I have been on a journey of embracing the courage to be disliked for my own mental health, to create more spaciousness, and to support my overall sense of well-being. It can be really scary to think that embracing the courage to be disliked leads to overall greater mental health and overall increased feelings of well-being, but it does.
If you are a chronic people pleaser, it is taking it out of you. It’s sucking joy, life, and energy. It’s taking a toll on your mental and your physical health and it’s actually a trauma response.
So we’re going to talk about how this is impacting eating behavior and how we can move out of being a people pleaser and really embrace the courage to support ourselves, to take care of ourselves, and to know that we are worthy. It is really life changing to understand how people pleasing is actually creating so much dysfunction and is impacting our mental health.
But first, how do you know if you’re a people pleaser?
Here are 10 signs that this may be showing up in your life:
- You have difficulty saying no to others, even when its conflicting with your own needs or desires in order to avoid disappointing someone.
- You’re constantly seeking validation and approval from others.
- Prioritizing others above yourself without considering your own needs, wants, and desires.
- You suppress your own thoughts, opinions, and feelings to avoid conflict or avoid upsetting others.
- You feel bad when you do assert your own needs.
- Constantly overcompensating for your shortcomings or mistakes.
- You struggle with setting healthy boundaries, which can lead to you feeling a lack of spaciousness.
- Going out of your way to accommodate others without considering your own needs or well-being.
- You experience high levels of stress and burnout from constantly trying to please others.
- You feel resentful of or angry towards others, even though you are trying to please them.
When we look at the connection between people pleasing and our relationship with food, first think about societal expectations. The person who is prioritizing others’ needs and desires is much more likely to feel a pressure to conform to whatever society and diet culture’s expectations are around food and around body size. As a result, that leads into food restriction in order to please others and to have a body that we feel is acceptable to others and to the unrealistic beauty standards.
And the second point that I want to discuss is how the emotional suppression that the people pleaser experiences impacts eating behavior. When we suppress our emotions and our feelings in order to avoid conflict, to be more digestible to others, or to please others, what ends up happening is we become emotionally constipated. We become emotionally backed up and emotions that are not processed or felt – they don’t just go away.
So if you’ve become an emotional stuffer and you wonder why you snap and you have these moments of impulsiveness where you just want to numb out with food, it is your system going, “Hey, it’s your nervous system and your body here. I’ve got a lot to process and I haven’t been able to!” Then we feel that internal pressure and we want to cope. And if we’ve created this mental association that binge eating or emotional overeating gives us that release…
That’s what we crave.
That’s what we desire.
So people pleasers tend to use food as a way to cope with emotions because they don’t stand for creating an environment where their emotions are supported.
So understanding these various signs and which one you can relate to is powerful for understanding yourself in greater depth and understanding that people pleasing can become this cyclical pattern of behavior where you’re constantly prioritizing others above yourself. When you begin to place their needs, wishes, and desires above your own emotions, thoughts, and desires it leads to feelings of burnout, emotional exhaustion, and even depression.
I’m proud of you for looking at people pleasing and deciding that maybe it’s not something you want to continue to perpetuate. You are worthy of setting boundaries and honoring yourself. You’re a worthy person that your thoughts and your opinions and your needs matter. So practice asserting those and asking for those and accepting support.
I promise that embracing the courage to be disliked is beautiful and it will set you free in many different ways.