You have responsibilities, people counting on you, expectations to meet, a schedule to stick to, a to do list to tick off, goals to hit… no wonder it can feel like you don’t have any control over your own life. But perhaps you have more choices than you think…
In this episode I share:
Pressing Pause Episode 116 What choice do you have?
Welcome to Pressing Pause, I’m your host, Gabrielle Treanor, a coach, writer, introvert and sensitive soul with an inclination to ponder over the stuff of life. Join me as I explore how we can create, find and feel more calm, ease and joy in our daily lives.
I have news to share before we get in to today’s episode! From all the conversations I have I know how much you don’t want to let anyone down. How much you don’t want someone to be disappointed in you. You don’t want them to struggle or hurt.
You want to make things better for them. You want to smooth things over, avoid conflict and keep the peace. You want to be well thought of and liked, to be seen as helpful, kind, generous, a good person.
You want to make people happy, and what’s wrong with that?
Well… in theory not a lot, BUT when it uses so much of your energy, your time, and your resources, when it sucks up your calm, your peace and your joy so that you’re left exhausted, overwhelmed and resentful – there IS something wrong with that.
Many of us know when we’re people-pleasing – you don’t like how it feels or the impact it has – but that doesn’t mean you know how to not do it. You want to but you don’t know how to break the people-pleasing habit – until now.
Because this is exactly what we’re going to do in the 5-day Break the People-pleasing Habit mini course! And you can take it completely for free.
As well as exploring where this people-pleasing desire comes from I’ll also be sharing real, practical ways you can break the people-pleasing habit while still being the kind and caring person you are.
So, to find out more and join the FREE 5-day Break the People-pleasing Habit mini course go to gabrielletreanor.com/please. I’ll put the link in the show notes too. I hope you can join me!
Okay then, on with the episode!
Welcome to episode 116. How much choice do you think you have in your life? Sometimes it can feel like we have very little choice over what we do and how we live. We can feel like most of what happens is out of our control and we don’t have a say in our own lives. And to an extent it’s true, there is a lot that’s out of our control. For a start the circumstances and privilege we’re born into is outside of our control. How other people behave, the way they speak to and treat us, is not within our control.
Things happen in life, every day in fact, that we don’t expect, that perhaps we don’t want to happen and we can’t prevent them. We have responsibilities, there are people counting on us and we can’t just ditch everything and make it all about us.
So, that makes it sound like we really do have very little choice in our lives. When you focus on all the things in your life that you have to do, all the people you have to please or take care of, all the expectations you have to live up to, the schedule you have to stick to, the to do list you have to tick off, the goals you have to reach… it’s going to make you feel pretty powerless and overwhelmed.
This comes up a lot in the conversations I have with coaching clients. At first they feel like they’re backed into a corner with little say in their own life. And then we start to look for what they do have control over in their day. At first they may be able to spot where they have some say in their life but quickly bring up what they’ve got to or they have to or they’re expected to do. Sometimes they’re so used to doing something a certain way that they forget that at some point in the past they made the choice to do it that way, and so they can make the choice to do it differently if they want to. Or they take a suggestion or a request from another person as a demand, which they feel they must meet.
Things happen in life that we don’t like and we don’t want, there is no way in a million years that we would ever choose it and yet it’s happening because we may have zero power over it. But, we still have choices. We aren’t completely and utterly devoid of power. It may not feel like that, it may feel like life is happening to us and we have to go along with it but we do still, in fact, have a choice.
I’m not saying that you choose to deny it’s happening, turn your back and walk away, although that would be your choice to make. I’m not suggesting that you tell yourself you’re choosing to be okay with something awful or unfair and that makes everything rosy. It’s not about flicking a switch. It’s about looking at the reality, and after recognising what is out of your control then seeing what choices you do have and deciding what choice you can make to help yourself in that moment.
Choices don’t have to be great big decisions like leaving your partner, quitting your job or moving to another country. I’m talking about the micro choices you have each hour of every day as you go about your ordinary, unique, challenging life.
The choice could be to lock yourself in the toilet at work and take five minutes for yourself.
The choice could be to not have another glass of wine.
The choice could be to buy a cake for the school fair instead of baking it yourself.
The choice could be to say no, or to say yes.
The choice could be to stop or to start.
The choice could be to ask for help.
There is no perfect choice, there’s no right or wrong choice if it’s the one that you feel is the one you want to make in that moment.
Each one of us can make micro choices each day to help ourselves. They may not have the power to change the facts of our circumstances or how the people around us are behaving but they can have the power to change how we feel about what we’re dealing with. You may not be able to control what happens to you but you do have a say in how you respond to and deal with it.
Like I said that doesn’t mean that you tell yourself that you’ve decided you’re fine with the awfulness and so you’re magically fine. It means that you can choose how you respond, and that can change minute by minute if you choose to. Some choices you may need to keep making, over and over, if it feels tough but that’s the choice you ultimately want to make. Choices that need to be remade every week, every day, every hour even.
And these micro choices aren’t all or nothing. Many of the choices that we make in day to day life aren’t instantly set it stone, they can be changed if it turns out that you want to make a different choice in the future. Even the big choices can turn out differently and change along the way..
I often talk with my clients about seeing the actions we take from the choices we make as an experiment. Try doing that thing, give that idea a go and see how you get on. Try it out, see what happens and how it feels. Because you’ve made this choice you have the power to make a different one if you choose.
So where in your life can you make a micro choice where you may have previously felt powerless? How can you choose to respond? How can you choose to move forward?
Thank you for listening to Pressing Pause, you can find details of what I shared in this episode in the show notes at gabrielletreanor.com/podcast.
As I announced at the start of this episode I am running a mini course, completely for free, to help you break the people-pleasing habit which uses up so much of your energy, your time and your resources, which sucks up your calm, your peace and your joy so that you’re left exhausted, overwhelmed and resentful.
By the end of the free 5-day Break the People-pleasing Habit mini course you will be well on your way to breaking free from your people-pleasing habit. To find out more and join the free mini course go to gabrielletreanor.com/please.
If you have any questions or anything you want to share about the podcast you can always get in touch with me by emailing [email protected]
Thanks again for listening, until next time.
Throughout this website and my work when I refer to women I include people identifying as women.
If you have, or think you may have, a mental health problem that requires professional diagnosis or treatment, please consult a mental health care professional and your GP.
You can also talk to the people at Mind on 0300 123 3393 or SANE on 0300 304 7000 or Samaritans on 116 123.
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