THE LIFE COACH PODCAST – Episode 321
I am going to piggy-back on the DAY #247 discussion on kindness. There is a different between kindness and people-pleasing. There is a difference between loving someone and people-pleasing someone.
And I want to start off with a little quiz today on MONDAY MOTHERHOOD/MARRIAGE MATTERS. You didn’t know I did that, right? Well, it felt like a good way to introduce this topic. Here we go, using a few examples I’ve made up:
UNCONDITIONAL LOVE or PEOPLE PLEASING QUIZ
- My teenage daughter wanted a new outfit. I’d already spent most of the money in my budget for the month. But it’d been so long since I’d bought her an outfit, and she really wanted something new to wear. So I spent the money I didn’t want to spend on a couple shirts and shorts for my teenage daughter.
- My mother-in-law wanted to plan my baby’s birthday party. It was really nice of her to offer, and she told me that it was important to her. But I really wanted to plan it on my own. But, since I wanted my mother-in-law to know that I loved her, I let her plan the party.
- It’s the week before Christmas and our extended family popped the news on us: It will be Christmas morning at the grandparents home this year. We had plans for our own immediate family, but we grudgingly switched our plans so we could be at the family Christmas gathering, because we didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
- A friend wanted to get our families together. And she wanted me to plan the gathering – I always had in the past. But I knew that it will be hard for me to find the time or the energy that particular week. So I told her that if she had any specific ideas of things we could do in a couple weeks, we might be able to do that, but that that week wouldn’t work. And she was disappointed, but I stayed in close contact with her over the following days, to express my love for her.
- My sister often does not return my texts or messages. (This is made up, remember. My sisters always return my messages.) But I feel like, if I were a good sister, I would keep in close contact with her. So I keep sending messages and emails, and I will call her, even when I don’t really want to. And I’ve been feeling some resentment because she doesn’t return the favor ever.
Example 4 is the only example of love. The rest are examples of people pleasing.
Guess what. I am a people pleaser. And I have usually done this in the name of “unconditional love”.
Let’s talk about LOVE:
“Love is something that we do for ourselves. It’s a beautiful choice that we can make towards someone, no matter what they do…
People don’t have to change in order for us to love them. People don’t have to behave in a certain way for us to love them. People don’t have to even behave properly for us to love them. We can love them no matter what.”
And what would that look like? What would it look like to love my sister unconditionally, using the example above? Well, it would look like me texting or calling my sister because I miss her and because I love her, and because I want to feel that love – it’s a gift to me. And it wouldn’t matter if she returned my texts, because she wouldn’t have to act in a certain way for me to love her.
Or it could look like me doing some thoughtwork around the circumstance. My sister isn’t returning my texts. Maybe that’s not how she likes to accept and share love. Or maybe she doesn’t really need that in her life right now. Can I be okay loving her, but not being in constant contact with her? Can I reconsider what a good sister “should” do? Would that feel better to me? Would that be more true for me?
Maybe it means letting her get in contact with me, when she is wanting to be in contact with me. And me being okay with that, whatever that means to her – me loving her.
“A student might say to me, ‘I’m going to love this person unconditionally. So, that means, I’m going to let them treat me however they want to treat me, and act however they want.’
Do not stay in a relationship simply because you want to unconditionally love someone. Unconditionally loving someone doesn’t require anyone, including you, to do anything.”
“Unconditional love for yourself and for others always includes the truth and loving them no matter how they respond to the truth.”
The truth could be that I want to be in contact with my sister, regularly. And I can feel that love, whether or not she reciprocates.
That could be the truth. Or the truth could be that I don’t really want to text and email and call my sister. When I look at the truth, maybe I realize that when I try to get in contact with her, it’s only because I feel obligated to do so. I am not being true to myself and my feelings. And, get this, I can stop texting every couple days, I can stop calling, and I can still love her – I can still feel that love, without being in constant contact with her.
Or what about the mother-in-law and the baby’s birthday party?
“Unconditional love is telling someone the truth and loving them no matter how they respond and loving yourself no matter how you respond.”
Let’s talk about PEOPLE PLEASING:
People pleasing is lying. And lying is people pleasing.
“Think about someone who is challenging for you to love but who you love unconditionally. And ask yourself this question: ‘Do I believe loving someone unconditionally requires me to lie?’
Spoiler alert, the answer is always NO.”
Lying doesn’t feel good. That’s how you know it isn’t love.
And there is a lot more here about telling the truth – to yourself and to others. And about integrity. And about sacrifice. And about love. But I want to take some more time to explore people pleasing and lies we mistake for love and also some questions – some serious questions – that we need to be asking ourselves to clean up this part of our lives.
And, I think if we are very intentional about this, and if we are honest with ourselves, we can create a different life for ourselves, and strong, more loving relationships with others.
Let’s look at this more tomorrow. Good night. Thanks for exploring this with me today. Such good stuff, right?