Ever find yourself saying ‘yes’ to everything, despite knowing that you really can’t take much more on your plate?
You’re a people-pleaser – but don’t panic, you’re certainly not the only one.
Many of us shrink our own needs and desires in the pursuit of getting people to like us.
That might mean smoothing our rough edges to fit in, accepting unfair treatment, or just stepping back and letting other people make decisions.
It’s perfectly natural, but constant people-pleasing isn’t healthy. Each time you retreat and allow people to walk all over you, you lose a bit more of your personal power and sense of self.
The good news: you can regain these things. Here’s how.
Realise that you are the authority on your life
‘You are the centre of your own experience,’ confidence coach Julia Paulette Hollenbery tells Metro.co.uk. ‘No one else knows how it is to feel, think and be you.
‘The only person who can speak-up or take the right action for you – is you. You are your own responsibility.’
Accept yourself, just the way you are
Instead of always looking for validation from others, what if you just loved yourself unconditionally?
Julia says: ‘The more you can accept and love yourself exactly as you are, the more you will be able to withdraw investing others with your power, pleasing them, etc.
‘Realise that it is ok – it is a normal part of being human – for you to be imperfect, vulnerable and make mistakes.
‘It’s ok for you to feel sometimes afraid, over-whelmed, confused, lonely, angry, etc. Just be you!’
Create your own confidence toolkit
Sometimes you’re going to have blips – moments when you’re filled with self-doubt and feel like everything you do is wrong.
Be prepared for these times. Ready yourself with a full toolkit of self-care acts you know work for you.
‘What you do need are practical tools, a helpful book or movie, people you trust, perhaps a therapist or a friend that you can connect with when you are feeling down,’ says Julia. ‘You need to know how to handle yourself when you are feeling delicate.
‘What do you need? What works for you? Sleep? Exercise? Company? Music? Nature? Mediation? Know yourself.’
You know that feeling when you’re fully immersed in something, your mind is focused, and time flies?
That’s flow, and it’s brilliant.
Find something you love to do, that’s just for you, then carve out time just for that.
Don’t let other people’s wants infringe on this time. Commit to yourself.
Set reasonable goals
‘Expectations can be unhelpful and unkind,’ Julia says. ‘Trying to do something that you can’t easily do can be crushing when you fail.
‘Set yourself a challenge, something that will stretch and expand you – but make it reasonable and achievable.
‘Ticks in a list of goals achieved today, this week or month is surprisingly satisfying and empowering. You can do it.’
Julia says: ‘The filtered, air-brushed, unrealistic marketing images of others are not good examples for us to compare ourselves to.
‘Social media is not real, messy life. The way that other people’s lives appear to be, is not always the whole truth. Don’t believe the marketing hype and don’t compare yourself to others.’
Check in on your attention
Your attention is part of your personal power – it’s a sacred thing, and your life is shaped by what and who you dedicate your focus to.
So if you feel like you’re losing yourself, it’s time to reflect: where is your attention going? Are you giving it to things you don’t really care about?
‘Your phone is designed to steal your attention,’ notes Julia. ‘All the blings, pings and flashing-lights of constantly updating devices create anxiety and interrupt our train of thought.
‘Look up and away from your screens and go out into nature, into daylight and meet other real flawed wonderful people.’
Get into mindfulness
Julia recommends: ‘Drop out of anxiety with a regular meditation practice. Just a few minutes a day of a concentration meditation, will help to clear your mind of frantic repetitive thoughts.
‘It is empowering to notice you are not just your thoughts, you are also a physical body. Can you feel your feet on the ground and your bottom on the chair? Can you sense your arms and legs, your belly and back, your pelvis and head? What is your body trying to tell you?’
Learn to listen to your inner voice
Sometimes we’re so quick to seek the opinions of others that we don’t take a moment to wonder what we actually think and feel.
Take a moment to process your thoughts. Practice trusting your own views, wants, and decisions rather than always looking to external confirmation.
Julia tells us: ‘We all have an inner sense of what is the right thing to do.
‘Perhaps it is an inner impulse, knowing or drive. Perhaps a night-time dream, a spontaneous sense or an audible voice. Pay attention to that uprising information.’
Julia Paulette Hollenbery is a happiness expert and author of The Healing Power Of Pleasure – Seven Medicines For Rediscovering The Innate Joy Of Being.
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