Practice Speaking your Truth. Learning to voice your opinion and standing your ground for what you believe in will go a long way toward creating a strong sense of self. The more you let your true thoughts and beliefs be heard, the more you will attract those who are right for you and who will support who you are and how you want to live your life.
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 Patty Oliver.
Patty is a transformational energy healer and spiritual advisor. For the past 14 years she has helped clients around the world align to their soul blueprint and manifest abundance by clearing karma in their Akashic Record and teaching them to balance their chakras and manage their energy field. She has created several online courses on energy healing and Akashic Records, and offers private soul coaching.
Patty is a featured columnist in several publications writing about energy healing, Akashic Records, and soul empowerment. She has contributed to a multi-author book titled “Intuitive: Speaking her Truth” which is available on Amazon, and has recently released “Akashic Truth Oracle,” an oracle card deck connecting you to the wisdom of your Akashic Record. You can connect with her on her website at http://www.pattyoliver.com.
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?
I grew up in a small suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, not far from Lake Erie. It was an idyllic childhood. I had lots of friends that lived on my street, and we spent our summers riding bikes, swimming at the local pool, and camping out in each other’s back yards. We were never indoors! My mom had a bell that she would ring when she wanted me and my brother home for dinner. She cooked every night and we always gathered around the table for dinner as a family. It stayed that way until I was around age 11 and my parents divorced. It was then that everything changed, and I think it contributed to my own people-pleasing tendencies. I honestly just wanted everyone together and happy again!
Can you tell us a bit about what you do professionally, and what brought you to this specific career path?
I’ve spent the last 14 years as an energy healer specializing in something called the Akashic Records. It’s the record of the soul, and can be accessed intuitively for healing, transformation and manifesting. But the funny thing is, I never set out to do this kind of work! Rather, it “found me” when I was ready, which is how I believe everything comes into being: when we choose to empower ourselves to live our highest potential, we attract the right opportunities into our space.
Prior to that, I had spent a decade in the advertising industry and, while I was successful, it wasn’t something I was truly passionate about. I left that job to have children and raise a family, and suddenly found myself diagnosed with breast cancer at age 41. I instinctively knew it was a wake-up call for me. Up to that point, the 11-year-old version of myself spent years trying to recreate that idyllic childhood happiness, which led to an endless cycle of disappointment. I knew that I had to stop searching for that elusive childhood happiness and start creating it for myself right then and there. I chose to consciously drop the people-pleasing and started putting myself first, including going back to school to open a skincare spa. It was then that I was introduced to energy healing, which I immediately added to my offerings, and it just expanded from there.
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, people pleasing means doing anything it takes to keep the peace in a relationship, ensuring that everyone else is happy and their needs are met. In the eyes of the one doing the people-pleasing, which is when everything is seemingly calm and peaceful.
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?
I think we all naturally want to please others. We like the positive feedback we get from that person when they are happy, and we feel good about ourselves when we’ve made someone happy. It’s when that desire to please others crosses into self-betrayal that the problems begin.
By self-betrayal, I mean any behavior you choose that is self-deprecating, such as thinking you’ve done something wrong if someone around you is unhappy, or if you feel it’s your job to make them feel better, or worse — that they will abandon you in some way if you don’t. Suddenly you will feel the need to put aside your personality, your authenticity, and your boundaries in order to help the other person be happy.
Once you put aside your true authentic self in hopes of receiving positive feedback that comes with making someone happy, you are compelled to repeat it. When that happens, you will continue the mistake of never speaking your true thoughts and opinions and putting yourself last, which can lead to unfulfilling or abusive relationships, poor health, and a host of other negative consequences.
Does being a people pleaser give you certain advantages? Can you explain?
I believe there are no real advantages to being a people-pleaser, only perceived advantages that will create unhappiness and lack of abundance in the long run. By this I mean that being a people-pleaser may give you the initial perception that someone likes you, or that no conflict exists in the relationship, which could be false. You are only giving your power away to that person and they never get to know the real you, both of which will only yield more negative results.
Can you describe a moment in your life when you realized that your own people-pleasing behavior was more harmful than helpful?
When I continued to attract partners who only wanted control over me in negative ways, I knew deep down that it was happening because of my constant need to please. Who else could I attract if I was always putting out the message that I was a doormat? When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I knew I had to stop immediately or risk living a very unhappy and unfulfilling life.
In your opinion, what are the common root causes of people-pleasing behavior?
- Learned Behavior — when we are young, we pick up so many of our beliefs and tendencies from our parents, siblings, and other adults. We watch their interactions and copy their behavior. If you grew up watching one parent dote on the other with negative consequences, you simply believe that it is “normal,” so you continue the pattern.
- Family Conditioning — If you grew up with conflict or abuse, you might have developed ways to keep the peace in order to minimize the negativity, so you learned to repeat it as a survival mechanism.
- Low self-esteem — if you are someone who has a lot of limiting beliefs about yourself, you may tend toward people-pleasing as a way to make friends or receive approval from others, and you will then continue that pattern in your adult relationships.
- Fear of Rejection or Abandonment — The fear of being rejected or abandoned can create people-pleasing behavior by avoiding conflicts and disagreements and focusing on keeping the peace.
How does people-pleasing behavior impact personal relationships?
If you never express your true thoughts and opinions in an attempt to be liked or accepted, no one gets to know the real you. This only leads to more unhappiness the feeling that no one understands you, and an endless search to “find your tribe.” You also risk attracting friends and partners who take advantage of you.
How does people-pleasing behavior impact professional relationships?
If you never voice your opinion or take a personal stance on something, you risk never standing out and being seen or heard. This can severely affect your professional life and hold you back from getting better positions, more responsibilities and earning a higher income.
How can long-term people-pleasing behavior impact an individual’s mental health?
Our thoughts are the one thing we are in complete control of! No one else can get into our head and think our thoughts for us. We can change our thoughts at any time, but the more disempowered we feel, the more difficult it becomes to believe we are worthy and deserving of happiness and abundance. People-pleasing creates a false reality that we must stay silent, play small and let others shine and be happy, which is completely untrue and greatly impacts our mental health.
In your experience, what is the role of self-awareness in overcoming people-pleasing tendencies, and how can individuals cultivate it?
Self-awareness is so important to overcoming any negative pattern because it forces you to look at why you are doing something. So much of what we do and say is from our subconscious and unconscious minds. In order to change something, you must first recognize that it needs changing. Then you need to empower yourself to change it, which requires that you get to the root cause of the problem. Developing self-awareness is the key to doing that and can be done through any form of self-reflection such as journaling, mindfulness, meditation and learning to express yourself authentically.
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”?
1 . Learn to access your Akashic Record, which is the record of your soul and can be accessed intuitively. I teach you how in my online course, “Live a Soul-Powered Life!” Your Akashic Records holds your soul-level information such as your soul gifts, your chosen life experiences, and your karma. Karma is the energy of choices you’ve made in past lives that did not align to your soul growth and is in need of being balanced out through new empowered action. People-pleasing is a very common karmic pattern that can have so many different root causes! By learning to access your Akashic Record, you can receive objective spiritual insight as to why you first chose a people-pleasing behavior, and how you can clear it once and for all. It removes all the guesswork and takes you immediately to the root cause.
2 . Learn other energy healing techniques such as meditation and chakra balancing. Once you calm the nervous system and release chronic negative thoughts, you can begin to see solutions to problems and the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. We are completely in charge of our energy and how we use it, so learning to bring calm and balance to body and mind is so important to breaking the cycle of people-pleasing and developing self-empowerment.
3 . Shift from external to internal validation. People-pleasing immediately invalidates your own inner authority and self-worth. When you start to see your own value and worth, you will naturally want to do less people-pleasing. You do this by shifting your need for external validation and approval, to that of your own. Give yourself permission to spend time doing things you love, and discovering what brings you joy. Recite positive affirmations daily to reprogram your subconscious mind. You don’t need the approval of anyone but yourself!
4 . Creating Healthy Boundaries. Recognize that you deserve to be treated with respect and surround yourself with only those who will support and encourage your growth and happiness. Say no to those who do not honor your boundaries. Create mutual give and take in your relationships to create balance; you shouldn’t be doing all the giving without receiving in return!
5 . Practice Speaking your Truth. Learning to voice your opinion and standing your ground for what you believe in will go a long way toward creating a strong sense of self. The more you let your true thoughts and beliefs be heard, the more you will attract those who are right for you and who will support who you are and how you want to live your life.
What steps should people pleasers take to establish healthier boundaries?
Determine how you want to be treated, and what you consider to be acceptable or unacceptable in your relationships. Be sure to communicate this to those who are important in your life and stand by your decision with firm responses. Practice saying “no” without feeling guilty and remind yourself that boundaries are healthy and help you decide how you want to use your energy for your highest good.
How can someone who is naturally empathetic maintain their compassion while becoming more assertive?
I think the goal is twofold: learning to assert yourself while also creating understanding and collaboration. There are many ways to do this, but I think some top ways would be:
- Be a good listener. Make eye contact and show genuine interest while also expressing empathy and understanding.
- Acknowledge the feelings of the other person so they feel heard.
- Express yourself clearly and respectfully when responding to the other person.
- Offer solutions and compromise to create a win-win situation so both parties feel good about the result.
- Be open to receiving feedback and maintain a positive attitude.
What are the most common misconceptions about people pleasers, and how do these misconceptions affect their journey toward recovery?
There are so many reasons why someone might resort to people-pleasing, which is why it might be easy to come to negative conclusions and assumptions! Here are what I believe to be some common misconceptions about them:
- They are weak and need attention.
- They lack confidence and self-respect.
- They are always happy.
- They can be manipulative.
It can slow their journey to recovery if they remain unaware of why they are choosing their people-pleasing behaviors, and if they never create strong boundaries. Understanding their true motives and expressing that along the way will help support their recovery.
What role can therapy or counseling play in helping individuals overcome people-pleasing behavior?
Getting to the root cause of the behavior is key. This is where the strength of the Akashic Records comes in because it allows the person to objectively understand why they made the initial choice to people-please. Then, when combined with therapy or counseling, it can accelerate the healing process because the root cause has already been uncovered.
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. 🙂
I would love to start a movement where people recognized their own power and ability to heal themselves and live an abundant life, rather than looking to their outer world for the cause of their problems and stay in victim mode. Spiritual work such as Akashic Records is ideal for this because each of our journeys is so individual. When we heal ourselves of our negative patterns, we can have more meaningful relationships, spread positive vibrations out to the collective, and attract abundance much faster.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
I can be found on the web at http://www.pattyoliver.com. I’m also on social media:
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!
Thank you so much, it’s been an honor!
Patty Oliver of Body-Mind-Spirit Healing Arts 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.