My Approach to Helping
Pleasing others is a coping strategy we learn as kids. We often have a parent who had difficulty really being there for us. We learned that by tending to them, they would become a bit more available to us. In our adult relationships, we end up feeling neglected, taken for granted, resentful, and even lonely. We feel disconnected from our own needs, feelings, and preferences. Just thinking about what we want might bring up guilt or anxiety.
As women, there's an extra pressure toward people pleasing. We are socialized to put others first. We measure our worth based on how we look. We learn to read people's emotional signals, often knowing how they feel before they do. We stress over setting boundaries because disappointing people makes us so uncomfortable. Our sense of security is tied into the need for approval and belonging. And if we had a parent who could only love conditionally, we believe that the only way we can be loved is to meet the needs of others.
I understand this dynamic because I've lived it. In my forties, I found a mentor who helped me let go of my own people pleasing behavior and learn to give myself the love and care my own parents couldn't provide. Through my work, I discovered a profound sense of security and happiness - something I had always longed for and thought I had to earn through caring for others. It turns out that it's not being good or kind or pretty that makes us feel lovable. It's receiving love and care for no reason at all - unconditionally - that makes us feel deeply lovable.
Over the past ten years, I've shared this process with dozens of women. And I hear over and over how transformative it is. They stop criticizing and judging themselves. They get comfortable setting boundaries that are firm but kind. They know deep in their bones they are lovable. They feel joy because they know what lights them up, and they are happy to provide those experiences for themselves. And their relationships with others improve too. Because they give from a place of genuine desire instead of duty, guilt, or giving in order to win love or approval.
I would love to share this process with you and see if it's something that would feel right for you.