Perfectionism and People Pleasing
What you want to do better, you know, eating better, exercising, more, figuring out your relationship, finally signing up for that class, improving something, right. There’s so much more to do so much to fix. And for many of us, we haven’t even stepped out the. And on top of that, so many people will tell me on top of everything that they’re trying to do and trying to accomplish, there’s all the needs that they’re trying to meet.
Right? Your partner’s needs, your children’s needs, your boss’s needs, your friends’ needs, trying to make sure that everyone around you has what they need to be happy while you, while you, what, what you need takes a back. I know a lot of you out there can relate to this. And this has a lot to do with today’s topic, because today we’re talking about perfectionism and people pleasing.
Which I’ll tell you I more and more see articles about these two mentalities and actually they’re coping mechanisms. And, but we’ll get to that a little bit later. I see articles and blogs and experts talking about perfectionism and people pleasing, perfectionism. Perfectionism being that do perfect. Be perfect mentality.
Never to let yourself make a mistake, never cut yourself, slack, right. And people pleasing that idea that you need to make sure that everyone is happy everyone’s needs are met often at the expense of your own happiness and your own needs. So not a week goes by without seeing a new article, talking about how these two mentalities really hold people back.
And if you pay attention to this at all, you’ll see that a lot of experts talk about these two mentalities as potential reasons. Why women in particular hold themselves back, why they hesitate to apply for the job? That seems like a stretch or they fail to negotiate higher salaries, or they keep quiet when they have something to say, it’s not just that they it’s not just that they infect the workplace, but that they infect our personal lives as.
But here’s the thing I wanna talk about something a little bit different. I wanna talk about how perfectionism and people pleasing are connected. To overeating and they are because I believe, and I have seen in myself and in the many people that I work with, how we find things in our life to hide from our perfectionism and our people policing, right.
To cover up the underlying emotion that are driving these two mentalities. I think it’s really both interesting and important to explore this in terms of eating. Now, if you’re listening and you’re thinking. Okay, that doesn’t apply to me. I’m not dealing with perfectionism or people pleasing. I want you to hang on.
I want you to keep listening because I have not encountered a single person who does not use something in their life to hide from uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. All of us, no matter what it is, have developed, what I kind of think of as an unconscious toolbox, right? It’s this toolbox that we have unconsciously developed to try to cope and distract and cover up from the things that we don’t like to feel.
And if you’re not sure of what. That unconscious toolbox is for you. All you have to do is ask yourself, how do you take the edge off? How do you muffle your inner critic? How do you distract yourself from the thoughts that tell you you’re not good enough. You’re not smart enough. You haven’t accomplished enough in life.
For many people, perfectionism and people pleasing become part of that unconscious toolbox. They become part of the ways that we try to deal with those feelings, deal with the need to take the edge off deal with the need to muffle our inner critic or distract ourselves from the thoughts that frankly are pretty painful.
So the question is how then does eating fit into. Eating fits into this because perfectionism and people pleasing, they are coping mechanisms, but they are rooted in the same emotion. They are rooted in the emotion of insecurity, not feeling confident, feeling deficient about something. And when you feel that way, when you feel insecure, when you feel deficient, one thing that often can happen is you start to tell.
Well, I need to try to be perfect. I need to try to compensate for everything that’s wrong with me, or I need to try to make sure that everybody is happy and everybody likes me and gets along with me. And I don’t disappoint anyone. We think that if we can master these two things, that that, that will be what helps us feel less insecure.
Now it’s an impossible task and you know, this. It’s impossible to do everything perfectly. It is impossible to make sure that everyone in your life is happy and their needs are met. And they’re never upset with you. But even though it’s not possible, we still run around in this frenzied state trying to do it, trying to be perfect, trying not to make mistakes, trying never to fail, trying to make sure that everyone is happy and no one is ever disappointed in.
I will tell you that it is exhausting. It doesn’t work and it wears you out. So you start with that feeling of insecurity. You start with that feeling of not measuring up. You unconsciously start trying to compensate and deal with it through perfectionism, through people pleasing. It’s an impossible task.
It’s impossible to do. You run around crazy. You exhaust yourself, and then what happens. Now you feel even worse, you have that sense of at the end of the day, just needing a break from your life. Like you cannot deal with another, with anything because you are so frazzled, you are so frazzled trying to hold up all the things in your life that you’re trying to do perfectly and everyone’s needs, except for.
So now here comes that quick and easy fix. And I talk about this all the time. Food is such a quick and easy fix to feel differently. And for so many people, when it comes to the exhaustion that they feel at the end of the day, eating ice cream from the container and ordering a pizza, not only seems like a really easy way to feel a little bit better, but here’s the thing.
This piece is so important for many people. When they do that, it feels like you are putting your needs. Finally, first, this always blows my mind. It really does because we have it backwards. We feel like we are putting our needs first because we’re finally saying, no, I need a break time out. I’m gonna take the edge off.
I need to escape a little. This is for me. But the crazy thing is that what you’re doing is just covering up how you actually feel and how you are you’re actually feeling is usually exhausted from trying to cover up the original feeling of insecurity. And guess what? This cycle does not look good, and it does not result in anything good.
You’re starting off with a negative emotion that you’re trying to get out of through perfectionism and people pleasing. And you exhaust yourself doing that because frankly, both of those things are impossible. So you exhaust yourself and you turn to something outside of yourself to try to feel better.
You turn to something like pizza and ice cream that can quickly change how you feel. But here’s the thing. It does not resolve the root issue. It does not magically make your exhaustion or your insecurity go away. Then you start this cycle where you’re, where you start making this a habit and looking forward to it.
Right? You train your brain unknowingly. Well, you’re exhausted. You’re trying to juggle all these balls. You can’t keep everything in the air, but at least you’ll get a break. At least you’ll get a reward at the end of the. So then your brain starts to anticipate that you’re going to reward yourself, but now here’s what happens with that reward for most people, when it becomes their go-to solution to try to make themselves feel better.
What will happen is that they’ll start feeling worse. You might feel better in that moment when you have that first bite or when you finish that first slice. But for a lot of people, they find that they physically start not feeling great. Maybe they’re not feeling great later on in the evening, maybe during the night when they find that their sleep is disturbed, maybe when they wake up the next day and they feel so tired and exhausted, but they’re already feeling exhausted the night before.
And now on top of that, they’re emotionally not feeling great because they’re saying, why did I do this? I shouldn’t have had so much to eat last night. Why do I keep doing this? Why is this habit so hard to break? So you start to have an emotional toll as well. Many people will find that there are all sorts of repercussions when they start eating more than they want in the evening.
Maybe their mindless eating turns into mindless drinking. Maybe they notice that they’re quick to get in a fight with their partner because of the things that they really want to say in their relationship that they feel they’re holding in all the time, seem to bubble up once they’ve had two or three glasses to.
Maybe you’re feeling less productive. So many people that I work with tell me that they have such limited time. They’re stretched really thin. They have busy jobs. They have families and very little time for themselves at the end of the day. And there are things that they actually wanna work on things that they are actually interested and they wanna pursue, but they find themselves not pursuing these things.
They find themselves just plopping down on the couch and mindlessly shoving food in their mouth. That, and that’s their evening. Now again, not every person who struggles with perfectionism and people pleasing turns to eating, but we all have our distractions of choice. There are a lot of people that are over drinking for others.
It’s overworking, right? The idea that you make yourself so busy, and I know a lot of you out there can relate to this. You’re so busy that you don’t have a moment to really look and see what’s going on in your mind or how you’re. Those are two of the most common that I see. And what will happen is that when we decide that we wanna change our eating, when we decide, okay, I don’t like how I’m feeling.
I don’t like the repercussions that I’m getting. The focus tends to be. Just on changing the habit. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, but here’s the thing. If you only focus on changing the habit, if you only focus on saying, all right, I’m not going to mindlessly eat anymore in the evenings, or I’m never gonna have more than one serving.
If you only focus on that, you’re going to be missing something really important. You’re going to be missing. What made you feel like you needed to take the edge off in the first. What made you feel like you just needed to muffle? What was going on in your head? What made you feel like you just needed a break from the thoughts that you were having?
You have to go to that. You have to look at what is fueling the perfectionism and the people pleasing. You have to look at that initial feeling that is fueling it, which for so many people is insecurity. and understand that anything that you are ever feeling, any emotion is always created by your thoughts it’s created by thoughts of I’m not good enough.
I’m not smart enough. I’m not pretty enough. I’m not accomplished enough. So I just need to fix everything about me. I just need to do everything perfectly or thoughts, like, like, you know, thoughts. Like they don’t like me. I need to keep people happy. I can’t let anyone down. It’s my responsibility to meet everyone’s needs thoughts like this, that just fuel people pleasing and it’s too much.
It is the weight of so much pressure that people say I can’t do it. I just need a way to forget about how I feel for a while. I just need a break enter. Ice cream, right? The truth is, and this is the thing that I will tell that I tell all the people that I work with. It really, it is really difficult to truly make any progress on these areas without consciously understanding how you moderate your own self criticism and how you cope with the thoughts that make you feel like you aren’t good enough.
And like everyone else’s responsive needs. Needs are your responsibility. In my case, I needed to stop looking for a distraction for the way I felt inside and the way that I seem to feel every evening at the bottom of a pint of ice cream and figure out new ways to deal with the thoughts that were fueling my perfectionism and fueling my people pleasing.
Otherwise I was always going to be running from them. So what does this mean for your eating. Look, if you are grabbing yourself something to eat, it does not mean that you are always doing it as a result of perfectionism or people pleasing. It does not mean that. And that’s not what I’m suggesting, but what I am suggesting is that when you do, if this is a habit that you wanna change, you have to get really, really good at asking yourself why, why am I grabbing myself a snack right now?
What do I feel like? I need a break. What do I feel like I need to take the edge off of, and if your answer is that you need a break from the relentless pressure of doing everything right, and trying to keep everyone happy, then that’s where you need to focus. And focusing there is going to make all the difference, because I will tell you this, you can stop overeating.
You can, and this is what will happen with so many people. They will stop overeating. They can stop overeating. It’s not hard for them to stop, but then they stop and they don’t understand when they don’t feel better. They feel better physically, but they don’t understand why the desire to eat is so strong.
And a lot of times that reason is because they have not found other ways to deal with the discomfort that they feel at the end of the day, from trying to cope with these negative thoughts. If you don’t have ways to change these thoughts, if you don’t have ways to change, how you’re thinking is generating your insecurity and ultimately fueling the perfectionism of people pleasing that wears you out and exhaust you, you will say, stay stuck in this cycle and it may not be through eating.
You may turn to other coping mechanisms to deal with how you feel. You might start overeating. You might stop overeating and start over drinking. You might stop overeating and start working around the clock. You might stop overeating and start spending a lot of money, whatever it is, because if you don’t understand that your thoughts create your feelings or how your thoughts and your feelings are fueling these twin problems of perfectionism and people pleasing and how it’s exhausting you, then you will keep trying to find things outside of yourself to feel better.
This is the awareness that you need to bring to this issue if you wanna make sustained long lasting change. And this is why I think it is so important to understand how things like perfectionism and people pleasing are connected to our eating. How these things actually fuel our overeating because when we feel like we are running around crazed, when we are waking up in the morning and already having thoughts of how we’re behind before we even get outta bed, this is what we need to pay attention to.
This is the real work and it makes all the difference. So that’s it for this week. I would really love to hear what you think, especially on this topic, because I know so many of you out there already know that you’re dealing with perfectionism and people pleasing, and you may not have made that connection before of how it connects potentially to your eating.
If you wanna reach out to me, if you have ideas for lessons, if you have questions that you would like me to answer, you can always message me. Need help getting back on track? Let’s talk about it in our coaching call! Schedule with me HERE.