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How People Pleasers can compromise their integrity unintentionally

posted 28 Nov 2019, 18:44 by Suzi Wallis   [ updated 28 Nov 2019, 18:45 ]
Integrity is a fundamental value that most people value highly. Those who have been brought up with the idea that others' needs are more important than their own (often called People Pleasers or PPs), can unintentionally violate their own integrity simply by keeping their word. If you are a PP, you probably find it difficult to say no, so you can commonly end up in situations that you either: don't want to be in at all, or you have discovered are unhealthy for you. Because keeping your word is so important, the idea of exiting out of the situation before it's complete, is excruciating. 

I want to encourage you to rethink this concept. Changing your mind, exiting gracefully or ungracefully, is self care, it's not a lack of integrity. If you weren't aware of what was being asked of you, if you've discovered the commitment is unsustainable for you, if you actually need to be doing something else for yourself instead, if you are unwell or injured, or you really need to recharge, it's ok to change your mind. Continuing to over-give is compromising your integrity to yourself! Valuing your own needs and expectations is way more important for your medium and long term health, than prioritising others. 

A habit of PPs is justification and explanation of their reason for saying no. This is a trap that can keep you engaged in a verbal game with a manipulator long after you could have walked away. I'm no longer available for this, I can give you another 5 minutes, I'm not going to be able to meet you at this time, I don't have capacity to carry out what I agreed - all these are legitimate reasons to terminate your agreement/commitment without explanation. If you are asked why, simply re-state your previous message. Don't give the manipulator ammunition to argue with you.

Life is a constant balancing act of our needs and others' needs. In a healthy relationship (with a friend, colleague, family member, partner), healthy compromise is doing or saying something you'd rather do or not do, because it nurtures the relationship (and it's in alignment with your values). Unhealthy compromise is doing or saying something you'd rather not do, because you're afraid of the consequences. PPs are more likely to say yes when they want to say no, than those with a robust sense of self. 

It takes practice to build the skill of prioritising yourself over others. Rehearsing in your head is absolutely normal, and can be very helpful. It is not rude to say no, although it might feel rude until you are more confident at saying it. If you are willing, and now/the requested time doesn't suit, you can also say I'm not available for the task then, I could help you out [at a later date]. 

Best wishes for learning or strengthening this skill. It's an important one for keeping management of your life in your hands.

Suzi Wallis | Nov 2019