People pleasing means that sometimes, possibly often, we confuse compromising ourselves and avoiding conflict with ‘giving‘. In fact, much of what we regard as ‘keeping the peace‘ equates to destroying our inner peace.

Giving is the free transfer of something.

Getting along is the things we do to have harmonious and friendly relationships with others to feel good and get what we want from life. It’s how we attempt to meet our emotional needs, including safety and security, intimacy, connection, and status, amongst others. Of course, not everything we do to meet our needs is in our best interests. For instance, people pleasing represents habits we learned in response to old hurt and loss. While they helped us to cope and survive in childhood, continuing to use them in adulthood keeps us small. We don’t get to grow out of our past.

Giving to get along is about sacrificing our needs, expectations, desires, feelings and opinions to influence and control other people’s feelings and behaviour.

It involves emotionally blackmailing ourselves into extending something to avoid conflict, criticism, and tension. Problem is, we’re not ‘at peace’ and we’re not ‘getting along’. In fact, giving to get along keeps our relationships far from honest, intimate and authentic.

When you consider what you’re willing to do to ‘get along’, is it worth the price of saying yes? Is this what getting along with people really looks and feels like?

For example, let’s say you avoid saying no to your co-worker. How are you going to feel when they’re rude or unappreciative? What about when you’re exhausted, self-critical, or behind schedule because you didn’t have the bandwidth? Are you OK with feeling resentful or feeling tense and wary around this person? And why isn’t it possible for you to ‘get along’ with people and also have boundaries that mean that you say no when you need, should or want to?

If you’re not doing something wholeheartedly or you’re doing it to avoid conflict, criticism, etc., you’re not doing it for authentic reasons. And it’s not giving. It’s more fuzzy boundaries, sacrifice, and a hidden agenda.

Every time you do things from a place of obligation, it leads to resentment and guilt — and these are corrosive to your intimate relationships and self-esteem. Make it a desire, or say no. If you can’t convert an obligation into a desire, you need to be open with them about your perception of their ask, or you need to say no.

For more help with boundaries and saying yes and no more authentically, check out my latest book, The Joy of Saying No.

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