• Sandy Reynolds

The reason you need to address people-pleasing

We are halfway through January. I'm both surprised and relieved that these weeks are going by quickly. Maybe you can relate.

I went to a mall the other day out of necessity. I needed to exchange something at the Apple store. I was shocked that someone had decided to remove every place to sit in the mall. There is nowhere to set your bags while you get your coat on before heading out into the cold. I imagine myself telling my grandchildren stories about how you could go to a mall in the olden days and sit on a bench and watch people without wearing a mask. They'd ask me if that was after I churned the butter.

Life has changed, and we are adapting to it. I was thinking this week about the changes I've made in the past decade. I can't help but feel gratitude towards the person I was who found the courage to break a cycle of years of trying to win people's approval. I feel so much freer now.

You might wonder why I go on and on about people-pleasing in my work—learning to identify where people-pleasing and needing to be liked to show up in your life is critical to becoming a wise woman. The true you will emerge once you start to detangle from the relationships where you show up as a modified version of yourself to keep the peace in your family, workplace or community.

Every time you edit yourself, pretend you agree with someone or avoid admitting your truth in a situation, you move away from who you are. We need women who are confident to step up and challenge the systems destroying our health and well-being. We need Wise Women.

I meet with an extraordinary group of women each month. We've never met in person. We started as a book club, but we have become much more. We are currently working through Sharon Blackie's book If Women Rose Rooted. This morning I read this quote in the book:

“The Wise Woman is the Heroine, returned from her Journey, belonging finally both to herself and to the land where she lives. She is ready to offer up her knowledge and her gifts in service to the community. The Wise Woman, the weed wife, the curandera - whatever you call her, she is my inspiration. I recognise in her the need which each of us has to find strength from within ourselves; the need which each of us has to delve deep inside to uncover and develop the sources of our own belonging. To come to belong to this wide, wild Earth.

This is the work we must have done before we can ever hope to bring our newly birthed wisdom, our skills and our love, out into the world. These gifts are hard-won and take a long time to cook before finally, you get to serve them up in a thick, nourishing herb-scented stew. But once the stew is ready, the Wise Woman is a critical and integral part of her wider community.”

In my experience, many of us get stuck in our lives when we prioritize wanting to be liked. We want to have the approval and admiration of other people. People-pleasing runs deep within us. I want us to be a generation of Wise Women.

As Sharon Blackie wrote in the quote above, we have to do the work before we can bring our gifts into the world. You can begin by looking at where people-pleasing shows up for you. Start with this question: Who do you need to disappoint to free yourself?

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