How to shift from people pleasing to self-integrity

What does it mean (to you) to be in integrity with yourself?

I am finding a new awareness of what it means to honor myself.  For years I have been a people pleaser and going along with what other people wanted made me happy because I thought I was making them happy by giving them what they wanted.  I struggled with indecision often getting confused between what it was that I truly wanted and wanting to "get along with everyone else" so I would appease them and be able to live comfortably where I was and feel like I "fit in."

Recently, probably as a side-effect of moving to California and being in a community where there are so many people who are free and radically expressing themselves, I am re-evalutating what it means to be free by being completely HONEST with myself and everyone else.  As a life-long people pleaser, I often found myself burning-out being around people who drained me because I was trying to "go with the flow" when really I was hiding my needs and my truth from my friends and from myself.

Maybe I did it because I was a sensitive person afraid of how others might judge and criticize ME, and I felt that it was safer to just go with the flow so they wouldn't point out my "faults" or dislike me.  But when it comes down to it, differing personal preferences makes us human, in fact, it is our differences that make us beautiful and often MORE likable.  I always admired those who have the bravery to be fully themselves.  They are the people who are comfortable in their bodies, they always get their needs met because they are not afraid to state them, and they have charming unique personalities, because they are fully embodying their true essence, no matter what anyone thinks.

I know that for many years I was "dimming my light" in order to make others more comfortable.  I was subtly afraid of being fully me, that neither I nor others around me would be able to handle it.  I craved affection and yet I was afraid of attention on me.  I had so many feelings inside but I wasn't comfortable enough with myself to be able to express that to the world in a way that felt authentic to me because I wasn't fully listening to my heart... I was listening to everyone else around me.

This journey out west and into myself has helped me to choose to be brave.  I am choosing my life fully and completely not to satisfy or please anyone else, but because it feels right in my heart, and I know deep down that it is exactly what I need.  

What is your heart asking of you?  Are you listening?

Here are some simple steps to help you making clear decisions for yourself and shift from people-pleasing to self-integrity.

(1) SLOW: Take your time!  The first step is to slow down and take a moment (or a couple minutes or however long it takes) to make up your mind about what it is that you want when a moment comes for you to decide something.  Don't let anyone rush you.  If you want some space, walk away so you can be by yourself for a moment and "check in" with yourself about what you need in this moment.

(2) STATE: When you have made up your mind, state what it is that you want. (Whether it is to yourself or someone else)

(3) TRUST: Don't sway the other way if someone else desires something different than you.  Honor yourself for what it is that you desire, and LISTEN to that desire.  It is there for a reason.  For example, if you are feeling tired, but your friends want to go out, allow yourself to honor your body and spirit and say "no."  Also, don't go changing your mind right away if things don't work out like you expected.  I used to beat myself up (mentally) thinking, "I chose to stay in when part of me wanted to out, but what if I am missing out?  I'm confused and now I don't know what I want...."  I would get overwhelmed and upset.  Trust that you ARE capable of making clear decisions and that you KNOW what is best for you, more than anyone else!  And if needed, repeat step two and check in with yourself about what it is that you are needing now, in this moment.  If you chose to stay in, ask yourself why? What are you needing?  Maybe you are desiring rest, some writing,  relaxing, watch a movie, meditation, or drawn... allow yourself to have what you need.

(4) RELAX: Congratulate yourself for making a decision even if you struggled along the way or you relapsed into people pleasing or indecision, know that each time you are practicing this process will get easier until it becomes a way of life for you.

I'd love to hear your what your journey to self-integrity has been like.  Is it easy for you to be honest with yourself and others?  Do you people please? Do you have any tips to share with people-pleasers? How are you choosing to be in integrity with yourself today?

Please post your thoughts in the comment below.  Thank you!

4 comments (Add your own)

1. Candace F. wrote:
Eliza, thank you! It feels like you wrote this just for me this morning. I am in a situation where I am being asked to disrespect myself for the sake of another's feelings and I was about to give in - but then I read your blog instead! More and more I am learning to trust that love does not mean self sacrifice, it means, rather, mutual respect, honesty and grace.

You are beautiful and I am so glad to call you a friend... Love, ~Candace

Wed, March 12, 2014 @ 9:13 AM

2. Aaron Fried wrote:
Abundance to you in your continuing growth and soul flowering!
I can empathize regarding the people-pleasing. I have developed a fortunate capacity to speak my truth often, but I do find that integrity isn't on every individual's bucket list. And yet personal authenticity has been the guiding light of my life, since I first came to Buffalo. For me the challenge is a spin-off of people-pleasing...I am comfortable in asserting myself and speaking my truth when necessary, but what often pains me is remaining in a state of disagreement; being comfortable with dispute does not come naturally to me as I am always striving in consciousness for the benefit of all. Recently for example, I just overcame a month and a half long silence between me and a co-worker by venturing into it, only to learn that all along it was a trivial misunderstanding and this person had carried pain the whole time but never brought it up to me...instead just went cold. Happy to say all is well again, but the point is being content with being misunderstood is an area of growth for me, and sometimes to be the change in others we need to be willing to hold an energy of friendly disagreement for a long time in the spirit of wisdom. It continues to amaze me that if one person says I love you another person can interpret that through his lens in a totally different way, based on their experiences in life. We all carry out own unique lens, so the trick I feel is to just be authentic to yourself and your own best friend first and trust that things will happen in accordance with the cosmos in their own time. No need to push, or back off. Being is just enough. In the case of my co-worker I have said prayers to bring harmony to the situation for weeks, but it never felt like the time. Then one day I heard intuition cry out, "now is the time." I entered into the situation boldly knowing that I was grounded in my truth and in love for all. Sometimes to love it is necessary to be our truth. And sometimes I have found it necessary to let the ego "die a small death." In the end, we can only become stronger, more joyful, whole, and transformed from the surrendering to the divine truth and letting it radiate through us, whatever the consequences. It's not easy being human!!

Wed, March 12, 2014 @ 9:53 PM

3. Barbara Lee Fall wrote:
We women are so ingrained to take care of other people and their needs first, "dimming our own light" and needs in the process. I'm learning to stand up for myself. I'm comfortable setting limits on what I will and won't do to be of service. I'm respecting and valuing my own time and needs. Others need to respect my decisions as well. When I say "no" to others, I am saying "yes" to myself!

Tue, March 18, 2014 @ 8:33 AM

4. Dylan Byrne wrote:
Great article, thanks!

Wed, April 16, 2014 @ 2:56 PM

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