THE LIFE COACH PODCAST – Episode 321
Okay. Let’s look at this again: Love verses People Pleasing.
Remember, love is beautiful, love feels good, love is full of honesty and integrity, and, get this, people don’t have to change in order for us to love them. We get to love someone, no matter what their behavior or their feelings toward us.
I knew this. And this is a beautiful truth.
But here is where I hadn’t before made the connection. Love doesn’t require them to do what I want, and love doesn’t require me to do what they want.
“Unconditional love includes telling the truth and loving them no matter how they respond to the truth.”
“I love you, but no,” in Byron Katie’s words. Right? I love you, but you cannot live with us this year. And then loving her no matter how she reacts to the truth.
Loving someone always includes telling the truth to myself, and to the other person.
“People pleasing is lying. And lying is people pleasing.”
And this is all from yesterday, right?
Let’s look some examples. An example of a lie being mistaken for love would include telling your friend that you’d love to meet up with her at the mall, when you really have ten other things you’d rather be doing. Or telling your neighbor that she can use your garden hose, when you really wanted to use it for your own garden that day.
That is not unconditional love. That is people pleasing, and you know because it doesn’t feel like love. It feels like resentment. It feels like obligation. Unconditional love means you tell the truth. You say, “I don’t want to meet up at the mall today.” And then, however she responds, you love her anyway. That is unconditional love.
Lying is people pleasing. People pleasing is lying. And it is not unconditional love at all.
Now, let me clarify. That doesn’t mean that you don’t choose to make a sacrifice in your own life for someone else. That doesn’t mean you don’t put your other things aside to go to the mall with your friend, at times. But when you’re doing it from love, it feels amazing. It feels right. It feels good. It feels inspired. You’re not reluctant to do that thing. You know that that is the most loving thing that you can do for yourself and another person.
When we lived in London, I had a friend, Tanya, who had children my children’s ages. One afternoon, we were walking to a book store together, our kids in their strollers. I remember where we were – I remember that moment. She asked me if there was anything she could do to help me that week. I told her that we had tickets to go to The Lion King, but our youngest was too young for the theatre. She offered to babysit him for us that evening. The more I thought about it as we walked, I decided it would really be too difficult for her. Without a car, she would need to drag her children 3 miles to our home to pick up our child, etc. It would just be too hard. I told her I would just hire a sitter. She stopped. She looked me in the eye. And she said to me, “I really want to do this for you. Please let me do this for you.” It was in no way convenient for Tanya to babysit our baby that evening. In fact, it was, I’m sure, not what she wanted to do that evening at all. But there was no feeling of obligation.
Tanya’s sacrifice for me that evening brought us closer together. If there had been any feeling of obligation or resentment, I don’t think an improved relationship long-term would have been the result, right?
“Yes. People pleasing feels amazing in the moment because you tell people what they want to hear, and you get the response you want, so it’s that little hit of adrenaline.
But unconditional love is what feels good for the long-term.”
Can I get to love? Can I get to truth?
And if I can’t get to love in that moment, the way Tanya was able to, can I get to truth? What would that look like?
That would look like Tanya telling me that she wasn’t up to babysitting that evening, but she’d like to help in another way, right? Doesn’t that feel like the truth? Doesn’t that feel better than, “Yes, I’d love to babysit for you tonight!” when what she really felt was stress and annoyance? Do you see the difference? “I love you, but no.”
“We have to tell the truth if we want to clean up that people pleasing. We have to stop the lying…
Lying doesn’t create any foundation for love. Truth and love go together.”
I am grateful for the sincere “yes”s I’ve received in my life. Tanya’s yes that afternoon, Bryant’s yes when I need a foot massage, etc. But I am also grateful for the loving “no”s I’ve received, as well. They have taught me something about boundaries, something about telling the truth, something about a dimension of love that I wasn’t offering my own self before.
“Look at your life. Take an inventory. ‘Where do I think I’m people pleasing? Where am I lying? What isn’t true for me and what is true?’
Where are you telling yourself that things are okay, where they’re not? Where are you telling yourself that you are loving something when you’re really not?
You want to say, ‘This is what’s true for me and this is why.’ And make sure you like your reason.”
Brooke closes with this – and I love it:
“And the longer I tell the truth, the more intolerable it became to lie. And that’s when I learned to unconditionally love.”