• Sandy Reynolds

Can people-pleasers be trusted?

I’ve been thinking about trust, self-trust, being trustworthy and how it relates to people-pleasing. I want to focus on trust this month with you, and I believe a soul-centered approach is to start with yourself first. I mean, if you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Last week on Instagram, I asked a question about how do you know who to trust. The comments ranged from “I trust everyone” to “I only trust myself.” One person said that living through this pandemic has made her reticence to trust even worse than before. We have certainly seen the best and the worst of humanity these past few years.

The comment that stuck with me was the ‘I only trust myself’ statement. I love that woman was able to have that much confidence in herself. I have heard people say the opposite, “I can’t trust myself to _____” (fill in the blank with a commitment, goal or desire).

I’ve said that about having junk food in the house. I can’t trust myself not to eat it. The only way to make sure I don’t eat potato chips every day is not to have them in the house. Funny, I never feel that around vegetables. Can you imagine saying, “I can’t trust myself to have kale in the fridge? I will eat it.”

Trusting ourselves means we know we will act in alignment with our values and beliefs. We know that if we decide to do something, we will follow through with our commitments unless some extenuating circumstances arise. Following through with what we say is essential over time; we learn we can trust ourselves.

I’m wondering how many of us feel that way about ourselves? I know that people-pleasers I’ve worked with are often frustrated that they let their desire to be liked by other people become more important than following through with what they want. I’ve been there.

Maybe you’ve been there. You are out for dinner with friends (you might have to dig deep for memories of these events!), and someone suggests ordering another bottle of wine. You don’t want to because you would prefer to wrap up the evening, and you are on a budget. Everyone else is on board, so rather than speak up and say something, you smile and go along with the group.

Or maybe it is something that happens at work. You aren’t happy with your manager's decision, but rather than confront it, you suck it up. You don’t want to be a pain in the ass. You know everyone is under a lot of pressure right now, so you decide to swallow your needs and push through them.

And then there are those times when you do what you want, but you are hesitant to share it with people because they might disapprove. I felt like that when I stopped going to church. In my social circle going to church, every Sunday was a big deal. It took a few years for me to tell certain people I didn’t go to church anymore. I would go about every six months or so to keep up the charade.

Here’s what happens to you when you make enough of these decisions to make other people happy at the expense of what you want. Inside, you begin to lose confidence in yourself. You live with cognitive dissonance. You doubt your ability to achieve what you want in your life. You don’t feel like you can trust yourself to take care of your own needs. You might find yourself feeling resentful towards people and situations. You avoid getting together with your friends because you thought burned last time you got together - not by them but by your inability to say what would work for you.

What are you doing that you are hiding so people will like you? What are you not doing that you want to do because you don’t want to deal with the disapproval of others? What are you doing that you don’t want to do to make someone happy?

If you want to be able to trust yourself, start by dealing with people-pleasing in your life. I would be happy to help - schedule a coaching session right now and get started.

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