Jana Short of Best Holistic Life Magazine On How to Recover From Being a People Pleaser

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Setting Boundaries: It’s essential to know your limits and communicate them clearly. For instance, I had a colleague who always said yes to extra work, eventually leading to burnout. The day she started saying “no” and defining her work limits, she regained control of her time and stress levels.

In today’s society, the tendency to prioritize others’ needs and expectations over one’s own can lead to significant emotional and psychological challenges. In this series, we would like to explore the complex dynamics of people-pleasing behavior and its impact on individual well-being and relationships. We would like to discuss the root causes of people-pleasing behavior, its effects on personal and professional life, and practical steps for cultivating healthier relationships and self-esteem. We hope that this series can provide insights, strategies, and real-life experiences that can help individuals navigate and overcome the pitfalls of being a people pleaser. As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Jana Short, editor-in-chief at Best Holistic Life Magazine.

Jana Short isn’t just a name; she’s a force of nature sweeping through the international landscape of influencers and entrepreneurs. With her heart deeply rooted in empowering others, Jana wears multiple hats with grace — she’s a Brand Strategy Specialist, a master practitioner in NLP & RTT, a visionary entrepreneur, a 3-time best-selling author, and the soulful voice behind her podcast. But that’s not all; she’s also the editor of the Best Holistic Life Magazine, a platform that echoes her holistic approach to life.

Her journey hasn’t gone unnoticed. In 2023 alone, she’s been crowned the Top Magazine Publisher and Publicist of the Year by IOATP and recognized as one of the Top 15 Coaches in Los Angeles by Influence Digest Los Angeles. She’s also been honored as the Woman of the Year by Hollywood Soeleish Magazine. Her influence has even graced the cover of San Francisco Soeleish Magazine in July 2022. And for the second year running, she’s been named Los Angeles Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top Influencer of 2022.

Jana’s accolades are a testament to her relentless pursuit of excellence, but what truly sets her apart is her emotional intelligence and her innate ability to inspire. She’s not just making waves; she’s creating a transformative tide changing lives.

Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us your “Origin Story”? Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Thank you for the opportunity to share my story with your readers. Reflecting on my origins, I was shaped by a family dynamic that was both challenging and empowering. Being raised by a single mother alongside four siblings, I experienced a unique childhood dominated by strong female figures. This environment instilled in me an understanding and appreciation for strength, resilience, and the power of determination.

As the eldest, I naturally assumed a role of responsibility and leadership early on, which was both a privilege and a challenge. It taught me the value of hard work and the importance of setting an example for my younger siblings. These early experiences were the foundation of my belief that with determination and hard work, I could achieve anything I set my mind to.

However, life had its own plans, and at 17, I found myself in the daunting position of becoming a single mother. This experience was transformative. It was a period filled with fear, uncertainty, and immense responsibility. The prospect of raising a child alone at such a young age was overwhelming, but it ignited a fire within me that continues to burn fiercely.

This pivotal moment in my life was a catalyst for profound personal growth. It taught me the true meaning of resilience and the power of a determined spirit. Failure was not an option, not when another life was depending on me. This experience shaped me into who I am today — a person who understands the value of perseverance, the strength in vulnerability, and the importance of fighting for what you believe in.

My journey has been far from easy, but it has been incredibly rewarding. It has taught me that no matter the circumstances, with courage and determination, one can overcome any obstacle. I hope my story can inspire others who may find themselves in similar situations to believe in their ability to rise above challenges and achieve their dreams.

Can you tell us a bit about what you do professionally, and what brought you to this specific career path?

My professional journey is deeply intertwined with a personal transformation. A near-death experience was the turning point that led me to discover my true calling: to instill hope and inspire others. Overcoming a prolonged illness, I lost much — hope, dreams, precious moments with loved ones — but in that process, I also gained invaluable insights: a sense of purpose, unwavering drive, and a clear focus.

Today, I channel this experience into various avenues of influence. As a public speaker, I share my story and insights, aiming to uplift and motivate others. As a writer and publisher of a magazine that reaches 1.5 million subscribers, I strive to create content that resonates with and empowers my audience. Hosting a podcast allows me to connect and engage with people on a more personal level. Through all these roles, I consider myself not just a survivor but a thriver in life, continuously seeking to spread hope and positivity.

Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion about People Pleasing. To make sure that we are all on the same page, let’s begin with a simple definition. What does “People Pleaser” mean to you?

To me, a “People Pleaser” is someone who constantly strives to ensure the well-being and happiness of others, often under the misconception that they have the control or responsibility to make it happen. It’s a mindset where one’s sense of worth or validation is heavily tied to being indispensable, needed, or loved by others. This often involves prioritizing others’ needs and desires at the expense of one’s own, driven by a deep-seated need for approval and acceptance.

On the surface, it seems like being a person who wants to please others is a good thing. Can you help articulate a few of the challenges that come with being a people pleaser?

Being a people pleaser often leads to overextending oneself, which can cause physical exhaustion and emotional burnout. This constant effort to meet others’ expectations can result in stress and a loss of personal authenticity. It also impacts relationships; people-pleasers may struggle with genuine connections and might attract individuals who take advantage of their accommodating nature. While pleasing others isn’t inherently negative, the imbalance it creates in personal health and relationships can be significant.

Can you describe a moment in your life when you realized that your own people-pleasing behavior was more harmful than helpful?

Absolutely, being a people pleaser does have its advantages. For one, it often leads to being well-liked and appreciated in social and professional settings. People who prioritize others’ needs and happiness can create positive environments and are often seen as reliable and cooperative team members.

Additionally, being attuned to others’ needs and emotions can make one an effective communicator and mediator. People pleasers are often skilled at navigating social situations, avoiding conflicts, and maintaining harmony, which can be particularly beneficial in collaborative settings.

However, it’s important to balance this trait so it doesn’t lead to self-neglect. While there are definite perks to being someone who naturally seeks to make others happy, it’s crucial to ensure that in doing so, one’s own needs and well-being are not consistently sidelined.

In your opinion, what are the common root causes of people-pleasing behavior?

In my view, the root causes of people-pleasing behavior often stem from a deep-seated need for approval and fear of rejection. This can originate from early life experiences, such as seeking attention or approval in one’s family, or it can develop as a response to social pressures to conform and be liked. Additionally, low self-esteem and a lack of assertiveness can contribute to this behavior, as individuals might feel their value is tied to how much they can satisfy others’ needs and expectations.

How does people-pleasing behavior impact personal relationships?

People-pleasing behavior can have a complex impact on personal relationships. On one hand, it can initially create a harmonious dynamic, as the people pleaser often goes out of their way to accommodate and avoid conflict. However, this can lead to unbalanced relationships over time. The people pleaser might end up feeling unappreciated or resentful, especially if their efforts aren’t reciprocated or acknowledged.

Moreover, there’s a risk of relationships lacking depth and authenticity. If a people pleaser is constantly adjusting their actions and responses to please others, they might not express their true feelings and needs. This can prevent the development of genuine, deep connections, as relationships thrive on honesty and mutual understanding.

In essence, while people-pleasing can smooth over immediate conflicts, it might hinder the formation of truly fulfilling and balanced relationships in the long run.

How does people-pleasing behavior impact professional relationships?

People-pleasing behavior in professional settings can be a double-edged sword. On the positive side, it often leads to being seen as cooperative and accommodating, traits that are highly valued in team environments. People pleasers tend to be the ones who volunteer for extra tasks, work towards harmonious team dynamics, and often go the extra mile to ensure client satisfaction.

However, the downside is that this behavior can sometimes lead to a lack of boundaries and self-advocacy. People pleasers might struggle to say ‘no’, leading to overwhelming workloads and potential burnout. There’s also the risk of their contributions being undervalued or taken for granted, as they might not assert themselves in discussions about promotions or recognition.

Moreover, in leadership roles, a people-pleasing approach can hinder effective decision-making. Leaders who prioritize being liked over making tough, necessary decisions might struggle with maintaining respect and authority.

While people-pleasing can create a cooperative atmosphere, it’s important to balance it with assertiveness and clear boundaries to ensure professional growth and healthy work relationships.

How can long-term people-pleasing behavior impact an individual’s mental health?

Long-term people-pleasing behavior can deeply impact an individual’s mental health in ways that are both profound and emotional. At its heart, this constant striving to meet others’ expectations can erode one’s sense of self-worth and identity. When we continuously put others first, we risk losing touch with our own needs and desires, leading to a feeling of emptiness and a lack of personal fulfillment.

This behavior also carries a relentless undercurrent of stress and anxiety. The fear of disappointing others or not living up to their expectations can be emotionally burdensome. Over time, this sustained stress can lead to mental exhaustion and even physical health issues.

Perhaps most heartbreakingly, people-pleasing often involves suppressing our true feelings, leading to a sense of loneliness and disconnection, even in the midst of company. This irony is poignant — in our effort to forge connections and feel accepted, we may end up feeling more isolated.

Ultimately, the impact of long-term people-pleasing on mental health is a stark reminder of the importance of self-care. It highlights the need to find a balance between our innate desire to please others and the equally important need to honor our own emotional well-being.

In your experience, what is the role of self-awareness in overcoming people-pleasing tendencies, and how can individuals cultivate it?

Self-awareness is crucial in overcoming people-pleasing. It’s like shedding light on why we prioritize others’ approval over our own needs. By asking ourselves why we act in certain ways and whether our actions align with our true selves, we start to recognize and change our people-pleasing patterns.

Practicing mindfulness is a great way to enhance self-awareness. It helps us notice when we’re about to default to people-pleasing and instead, make choices that respect our own needs and boundaries. Regularly reflecting, whether through mindfulness or journaling, is key to understanding our motivations and gradually shifting towards more authentic behaviors.

Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience or research, what are the “Five Strategies Or Techniques That Can Help Individuals Break Free From The Cycle Of People-Pleasing”?

Setting Boundaries: It’s essential to know your limits and communicate them clearly. For instance, I had a colleague who always said yes to extra work, eventually leading to burnout. The day she started saying “no” and defining her work limits, she regained control of her time and stress levels.

Self-Reflection: Taking time to understand why you feel the need to please is crucial. I once had a friend who realized her people-pleasing stemmed from childhood, where she sought approval from her parents by being agreeable. Recognizing this pattern helped her start making decisions for herself.

Assertiveness Training: Learning to express your needs and opinions respectfully but firmly can be transformative. I remember coaching someone who was timid in meetings. Through assertiveness exercises, they learned to voice their ideas confidently, gaining more respect at work.

Seeking Support: Whether it’s therapy or talking to trusted friends, getting outside perspectives can be eye-opening. I had a client in therapy who, through discussions, understood how her people-pleasing affected her relationships and started to work on healthier dynamics.

Mindfulness and Self-Compassion: Being present and kind to yourself helps in reducing the urge to please. A colleague used mindfulness to recognize her people-pleasing triggers and respond to them with self-compassion instead of immediate compliance.

What steps should people pleasers take to establish healthier boundaries?

People pleasers can start establishing healthier boundaries by first acknowledging their tendency to prioritize others excessively. It’s important to clearly define and communicate your limits to those around you. For example, when I started being upfront about my availability and capacity at work, it significantly improved my work-life balance.

Remember, practicing assertiveness is key, and it gets easier with time. Also, let go of the guilt associated with putting your needs first. Setting boundaries is not just self-care; it’s essential for healthy, respectful relationships. Learning this has been a game-changer for me, both personally and professionally.

How can someone who is naturally empathetic maintain their compassion while becoming more assertive?

Balancing empathy and assertiveness is about respecting both your feelings and those of others. Assertiveness doesn’t mean you’re any less compassionate; it’s actually a form of self-respect. For example, using ‘I’ statements like “I feel” helps in expressing your needs without undermining others’ feelings. It’s about being a supportive listener while also being clear about your boundaries. Remember, empathetic assertiveness is valuing your own emotions and needs while being considerate of others.

What are the most common misconceptions about people pleasers, and how do these misconceptions affect their journey toward recovery?

A key misconception about people pleasers is that they’re just naturally selfless, overlooking their deep-seated need for approval and tendency to neglect personal needs. This view can delay their recognition of the issue as a coping mechanism, not just a positive trait. Another myth is seeing people pleasers as inherently passive; many are assertive in some areas but struggle with the need to be liked. These misunderstandings can make it challenging for them to be taken seriously and find the support needed for their journey towards healthier self-relationships.

What role can therapy or counseling play in helping individuals overcome people-pleasing behavior?

Therapy or counseling can be a vital resource in overcoming people-pleasing behavior. It provides a safe and supportive space for individuals to explore the root causes of their tendencies. For example, in my own experience, therapy was a turning point. It helped me understand how my past experiences shaped my need to please and taught me strategies to prioritize my own needs.

Counselors can offer tools and techniques for building self-esteem and assertiveness, key skills for anyone trying to break free from people-pleasing patterns. They also offer an outside perspective, which can be invaluable in recognizing and changing deep-seated habits. The journey of overcoming people-pleasing isn’t always straightforward, but with the guidance of a therapist, it becomes a more manageable and enlightening process.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I had the opportunity to start a movement, it would be centered around cultivating a “Legacy of Hope.” This movement would focus on empowering individuals to recognize and harness their inner strength and potential. It’s about educating and inspiring people to tap into the best version of themselves to embrace life’s journey with optimism and resilience.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Readers interested in following my work can visit my personal website at www.janahort.com. Additionally, for more insights and resources, feel free to explore www.bestholisticlifemagazine.com. Both platforms offer a wealth of information and inspiration for those on their journey to personal growth and wellness.

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

Jana Short of Best Holistic Life Magazine On How to Recover From Being a People Pleaser was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.