As a recovering people pleaser, I’m all too familiar with the need for everyone to like you. You want to make everyone happy, comfortable, and frequently put them before yourself. You’re always apologizing, often for things that aren’t your fault, within your control, or that you’re not even sorry for.
If something goes wrong or different than expected, you automatically assume it’s because of you…in a bad way. If someone takes longer than normal to text back, you assume it’s because you said something wrong, offended them, or something else happened. No matter what, you feel like you are problem. But in reality, they just hopped in the shower and couldn’t get to their phone.
Yeah, I absolutely used to live this life. And sometimes, I still do! But I think the worst offense that people pleasers commit against themselves is muting who they are. And by that I mean dulling your personality to be more likable to a broader group of people. By muting your personality, you’re robbing yourself and the people around you of genuine connection. Because at the end of day, no one can connect to a one-dimensional person. You have to be your true self in order for anyone to love you fully and wholly.
Own Your Flavor: The Key to Finding Your People
When I started blogging about self love, I was thrilled to find my mission. I decided to ditch my general lifestyle blog and buckle down on something that was truly important to me. I knew that I was passionate about women’s empowerment and showing every woman her worth. So I couldn’t wait to inspire and uplift others.
Since I wanted to reach as many people as possible (because everyone could use self love, right?), I tried to keep my net very broad. I wrote a few posts on self care, one of which is my most popular to date. I avoided using narrow terms or saying anything with too much character. But as I kept writing, I had the hardest time defining myself to my readers. I posted pretty quotes on Instagram and tried to give some motivational advice. And while I know these resonated with some people, I still didn’t feel like I was making genuine connections.
So I researched how to connect with your audience as a blogger. I read articles on defining yourself, listened to podcasts, and attended workshops. And I heard the same phrase over and over again.
If you are trying to speak to everybody, you’re really speaking to nobody.
The more that I reflected on this, the more that I realized the reason I wasn’t connected to people was because I wasn’t actually anyone they could connect with. I was just an anonymous blogger who hid behind a keyboard and pretty pictures. I wasn’t a real, genuine person. So, I promised myself that I would try to be more “me” across my blog, newsletter, and social media (Instagram in particular).
And I have to say, it was hard. I was scared. Because I knew that once I put myself out there, some people wouldn’t like me. And I just didn’t know how I was going to face that rejection. Afterall, I started this blog to help others, not turn them away, right?
But I soon realized, once I started pushing myself to BE ME and talk to you like I would talk to any friend, people got so much more from what I was saying. Because then, I was offering them advice as a friend. Not a blogger, not a guru, not an expert. A true friend, a real person.
Did I get some people who didn’t like this? Yeah. I got a few unsubscribers and lost a few followers. But even more than that, I developed such deeper connections with “my people” because they feel like they actually know who I am. And they love that authenticity from me.
I am my own personal flavor. Sure, it’s not one that everyone will like. But it’s also one that some people will love, cherish, and crave! And that’s infinitely better than empty superficial connection with everyone. Because it’s better to find a small group that absolutely loves you to your core than having a million vague acquaintances who you can’t actually develop a relationship with.Don’t change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will LOVE you. Click To Tweet
Baby Steps for Recovering People Pleasers
So how do you apply this to your everyday life? Even if you’re not a blogger, the same concepts ring true. You can keep your interactions with other people superficial and “safe” to make sure everyone “likes” you. (Think the “customer voice” that many people in the service industry use and develop.) Or you can be unapologetically you, let everyone know who you are, and find that group of people who absolutely love and value you. Because you’ve shown them someone they can connect with and build a genuine relationship with. And at the end of the day, that’s worth infinitely more than being liked.
Of course, this takes practice and dedication to change yourself in any way. But these are a few of my basic baby steps for recovering people pleasers to help you be yourself and find the people who will LOVE you and all of you.
Baby Step 1: Know Yourself
If you want to be your more authentic self, you certainly have to know who you are! This personality assessment taught me more about myself than I knew before. On top of that, I try to plan self dates to improve my relationship with myself. The better you know yourself, the more genuine you can be.
Baby Step 2: Stop Filtering Your Language
One of the first things I did to be more authentic with my audience was to stop filtering my language. In my everyday language, I tend to swear. Nothing utterly foul or crass. But I drop a “shit,” “damn,” and even the occasional “f-bomb” when I’m hella passionate.
I started writing my emails just like I would write them to my best of buddies. I even began to call my “subscribers” email buddies instead. Because they’re my friends that I write to every week. Not just subscribers. So in order to treat them like that, I had to refer to them as such! I also used the same approach to my Instagram captions which I frequently use to microblog and include extra self love strategies.
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Even if you’re not a blogger you can apply this to your everyday life. When you’re meeting a new group of people, try not to filter your language just so that you’re more appealing to them (professional settings are different, of course).
Try to talk to them in the manner that you talk to your closest friends. Whether that includes swearing, using terms like “omg,” or other quirks, you be you. At the very least, people will be refreshed by your authenticity. And you have that much of a better chance of finding the people who are just like you!
Baby Step 3: Only Apologize When You Mean It
I’ve had a few instances when people told me they didn’t like how I talk, what I say, or what I’m doing. And I admit my first gut reaction was to instantly apologize for offending them and not being what and who they wanted me to be.
But when I asked myself, was I actually sorry? I couldn’t lie. No, I wasn’t! I was just doing what I do. And if that doesn’t click with that person, then I know there are plenty of other people in the world that they can click with. I’m just not one of them. And that’s absolutely fine!
So instead of apologizing, I told them that! I explained that I’m me. If they don’t like that, they’re absolutely entitled to their opinion. But it’s their choice if they want to stick around and be offended or move on and find people that they can connect with. Because more than anything, they’re wasting their own time and energy telling me how much they don’t like me when they could be finding the people the love!
And you know what happened….
The world didn’t stop. They didn’t come after me. They didn’t continue to harass me. And I didn’t feel like anything less than what I am. I owned the fact that I’m my own flavor and it’s not for everyone. And I never felt better or more assured in who I am!
Note: I’m definitely not saying this is acceptable behavior for people who promote offensive opinions, behavior, or any form of demeaning, degrading, and/or disrespectful material. I’m referring a response prompted by the type of hateful, cruel, and mean spirited comments that you see on YouTube channels. Someone saying “I hate your voice” or something of the like (as an example).
Next time you feel like you want to apologize to someone, first ask if it’s actually something you should apologize for and if you’re genuinely sorry. If it is, definitely apologize and make amends! But if not, stick to facts and provide an explanation in a calm and collected manner. How you do this depends on the situation, but definitely don’t apologize when you don’t have anything to apologize for just to make someone else happy. And especially just to make them like you more.
(Not so) Baby Step 4: Own Who You Are
Ok, this is a bit bigger than a baby step. But it’s totally important! Once you have a good sense of who you are, own it! I absolutely love pop music. For the longest time I was embarrassed by that fact. But heck. It makes me happy and I love it! So it’s time that I own it!
I’m also a crazy cat lady. Absolutely obsessed and probably treat my cats better than I’ll treat my kids when I have them (kidding..not kidding?). My boyfriend and I actually have conversations by meowing at each other because are THAT WEIRD. But we totally own it and love it.
Because I own my personal flavor, I’ve gotten to share my love and obsession with cats with so many friends and they’re some of my favorite conversations! I spent a day with a friend just taking pictures of and petting my cats. And we had a great time! Again, it’s all about connection and finding my people. Cat obsessed people are my people!
So for those obsession and “guilty pleasures” that you’re afraid to share with other people, I challenge you to express them and I’m positive you’ll find someone else who love to binge watch the same show, indulge in the same comfort food, or obsess about your fur babies with you. And you’ll both have so much fun indulging in who you are together.
Find Your People
If you’re looking for a group of beautiful and inspiring women to support and love you on your self love journey, join my free Facebook Group: The Be Simply It Self Lovelies. We are here to appreciate and encourage each other and make a community out of self love. Because no one should feel like they have to go it alone. I also have some really fun Facebook Live videos to say hi, chat self love strategy, and show off my cats 😉