Back to Blog

The 'Smilers'

Apr 02, 2024

Check on the 'smilers'...

As a recovering people pleaser and burnout survivor, I've walked a path that's all too familiar to many. Easily sacrificing my own needs and desires on the assumption if I made others happy, I'd be happy. It's a cycle that can lead to compounding damage, both mentally and physically. Both for the people pleaser and those we may be making under-responsible.

There's a way out of the labyrinth of people pleasing, and it starts with awareness and support. People pleasers, or as I affectionately call them, 'smilers', are masters of disguise. Outwardly, we may appear calm, agreeable, and accommodating, but beneath the surface, we're often drowning in anxiety, resentment, and exhaustion. We say 'YES!' when we mean 'NO MORE', we prioritize others' happiness above our own, and we tiptoe around conflicts to avoid rocking the boat. But in doing so, we betray ourselves, chipping away who we truly are and authenticity with each false smile. Eventually losing our identity.

But breaking free from the chains of people pleasing is possible. It requires courage, self-awareness, and a willingness to prioritize our own well-being. An environment that understands this journey to lend a hand than take advantage of the situation.

Here are some tips on how to support those struggling to make this transition:

Encourage self-reflection: Help them explore their motivations for people pleasing and the underlying beliefs driving their behavior. Encourage journaling, therapy, or space practices to deepen their self-awareness. Talking about actions you do to reflect contributes to the 'group effect' of them wanting to do it too.

Normalize boundaries: Remind them that it's healthy and necessary to set boundaries in relationships. Encourage them to practice saying no without guilt and to prioritize their own needs and desires. Protecting their lunch hour and core work hours is a great start. Begin to speak up for them until they find their voice.

Celebrate small victories: Acknowledge and celebrate each step they take towards asserting themselves and reclaiming their autonomy. Whether it's speaking up in a meeting or declining an invitation that doesn't align with their values, every small victory deserves recognition.

Lead by example: Model healthy boundaries and self-care showing it is welcome. Show them that prioritizing your own well-being is not selfish but essential to build resiliency. As many say to me when my battery is getting low, practice what you preach!

Offer support: Be a listening ear and a source of encouragement on their journey towards self-empowerment. Let them know that they're not alone and that you're there to support them every step of the way.

Here's to the people pleasers showing up everyday. You're givers but it's time to also accept support - moving from the 'smiler' to a more genuine smile!

Need some help along this journey out of people pleasing and more to service aligned with your identity? Take a look here for support: Services

Learn more burnout recovery tips bi-weekly!