This is a three-step process, that will save you when you need assistance with your people-pleasing awesomeness. Ready?
First the nitty gritty of People Pleasing
It’s not all bad. Naturally, you are loving, giving, and thoughtful.
However it starts to backfire as you give so much, you lose you. Your needs are ignored, your personality shines less, and over time you become invisible. Invisible to yourself and others.
Eventually, you will be taken advantage of, at times disrespected, and you will be valued LESS. Adding to the terrible side, your anxiety will increase because you are no longer connected to your true authentic self.
A way out of this is to start opening up – becoming vulnerable – and SHARE your likes, dislikes, preferences. Even, exploring who you are again.
It’s perhaps selfish to keep your desires to yourself instead of sharing them with others.
It can also be said it’s selfish to be 100% focused on people pleasing because it’s about your need to feel loved and liked and not really about the other person.
Is it time to open up and shine?
Step 1 Be present
Ok, you know sometime soon (today, tomorrow, next month) you *might* let someone down. (I say it like that because you don’t know for sure, you are assuming). When you’re starting to feel the anxiety or the distress, remind yourself of what is real right now.
So for instance, let’s say you’ve been talking with a client for several months but they haven’t bought from you yet. And during this time you’ve raised your rates. So perhaps, you’re feeling anxiety for having to tell the new client that you’ve raised your rates. You know you need (want) to hold firm to the new rates and you worry, fret, and get all worked up about what they might say or do when they hear about the higher rates when buying.
Before you continue down that line of thought of “what will they think of me”, “oh they’re going to hate me”, “they will be so upset”, etc, …before you go down these horrible thoughts, have a reality check.
Ask yourself, “what is real right now?”
What is real right now at that moment is that you haven’t even had a conversation with the new client. You might still be sitting in your office chair. You might be going to bed at night. The point is you haven’t even had that conversation. You do not need to ruminate on fantasy nightmare scenarios. There is no need to get worked up about the worst case scenario.
Why? Because it didn’t happen. You’re getting worked up, because anxiety does that to ya, about something that hasn’t even happened. That’s not fruitful for your mind and body.
Step one is to ask yourself what is real right now. So you don’t need to go to the worst case scenario. Stay present, take a deep breath. Use the environment to bring you back to NOW. Use your senses of sight, sound, touch, hearing to bring you back to NOW.
Example: I’m in bed with warm sheets over my body. The air is cool. I hear the fan. The room is dark. I am safe. I’m breathing deeply. I’m making myself more comfortable in the bed. I smell lavender aromatherapy. The dog and my spouse are in bed with me.
Then carry on with your badass self. And get your sleep!
Step 2 KISS IT
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, it’s a very old school acronym and KISS it stands for keep it simple sweetheart. If you KISS it, then you don’t need to over-explain, get yourself flustered in the process, go into ‘what can I do for you’ mode, etc.
Use this when it’s the actual time to stick to your guns and stand up for yourself.
Your job is to keep yourself chill and relaxed first, then and only after that, if applicable, sooth them. Totally opposite of your thought process, right? People pleasing does that to you.
From the scenario above that you’ve raised your rates, if you don’t KISS it, you might actually talk yourself down in your rates and offer them the lower prices, without them ASKING. What the what?!
That does not help you! In the end, it doesn’t help them either. You’re keeping yourself invisible and they are taking advantage of you.
With KISS it, you stick to the facts, simplify, take out emotion, and then be quiet after you’ve spoken your piece.
Adding in fillers can increase your anxiety. There’s no reason to over-explain. There’s no need to let across that you’re distressed… Which happens when you are trying to over-explain.
An example of KISSing IT from the above client meeting: “Client from the last time we spoke, the rates were X, which was 3 months ago. Since then I’ve increased the rates to Y due to demand. Did you have any questions before we move on?”
Just leave it at that.
Bam. Powerful. No longer invisible. You will feel more confident and they will respect you.
Step 3 Stop Apologizing
Instead of apologizing say thank you.
If you are a people pleaser, I’m telling you now, you apologize too much. (Said with love and compassion!)
Again using that prior example of going to a client meeting, you’ve used Step 1, so you are cool and collected, you have a little bit of light chatting, and then you get down to business. You use Step 2 and tell your client your rates went up from X to Y. Ask if there are any questions, let them ask or say something and then say (Step 3) “Thank you so much for working with me.”
Bam! How charismatic is that? And how does that make them feel? I bet they feel pretty good as you present yourself as confident and collected.
If you went into apologizing then that puts upon them to calm you. Does that make them feel good?
I am so sorry that I did this to you.
Thank you for working with me.
I use this skill all the time now. At times I’d have the “need” to please others, which has bled into my personal trigger for anxiety which is being late.
An example of my before when I arrived late: “I’m so sorry I’m late! I’m all worked up! I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry!”
That puts my mental distress upon people around me. So I’m essentially sharing my anxiety. How unhelpful.
An example of now when I’m late: “Thank you so much for waiting for me, I really appreciate it.”
And leave it at that. I thank them for their generosity and patience.
Thanking them is helpful, appreciative, and a feel good.
The 3 steps of life skills to help people pleasers with anxiety.
- Think about what is true right now
- KISS it
- Thank them instead of apologizing
Using these 3 steps will help you become more colorful, respected, and confident. You might be uncomfortable when first practicing these skills, and that’s OK!
Being uncomfortable practicing a life skill is better than living in anxiety for years.
It does take practice until it becomes more fluid and natural in your life but it’s entirely possible. You are 100% capable of this.
Please share with every people pleaser you know and help make the world a less anxious place for People Pleasers!