Are You Still Trying to Please People Who Can’t Be Pleased?

Published on April 26, 2013

I am awesome socksDo you call yourself a “people pleaser?” Is there always that little voice inside your head saying, “I wonder what other people will think of this idea?” Are you consistently disappointed in the reactions of certain others in your life who never seem to recognize your contributions?

Well, if this is true, quoting Bob Newhart, I say, “STOP IT!”

As long as you continue to do what you do to please others, you are destined to a life of failure, disappointment, heartache and hurt. Period.

How do I know? I have been there and lived in that world too. 

From the time I was young, I sought the approval of others. Sometimes what others saw was rebellion, acting out, or even subordination, but at the end of the day, all I really wanted was love and acceptance - somebody to say, “Well done.”

Interestingly enough, however, there were plenty of people saying those things too! I was literally surrounded by people giving me atta girls , appreciation, encouragement and love, but I didn’t hear those people. All I heard was the ones saying, “try again or you can do better.” Even worse, the loudest voices were the ones of rejection and ridicule.

After some intentional personal growth and transformation work (I was sick of striving for something I never seemed to get), I realized that instead of hearing the voices of love and appreciation - the ones who saw my giftings and my talents - I had been focused on trying to please those who presumably would NEVER be pleased. And as I really looked closer at those people I was trying to please, I also noticed that there were lots of other people pleasers trying to do the same thing and they were getting the same response. Some people just can’t be pleased - period.

You mean it isn’t just me? 

For some crazy reason I singled out the most difficult people in the world to impress and otherwise create relationships with - mainly professionally. After further assessment, these people were often judgemental, condescending, unhappy, and guess what - also striving for the approval of others!

Back in junior highschool, I had a basketball coach who I perceived to be a real jerk. He treated the girls rudely (by today’s standards he would have been considered sexually harassing) and he was particularly unkind to one particular adopted student that was new to our school. I usually stood up for the underdogs and one day I got fed up with his treatment of this particular student. Let’s just say, I told him off. As I was leaving the gym headed for the principles office (again), he yelled behind me, “You have an inferiority complex.” I just yelled back, “So do you!” Mainly because I had absolutely no idea what that meant!

Now that I DO know, let me share the definition with you. 

The definition of inferiority complex by the American Heritage Dictionary:  A persistent sense of inadequacy or a tendency to self-diminishment, sometimes resulting in excessive aggressiveness through overcompensation.

The definition of inferiority complex by the Collins English Dictionary: (Psychiatry) A disorder arising from the conflict between the desire to be noticed and the fear of being humiliated, characterized by aggressiveness or withdrawal into oneself.

Isn’t it interesting that this little “label” given to me in the heat of the moment in junior high school would stick with me through my life until fairly recently.

The truth is, he was probably right to a degree. My acting out was my way of overcompensating for feelings of lack about myself. Sometimes it came out as rebellion and sometimes it presented exactly opposite - people pleasing. Early in my adult life, I think I must have learned that the “acting act” no longer got me the desired results I was looking for, so instead I resorted to people pleasing - some may even call it “sucking up.”  What other method is there? I thought succeeding in life was all about who you knew and who you got into business with, right? Am I not trying to please the right people? Each time I moved on to new people to please, I only found more people I couldn’t please. Over time, I realized that this method didn’t work either. now what?

Can you see yourself in this picture? 

Do you act out aggressively to seek approval of others because you don’t see your own value? Or are you the person who constantly seeks to gain the approval of others through hard work and over achievement only to be slapped down time and time again with disappointment and hurt feelings?

Either way, it’s time to look inward. People pleasing is NEVER going to work. Until you are fully satisfied that you don’t need the validation of others, you will never live up to your full potential.

It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. 

If you are ready to become the best version of yourself by turning down the volume on the loud voices saying, “You aren’t enough,” and turn up the ones saying, “You rock,” then give us a call. The voices are there - all of them. We can help you hear the ones that lift you up until your inner voice is the only one that matters. 

You do realize that your inner voice IS the only one that matters, right?

Of course you do, so why doesn’t it speak louder?

There are some key people in my life who helped me find my inner voice (and listen to it). When I found it, my life totally shifted. My relationships, career, health, wealth, and energy level all began to improve. I look back now and am forever grateful. Don’t get me wrong - I did the work, but I needed guides who were skilled, centered, and oh-so-patient to take me through the process. In short order, they helped me change the way I see and live.

Through coaching, I found my SoulFire!

Did I mention that these people are now coaches on our SoulFire Coaching Team? I would love to introduce you!

If you are looking to become the best version of you and are sick of relying on external validation (other people) to make you feel whole, we  are hear to help. Not only will you find your SoulFire for life, but your SoulFire career and clients are waiting for you to show up too!


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