Is there a difference between pleasing and serving? Absolutely! I know from experience. The difference is enormous. Almost like life and death. Health and sickness, depletion and abundance. I was, like so many of us, raised to be a pleaser.
I believed that my value was measured by my performance, by how well I was liked and accepted by others. I was shy of any conflict, and lived in fear of not being good enough.
I was literally pleasing everyone in my life, to feel loved and valued. I was not aware of my patterns, until long after my health left me, and my life was turned upside down by pain and despair.
I thought I was being kind and helpful, and that setting myself aside at all cost, made me worthy of love.
I was a pleaser, while I thought I was serving, contributing.
The reason we get this all mixed up is because we are pleasers by nature. It is natural to want to be helpful and pleasing. It is natural to want to serve unconditionally. This whole topic has come forth as a symptom of our imbalanced lives and emotional patterns. We are lost and thrown off balance by our lives and our fears.
Our insecurities love to wallow in the realm of pleasing. We almost put ourselves out as martyrs to feel the full benefit of giving. We practice people pleasing, which is something we do to get our own need met. It comes from wanting validation and feeling worthy.
People-pleasing is something different. It comes from the ego, from wanting something in return, from insecurity.
How can you tell the difference, and how do you stop pleasing for validation and rewards?
1. We please others for validation and for approval. Pleasing can also be used as a means of controlling another person. It is a reflection of not feeling complete and whole. There is the constant longing to be seen and appreciated. As children, we tend to please our parents as a mean to be seen and to get praise. The constant search for the outside reason to feel good about ourselves has started. With a lie, it has started this crazy race that one can never win. The longer you are in it, the less validated you will feel. The original intent, bites us in our beautiful behind, over and over again.
Serving comes from looking at the bigger picture. We serve from the heart. Helping someone is natural. Being there for someone, a community or a cause, will lift and empower you. Being able to bring forth joy and inspiration is empowering and giving. You will never expect anything in return, and it will come from free will and excitement.
Tip: Look at how you please others, and why you need their approval. You are good enough, you are worthy and you are loved.
2. Pleasing takes from your soul. The battle that goes on inside when a people pleaser gives and gives, leaves a hole of un-fulfillment. We end up disappointed, as there have been expectations attached to the giving and pleasing. Even when they are tired or have to cancel their own tasks, they will show up to help. Resentfully so. Never happy about the service, feeling more and more used, and left with an even bigger hole inside that needs to be filled.
Service is offered in joy. Always willingly and from the heart. These people know how to take care of themselves, and that they cannot be of much service if they don’t love themselves first. They also know that they can`t help everybody, all the time. Being of service is listening to the soul’s purpose and living in gratitude and appreciation. It is an honor to be able to serve.
Tip: Whenever you give without wanting to, from your heart, stop, step back and look at the situation. If giving makes you feel less happy, unworthy or resentful, stop.
3. When you please, you pay a price. It comes with a cost, to lose yourself and your boundaries. It often cultivates the victim mentality. You are sorry for yourself for having to always do everything for others, and it builds up resentment and anger. It could also leave you feeling superior, if that is what you need. You are now better than the rest, for putting everybody else`s needs before your own. You are the hero, the martyr even. It eats at your soul, your spirit and your sense of freedom. The cost is a loss of empowerment. A high price to pay to try to please your way out of your own misery. Heaven forbids you say no. How could you? They would look at you as a terrible person. You would be nothing.
When you serve, you gain. From a sense of connection and spiritual awareness, as a server you feel much obliged and honored to be of service. The joy of being able to give is enough, it is fulfillment in itself. It is chosen and it is done in harmony with your identity. When you serve, you nurture strong relationships and boundaries and are able to act compassionately.
Tip: If you feel you are compromising your own time, value or integrity, you are not serving. If it is draining you, it is time to evaluate your agenda.
4. As a pleaser, you withdraw from your life. By turning your back on your own needs, you are isolating yourself from the world around you. You will suppress anything that doesn`t please everybody else. How authentic is that? Now no one sees the real you, not even you. From years of being a people pleaser, I know first-hand how disconnected from our own needs we can get. Now we feel unseen and like nobody really knows who we are, and they don´t.
As a server, you connect: Not only to those around you, but to all that is. By being one who listens to yourself and creation, you will feel even more connected by carrying out the divine plan of being in service. As you act from authentic feelings you will draw like-minded people towards. More situations that are real and true will show up at your doorstep.
Tip: If your behavior is keeping you from being authentic, you are not living your full potential. When your life doesn’t meet your own needs, you will suffer. And when YOU suffer, your loved ones suffer. Be authentic, and show up with all of you. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
“True giving is receiving. If you cannot see that, you are not truly giving.” – Hilde Larsen
Whenever you expect a return on your giving, like an investment, you are off base. Nothing could be farther from the energy of true service. It has no expectations at all. The gift is the pleasure of being able to contribute. The joy in that itself is what fills the heart. When you look at giving as a favor that has to give you something back, you operate from a sense of scarcity, like you will run out of favors to give, or helping hands to offer.
Who said that? Believe me, there is always enough, and you will never run out. Your self-worth is not at stake, and you will not get burned out if you take care of yourself.
Whenever you feel obligated to do something, and you mask up with your perfect smile to seem to help and sacrificing, stop it! Being a pleaser is not serving YOU! And by not serving YOU, you are not honoring your potential.
A gift of true service, is something that always spreads and keeps giving. The ripple effect is enormous. An act of true kindness will spread like wildfire. The size in value is unseen to the giver. The receiver, by forwarding the empowerment given, is participating in the growth of your gift. A true blessing
Read more in my latest book No more BULLSHIT. Claim your free chapter HERE!