Claudia Chan

Professional Certified Life Coach
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People pleasing = doing things to make other people like you, or have good thoughts about you. 

November 9, 2022

Have you ever feel like you’re constantly doing things you don’t want to do?

Are you usually concerned about how other people will perceive you? 

These are sign of people-pleasing tendencies. 

Before I go in depth about people-pleasing, I’d like to share with you how it is developed. 

People pleasing comes from how we interact with our parents (or caregivers) 

While growing up, we are raised to believe that what other people do will cause us to have certain feelings. They could do things to hurt us, frustrate us, and make us feel powerless against them. (Which is not true, because it’s our thoughts that cause us the different emotions) 

So in order to make ourselves feel better, we try to control other people’s actions. 

It could come from a bigger power, where we yell, hit, nag, throw tantrums. 

Or it could  come from a silent power, where we change our behaviours to avoid certain reactions (like make other people angry)

If let’s say the parent is exerting a bigger power over their child, yelling loudly, physically hurting, or ignoring the child. 

Because of the child doesn’t want to get hurt or abandoned, this child will alter their behaviours to protect themselves. 

What happens is they will go against what they want, to “get on the good side of the parent”. 

Through repeated training of this behaviour, this child will start believing that other people behave similarly to their parents. 

So they continue this behaviour with other people, going against what they want to get other people to like them or accept them. 

People-pleasing tendency is us changing our behaviours, and even denying who we are, to make other people like us, accept us, have good thoughts about us. 


This is very important to understand!

I saw first hand how powerful this was when my son was 2 years old. 

I remember my husband and I were trying to get him to do something he didn’t want to. 

He started crying and screaming. I tried to explain to him that it was a suggestion, and explained why we suggested it, we even told him that he still gets to choose what he wants. 

After he finished crying, he was still mad about it, and was still reluctant to the idea. 

But he said, “FINE!” And he went ahead to do the thing he didn’t want. 

What??? At the moment, I was thinking, “NOOO!! But that’s not what you want! You don’t have to do that now!”

Now for some parents, they may be wondering, what’s wrong that that? My kid is finally listening to me! 

But for me, I was horrified because I saw him go against himself to do what I want. 

Because for so long, I felt like I had to go against myself to do what my mom wanted! 

So deep down, I really didn’t want him to follow what I say! I want him to make a decision based on what he wants and go after that! 

I saw how a 2 yo brain has the ability to do this. 

I witnessed the creation of people-pleasing tendency. 

It’s consolidated through constantly following what your parents say, forgoing your desires, seeking for your parents approvals, to the point where, you no longer trust what you want deep inside. You have to turn to other people for their advice, do what they want, in order to earn their love. 

That is why, if you’re a people-pleaser, you are very familiar with the feeling of not able to do what you want, or not able to show up as yourself. 

I know this feeling well.


So what can you do about that.

So many of us want to stop people pleasing. 

We feel trapped because we feel like we’re always doing things we don’t want, and yet we don’t know how to stop it.

As I mentioned before, when you people-please, it’s because in some way, you don’t want other people to dislike you or think bad thoughts about you.

So if you really want to stop this behaviour, I need you to hear this:

You have to be willing to feel very uncomfortable!

Here's why, because standing up for yourself is going to create A LOT of discomfort!

Are you ready to do this for yourself? 

If you are, here are 3 steps to overcome people-pleasing:

1. Admitting to yourself what you really want. 

Many times, because we’d been denied our own voices, we don’t even know what we want. 

And it can be extremely hard to admit this for ourselves. 

By admitting this, sometimes, our brains will tell us things like, “Well, isn’t that kind of selfish?” Or, “Why do you need that?” 

But you need to do this first, which is to admit out loud what you want. 

2. Find out what you're afraid will happen when you are true to yourself. 

When you stop people-pleasing, there will be risks involved.

There is a risk that other people will get mad at you, and call you all sorts of names.
They’ll stop liking you and leaving you. 
There is also a risk that you’ll feel guilty, or feel like you’re disappointing others. 

So when you imagine standing up for yourself and going after what you want, what are you most afraid of? 


3. We process the negative feelings.

Yes, we're scared of the above happening, but really, we're only scared of having the negative feelings.

So we learn to process the negative emotions. 

Like the fear of getting hurt. 
Or the feeling of guilt. 
And even the fear of abandonment. 

Once we are willing to face these emotions, then we will be able to have to capacity of standing up for ourselves. 


Here’s the thing, maybe you ARE scared that the people you love will leave you. 

But there is a price you're paying! You’re abandoning your truth self. You’re burying your desires, your dreams, YOURSELF alive! 

Which pain is greater? Is it the pain of abandoning yourself? Or is it the pain of losing others.

Also, if you’re really hiding yourself, are other people really loving who you are? Or just a facade of you? 

Here’s the good news! 

People-pleasing is trained, which means, you can untrained this part of you. 

So what do you really want? 

Do you desire going after what you want and be true to yourself?

If you do, then I can help you with that!

I’d love to invite you to a free 60min Jump Start Conversation so we can figure out what exactly it is you want for you, and we can see how we can best work together. 

Don’t let yourself have the regret of holding yourself back. 

Book your session now! 

Claudia Chan

Professional Certified Life Coach


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