A few weeks ago, I asked my Authenticity Arena Facebook Group about the types of things that have had them curious lately. One of the responses was from the beautiful Caity. She was curious about how to over-come people pleasing and let go of comparing yourself to others.
People-pleasing and comparison is something that I can definitely relate to personally. For years, saying ‘yes’ to others and endeavoring, at all costs, to make them ‘proud’ or like me is how I functioned in most social situations. I held others up on a pedestal and I always used to think that everyone else ‘knew’ something that I didn’t, that they somehow had it all figured out and I was just flopping around trying to get by.
Well, things have certainly changed for me and it can be this way for you too! That doesn’t mean that I never compare myself to others anymore or that I’m not compassionate or caring just because I’m not trying to ‘please’ others. It just means that I have chosen to put myself first and value my worth as much as the worth of others. We often hear people say, ‘you’re not alone’ in regard to many situations, but I know that this can be hard to buy into when your particular case of ‘comparisonitis’ feels seriously overwhelming. However, try thinking about it like this…You’re in a conversation with someone. Your thoughts are going a million miles an hour and you’re worried about what they’re thinking of you. Are you standing straight enough? Was your response too harsh? Do they think you’re funny? NOW, imagine that that person is doing exactly the same thing. They’re stressed out. They’re worried about what you’re thinking. They are concerned that you don’t like them. Now obviously, you’re not a cruel person. You’re not judging them at all. In fact, now that you know this, you want to reach out and give them a big, warm hug. If you imagine that everybody you meet is feeling the same way that you are, then this makes way for more compassion. Not only for others when they come into contact with you, but for yourself too.
This way of thinking can certainly help to put things into perspective, and is a great place to start but I know what you’re thinking… ‘Thanks for the perspective shift Jess, but HOW do I start to let go of these thoughts and put some changes into action?!’ Well, lucky for you I’ve compiled a list of some tried and tested ways that I’ve done just that.
1. Consider how you measure a successful day.
In the past, I could only lay my head on the pillow at night and feel proud of myself if I felt that others were proud of me (or at the very least that there were no conflicts because I had agreed with everyone-yuck!). Allowing the thoughts of others to be a measure for how I felt was not supportive for me and so the first thing I did to let go of my people-pleasing ways was to drop this way of thinking. Instead, I created my own criteria for success. How did I show up today? What’s an example of when I was authentically me? How am I proud of myself today? This way of thinking allows you to let go of needing others to be involved in your relationship with you, and encourages you to look out for and create opportunities for you to be proud of yourself each day.
2. Start small when speaking up.
To an award-winning people pleaser, the thought of speaking up and saying what is true to you can seem absolutely terrifying. I feel you! And even if you do muster up the courage to say what you feel, being prepared for what might be said in return is a whole other story! I suggest starting small with this. For example, if you’re organising a dinner to catch up with your girlfriends, instead of sitting back and saying that you don’t mind which restaurant is chosen, suggest your fave restaurant. If your boyfriend throws out the idea of hitting a Friday night movie, put forth your pick. Once speaking up at this level becomes easier, then step it up to suggesting an idea at work, or telling somebody about that class you’ve been taking that you’ve been keeping to yourself. Baby steps can help us to gain confidence.
3. Create a Self-Love Toolkit and choose Love over Fear. We’re all human and we all come up against fear from time to time. Sometimes your best laid plans to speak your truth and not compare yourself to others can falter. That’s when we need to consult our Self-Love Toolkits. Your toolkit should contain supportive strategies, actions and self-care routines to bring yourself back to love when everything seems a bit much. Here’s what’s inside my toolkit:
*Reaching out to a loved one
*Dancing (This one doesn’t always have to happen in the safety of your own home. I’ve been known to do this in the work toilets, in my empty classroom, in the car and in friend’s bathrooms.)
It’s important to remember that there are days when strategies work and days they don’t. What will always be supportive and soothing to you though, is compassion for yourself and where you are at. There’s no finish line on the journey to self-love and there will never be a time when you feel perfect day in and day out. I believe that wherever each of us are at any moment is perfect and I honour you for showing up for yourself right in this moment by reading this blog. You’re amazing!
With gratitude and love,
P.s. If you'd like to work with me to help shift your people pleasing and stop comparing yourself, simply click this link to book a Complimentary Clarity Call. I'd love to chat about how I can help you to embrace your most authentic self!