#216 People Pleasing and Your Health

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Is there a difference between being a nice person and being a people pleaser? 

That is a resounding YES! 

What is the difference? 

When you do something nice for someone else out of love, compassion, or the desire to serve, it fills you up. 

When you do something from a place of people pleasing, it drains you. You do things for others at a cost to yourself.  

Typical costs include: 

  • Stress 
  • Insomnia 
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Feelings of inadequacy 

Those are high prices to pay, which take a toll on your mental and physical wellness. 

In this episode, you'll learn more about what people pleasing is, why you do it, and how to start stopping. 

It's a process that's worth the energy. 

Referred to in this episode: 

Better Than Before Breast Cancer Life Coaching Membership 

Becoming You 

90 Days of Wellness

Can Being a People Pleaser Impact My Mental Health? 

Read the full transcript here:

Laura Lummer  00:00

You're listening to the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a Certified Life health and nutrition coach, and I'm also a breast cancer thriver. If you're trying to figure out how to move past the trauma and the emotional toll of breast cancer, you've come to the right place. In this podcast, I will give you the tools and the insights to create a life that's even better than before breast cancer. Well, let's get started. Hello, and welcome. You are listening to the breast cancer recovery coach podcast and I am your host, Laura Lummer. And I'm thrilled that you're joining me here today, I have a great topic to dig into today. And this is something that I believe because I see affects so many of us on such a very, very deep level. And this topic we're going to talk about is I think this underlying energetic this underlying behavior that we have. And this behavior leads into and feeds into so many other very important ways that we treat ourselves. So it might seem weird to think that the way that we treat other people has something to do with the way we treat ourselves. But it's not weird, and we're going to talk all about that today. So before I jump into it, I just want to remind you that you can go to my website, the breast cancer recovery coach.com. And you can get lots of free downloads and free resources to support you at whatever stage you are in, in your cancer process. So I have some free downloads on food, how to eat without fear and guilt after breast cancer. I've got a book on lymphedema and exercise which is such an important topic because so many of us shy away from exercise because of lymphedema when exercise is so critical to helping us manage lymphedema. And there are meditations and there's a free video series of my four pillars of breast cancer recovery, which is not only just helping you understand the philosophy that I use of release, renew, regroup and revive. And this almost a process after breast cancer after going through a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. But there's also some really valuable downloads inside that video series for you to print out and use as you're listening to the short lessons in the video series. And start your exploration of yourself to start some self examination. And to start looking at some of the thoughts that you have, and how these different pillars of breast cancer recovery may be playing a role in your life. So lots of good stuff there. You can also go there. And if you want to work with me, you can join one of my programs becoming you, which is an eight week program to help you really decide what you want in your life like where are you at now we come out of breast cancer in this days. And sometimes we don't move out of that days. And years later, we can still think I'm just kind of floating along like I don't know where I'm going, I don't know, I don't have a solid footing or a grasp on what I want to do and who I want to be. And that's what becoming you is all about. And then after 90 days of wellness, and 90 days of wellness is an intensive, amazing program that looks at everything from food and self care and all of the aspects of deep health, mind, body environment, everything that's involved in this holistic approach to supporting our wellness. And both of those programs give you access to coaching with me. And then of course there is my baby, the better than before breast cancer live coaching membership, which is a monthly membership. That gives you tremendous benefits, live coaching workshops, community, new focus areas every month and all the programs that becoming you the 90 days of wellness and many other meditations and programs that I've created over time are inside the better than before breast cancer life coaching membership. So you can always join that membership. And check out those programs and see how they work for you and take your time as you implement everything that works for you and your life. Hi, my friend. Let's jump into this. Let's talk about people pleasing. Now, people pleasing is a really big topic. And it's something that has a powerful impact on us. What does it have to do with breast cancer? Well, it has to do with wellness. It has to do with stress reduction, it has to do with the way we treat ourselves, and how we're willing to put our self aside because we want to keep the peace with others. So I want to be careful here because we say put our own needs second or third or fourth or fifth in the interests of someone else, sometimes depending in our life. If we do that, right, sometimes we're a caregiver for someone, sometimes, we've got young children who need us, and we have things that we do have to do for them. But even in those situations, there are a lot of things we do, that maybe we don't actually have to do that take us deeper into pleasing someone else, into someone's thoughts about us into a belief of what we're supposed to be doing, and take away from what we need in order to support ourselves to get through those times. You know, I have four kids. And I can certainly remember when my children were young, and my group of friends all had young children and my sisters, and we all had young children. And you know, the level of exhaustion and wear and tear on the moms was phenomenal. And it's so common that we put our needs not just next to him, and you got to get up, you got to feed the kids, you got to get them to school, you got to do homework, those things have to be done. But self care also has to be done, right downtime has to be done, we have to be able to sit down and have a meal, sitting down, not driving in the car somewhere. Taking care of elderly parents, that's the stage that my many of my friends are in right now. And that's another situation that can bring on a lot of stress. And so it requires that we take time for ourselves. So we have to look at what is really needed in the situation that I'm in what is needed at work, what is needed in my relationship, what is needed with the people that I am responsible for caring for, and what do I need? And are you putting your needs so far down that list that you never even get to them. Because you tell yourself and you believe that people will think a certain way about you if you don't do certain things. Okay, so let's dig into that. I want to touch on how people pleasing affects us professionally, how people pleasing affects us in our relationship, and how people pleasing affects us in supporting our health, and keeping our body as healthy as possible and supporting its ability to function properly. So in a professional relationship, and I know I can totally identify with this. Because I have had some of these thoughts in the past. And in my in my professional life. I recently was working with a woman who is literally making herself sick over stress at work. There's been a big change in our company, a big shift in leadership at our company, some people are getting laid off, payroll is getting cut, people are overwhelmed, and she is not sleeping, and she is not eating. And she is losing weight. And she is losing hair. And she is so stressed hours. And she's very worried, you know that her job will be wanting to get cut. And these are all very reasonable things to be concerned about. But her reason for not stepping back and not looking at other opportunities. But what other potential there might be outside of the company that she's with? That to sit back and examine where am I at right now? What is this doing for me? And how can I take better care of myself? What are options here to take better care of myself. She's not venturing into those areas and even looking at them. Because she is stuck on the mindset of what the new leadership we'll think of her. So she's taking on the jobs of multiple people. She's absolutely miserable, not enjoying anything at work, not enjoying her own personal life. In it is all because her thought is one I'm not a quitter. And two, what will they think of me if I quit? Okay, so I want you to really take that in. Because here you are going through life. And I know that many of us can identify with us going through life thinking I need to give this much at work. Because I don't know what someone else will think of me. I don't want them to think XYZ. When we have absolutely no power over it, anyone thinks of us. And you know what? She could be working this woman the way that she is working. And her leadership could still be thinking, yeah, she's not doing enough. There's no telling what someone else is thinking. But when we go into that mentality, and we're thinking about, I want to make sure they're happy. I want to make sure they are they're looking at me. They're happy with me that I put all of my needs and my health and my happiness or my sanity, at risk, or what someone else might think of me. That is people pleasing. When we're in people pleasing.


Laura Lummer  09:59

Here's what we're doing, we're ignoring our own intuition. We're ignoring everything inside of our body that says, This is not good for me. This is not what I want. This is not what I need. This is not serving me, I don't even want to be here. We're not even taking the time to sit back and acknowledge that and allow ourselves to tap into that intuition. We're way up in our head. And we're telling ourselves stories about what other people were thinking as if those stories are absolute truths. And as if you have any power over it. So I look at people pleasing as this difference between I want to do something nice for this person, because I love this person, right? And I want to do something special for them. That's not people pleasing, right? That's loving, that's just giving love in a relationship. I want to take good care of my kids and show up at their soccer games and softball games and those kinds of things. Are you showing up because you want other parents to go, oh, look, she's showing up, are you showing up because you love to see your kids. That's not people pleasing? people pleasing, that I'm referring to, is exhausting. burning yourself out, making yourself sick, and staying in a place in life that you do not want to be in. So that there's no controversy, right. And we'll talk about that in a minute. And so that you will convince yourself that people will think of you what you want to be thought of, right? I want to be thought of as a hardworking, dependent, you can come to me with anything. And so I will exhaust myself and literally just be undermining every aspect of my health to try to make someone else think that about me. Your intuition is screaming, saying, Stop, this isn't working, I don't want this, this is horrible. You're even saying to yourself, This is making me sick, and you keep doing it. Right. So that's the kind of people pleasing, I'm talking about, when we're violating our own instincts and our own intuition, we are not using our own voice, we are not giving weight and priority to what is happening inside of us and inside of our body. Because we want someone else to be happy. So that was a professional example. And a personal example. And actually, I am going to give you a personal personal example, something from me from my life, as I reflect back on my life. And as I do work in journaling, and work on healing and looking at all of the things that I could do differently to serve myself better. And I reflect back on times in my life, and I say, hey, you know, that was a really stressful time, am I holding in some suppressed emotions from that time? You know, because I experienced hurt, or I experienced anger or I felt dismissed? You know, why did I think that at that time? How can I see that differently? And what was my role in that? Why did I allow that situation? Why didn't I walk away from that situation? Why did I speak up in that situation. And a lot of times, what comes up is that I wanted to be perceived as The Good Wife, the good mom, The good daughter. And what that meant to be the good person is you're not an egg. You're not a bitch, you don't create conflict. You don't rock the boat. You manage someone else's behavior with your actions, which is absolutely impossible. i But when I look back, especially in my younger years, you know, when my children were young, and I was it was early in my marriage, and I only had the you know what examples of marriage that I have the one that I saw my mom and dad and my mom took care of everything around the house. And, you know, my dad went to work. And there was a lot of things that went unsaid or a lot of things that if they were said were referred to as nagging. And I thought, well, I don't like that, you know, I don't want to be like that. And so isn't it interesting the perspective we have, so that my perspective instead of looking and saying, Whoa, hold on which I didn't even know that right? So I look at this now. And I say, so what was really happening in that situation is my needs were not being met, or my healthy boundaries were being violated. And instead of recognizing what I needed in that moment, it was more important that I act a certain way. So that someone else couldn't say those things about me. So someone else could never think I was an egg or think I was a bitch or think I wasn't a good wife, who knows what they thought. And I'm sure they thought those things anyway. But I look back at that. And I say, wow, there's this fascinating perspective. And we get so laser focused on whatever it was we're conditioned to think and I think women especially the words neg and bitch, right, those come up, because if we are assertive in our lives, oftentimes, those are names that we get referred to as, and we say, well, that doesn't feel good. And I don't want people to think of me like that rather than well. That's an Interesting. I mean, if that's your perspective, then that is but for me, I'm just being assertive. And I'm using my voice in a constructive way to stand up for what I need and what I believe in, and what I want in my relationship. So why don't we go there? Why don't we stop and think about ourselves from that lens, rather than look at ourselves through a lens of judgment from other people. So that we adjust our behavior to try to shift someone's judgment to what we want it to be. And then the third category is our own health and our own wellness. This is something I see so often. And it is so important, and I know it's gonna resonate with a lot of you. Because it's very, very common. When you need to support your own health, you've had breast cancer, or you have breast cancer, you want to do everything you can to keep that physical terrain, the soil of your body, the tissues of your body as healthy as possible, so that cancer doesn't have the opportunity to grow in it, right? You want to do what you can, and people pleasing sticks in here, because we say, well, yeah, I should eat more vegetables, I shouldn't have processed food in the house, I shouldn't have all the sugary foods in the house, but my husband likes them. But my kids like them, right? I want to cook this way. But that my family likes something else. And so we use that and say I don't do the things I actually want to be doing or believe I shouldn't be doing to support my own wellness. Because I want them to be happy and stop for a sec, I want them to be happy. Eating the things that I already know, undermine health. Right? So it's this really weird cycle, we get stuck in it saying, my family likes to do these things. And I know they're unhealthy. But if I stopped buying those things, and keep them in the house, and I'm the one responsible for food, and I shift the way that we eat, I might get some flack from them. So it's easier for me to continue to not feed myself the way I wish I was feeding myself, and also not feed my family in a way that I know is also healthy for them and teaching them to take care of themselves. I'm doing that. Why? Because I don't want to rock the boat. Because I don't want to hear any flack because I don't want to get the pushback as we go into people pleasing, right? That is we don't want to confront what seemed like difficult or uncomfortable emotions and conversations. But in our heart, in our gut, in our intuition is saying you should be doing something else. So what do we do about this? How do we, first of all recognize people pleasing in our own behaviors in our own life? And then when we recognize people pleasing behaviors, how do we begin to step out of it? Because it can be a really deep place? Right? Some examples I gave you were people pleasing behaviors that I was completely unconscious of at that stage in my life. And I still have to work today. Right? I have to work today to be really conscious of that, because it's a very natural habit that I think a lot of people have, where we see someone else's emotions getting upset, and we want to calm it down. We don't want the energy of that anger or frustration or something, we want to make it better. We want to fix it, even if it's at the cost of our own. So let's talk for a minute about some of the ways that people pleasing has been shown to have a negative impact on our health. And in the show notes of this episode, I'm going to link to an article that was published by ACCION medical. And it talks about how being a people pleaser can impact your mental health, right, the negative impacts. So the negative impacts of this article lists are insecurity, unhealthy relationships, low self esteem, the constant need for validation, the inability to set personal boundaries, increasing anxiety, and then failing to make yourself a priority on practicing self care.


Laura Lummer  19:17

And I think if you stop and you think about the situations in which you people, please or you think about the examples that I just gave you in personal professional life, and in your own way of treating yourself with your health, you will see this. So how is people pleasing? How does that reflect and how does that support feeling insecure? Well, a lot of times we people, please because we want people to like us. And so how do we move past that? We ask ourselves this question. Why is that important to me? And I think you know, for most human beings, we want to be liked. We don't want to be hated. We don't want to have people to treat us with disdain. But when we need someone to like us, to the extent that we will sacrifice our own wellness, our own mental health, our own physical health, just to get someone to do what you can never have control over getting someone to do. And it's time to just really step into the awareness of that. When you notice, gosh, I'm doing something for this person, because I'm feeling so insecure, is that insecurity about a job is that insecure about a relationship is that insecure about your own self esteem, because you need that validation, you need someone to say, you're a good person, in order for you to feel like a good person, or believe that you're a good person. Obviously, you can see how that leads to unhealthy relationships, that is not a healthy relationship. If you are in this relationship, exhausting yourself and draining yourself, to try to make sure someone else wants you likes you approves of you and validates you. So you can see I think even if you sit and you listen to some of these comments, and you listen to some of the effects that it has, and you think when you start to think about them, you notice how your body feels. And you'll notice immediately Wow, this is this doesn't feel good, like physically, these kinds of thoughts and these kinds of behaviors. And I'm pretty sure that almost everybody listening to this can think of at least an example in their life where this has been true, and may be true now. And when you think about it, it doesn't feel good. But what happens when you have this constant need for validation? What happens when you believe gosh, I, I just I need people to like me, how do you step out of people pleasing, if that's your belief, that's your conditioning. And the way that you do that is you learn to love yourself more. We have to learn to love ourselves. So that when we step into a relationship, whether it's a professional relationship, a personal or intimate relationship, or just our relationship with ourself, that we are confident in what we deserve. We learn to love ourselves, and we work through the thoughts where we demean and belittle ourself. We work through those and realize that you are a worthy, deserving, incredible human being. So that when you step into a conversation, you step in with confidence. When you step into a situation, even though it may be uncomfortable, and it may be difficult, you've worked your way up to the point where you know your worth speaking up, that your voice is valuable, that your needs are valuable, and that your health is valuable. So how do we move again, from people pleasing into taking care of ourselves, and having a healthy exchange of give and take and care and love within our relationships? Whether they are personal, professional, or just with ourselves? That's the first step is looking at where are you people pleasing in your life and asking yourself? What is behind that? Why do I do that? I need this person to think this way about me. I feel this way. If I think that person is thinking that way about me and then we notice the untruth in that thought, right, we noticed like what, oh, I can never know what someone else is thinking about me. I can never change what someone else is thinking about me. But I'm taking these actions that are undermining my own health on some level. Because I want to do what is impossible. It's like when people talk to me about being perfect. I can't do that. Because I'm a perfectionist, I need it to be perfect. And there is no perfect, perfect doesn't exist. So that's kind of this red herring. And when we say I do this, so that people will like me, or people will think this way of me or people won't judge me. You have no control over that. And so again, it's a red herring. It takes us what I mean by Red Herring is it takes us away puts us in other people's thoughts. And when we're in other people's thoughts, we're not stopping and looking at why we're doing what is harming us. We say we're doing this for someone else because of someone else, when in fact, we're doing it because we're not willing to sit with looking at what we mean to ourselves. We're not sitting here looking at why do I allow someone to do that when it makes me uncomfortable? Why do I put myself through that when I walk away and I think dammit, Oh, I hate it when I do that. When we sit and we we become really aware of who we are. And we learn to love ourselves. I think it was Benjamin Franklin who said there are three things that are extremely hard steel, a diamond and to know oneself. When we look at ourselves and we get to know who we are what we need, and understand why we do what we do. And we don't understand with blank. We don't have to look back and say oh my gosh, I was There's kind of a wife when I was 25 years old, because that's the kind of wife my mom was. And that didn't work for me. And I shouldn't have learned that way. We don't look back with blame and shame. We look back with the example that I gave you looking at saying, Well, that was my perspective, then. And that's how I learned. And that's what I was conditioned then. And I'm sure everybody had learned and taught from their own best interest, right? And but we look at it and say, Okay, how can I see that differently now to help me now. And that's how we start taking these baby steps. So doodling is a huge and important part of this process, self examination, writing down your thoughts, writing down what you see yourself doing, and then digging underneath it. And here's a big red flag that you're going in the wrong direction. If you're writing about something you do that you would like to stop doing, and then you say, I do it because of a new name someone else, come back to yourself, you have to pull yourself back from that because we do well, we do because it's our choice. So for instance, I wouldn't say I eat my husband loves to eat pork, but it was like fried cheese. I mean, he eats meat and cheeses all the men eats, right? If I said, I only eat meat and cheese, because that's what my husband likes. And so that's what he cooks. I am giving up all of my power. I'm sitting here saying as if I can't make a decision and a choice for myself, my choice is, that's easy. He's already doing it. If I start looking more broccoli, and asparagus and peas, he might, you know, tip up his nose at me and be like, yuck, I don't like that stuff. But it's still my choice. So when we start looking at the errors in real life, where people pleasing, which remember doesn't mean just doing nice things for other people. That's wonderful. It's doing things for other people, sauce to us and against our own intuition. When we're doing that, we've got to pull ourselves back and look at the choices that we're making an own them. And realize, I'm deciding not to do this. Why am I deciding not to do this as the next question? Maybe because it's easy. Maybe because if I speak up for myself, I'm afraid there'll be controversy. Maybe because if I say what I need, I'm afraid I won't be liked as much. I'll be seen as a problem, I'll be seen as a nag, right, obviously, in his high maintenance. And so it's really important to look at those thoughts. Because these are all just stories you're telling yourself. And when it comes to our ability to support our whole health, our deep health and overall wellness, our spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, environmental wellness, we've got to really know ourselves and what we value, what is important to us what is a priority to us, and when we don't feel the confidence to speak up for that, to look underneath and see why. If you need help with that, you know where to find me, the breast cancer recovery coach.com I have a ton of ways to support you, but also take into consideration just everything you heard in this podcast, and do the hard work which means break out a piece of paper and a pen and write it down at the top of that piece of paper. Where do I do people pleasing if people pleasing means doing for others at the expense of myself and against my own intuition? And start to examine that to give yourself so many more opportunities to improve your own relationship with yourself your own self care and your own ability to support your health and healing. All right, and friends take care and I'll talk to you again next week and until then, Please be good to yourself.


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