Working to Please the Pleasable

I love to please people!

Seth Godin here talks about discernment for those of us who enjoy pleasing… and sometimes run into people who cannot be pleased:

There are bosses, customers and partners who will never be happy.

And sometimes, despite the futility, we work to please them anyway.

Because that can be a compass. It can help us do the work that will satisfy others (or ourselves).

It can also be a trap, an endless treadmill of disappointment that leads nowhere in particular.

We should be clear about which one we’re on. Because working to please the pleasable is a lot more likely to pay off.

I’d say one of the Real Skills I’ve cultivated is being easier to please. Emotional practices like Gratitude and Appreciation and Simple Uplifts help with our ability to allow ourselves to be pleased by Nature, our co-creators, and life.

Recognizing another person’s capacity to be “pleased” I feel is honest discernment. I’m thinking of one of our circle member’s employers who simple isn’t easy to please. It may not even be possible to please him!

As Seth points out, we can still seek to “please” because that can point us in the direction of acts of service and intentions that can be pleasing to ourselves (and to others who are more of a pleasing match!).

And it can be a trap. I was fortunate that my Mom could be pleased at times… or at least given a bit of relief… by the attention I might give to domestic chores and acts of kindness. The trap for me, as a child, was that if Mom was feeling worried and strained, I might flail around trying and trying to please her… when she really was not in a state of being where that was… possible… or at least unlikely.

I’m feeling the truth that there are moments when I really am in a state where I could NOT be easily pleased. That’s on me.

I’m also feeling the truth that the most easily pleased people I love are also sometimes in a state where they cannot be easily pleased! That’s not on me. And indeed, allowing for a little less action to try and please them in those moments might keep more of my energy in reserve, for moments when Pleasing Is Possible.

How have you seen this play out in your life?


As an older woman who was taught that “little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice”, I learned to please, please, please. In some cases the more I pleased the more they wanted, which were the unpleaseable. It’s been quite an awakening to realize it isn’t my job to try and make everyone happy. My primitive brain does not like those “looks” I’ve gotten when I said no.

Pleasing just to please feels better. I still have to tap on the balance and of course learning that it’s ok to please myself too.


I needed to learn that if it wasn’t actually pleasing to me, even if pleasing to others, it would deplete the we-space over time. And me.

Thanks for sharing that, @Angelsloveyou!


Yes! That’s helpful to me. I find that my people-pleasing is often rooted in fear of repercussion. I’m working on strengthening my boundaries and being okay with other’s displeasure. I can still be loving and supportive, but I need to be loving and supportive of myself and identify my needs better - more clarity - or like you said, it spills into the we-space regardless.


Your words remind me that yes, identifying my needs is a crucial part of this.

My sense is that there is a “grounded place” where what we stand for, what matters to us… when we’re being that – even if imperfectly – someone else displeasure is to give THEM clarity, perhaps?

That doesn’t read as clearly as I feel that. For example, if I was being thoughtful, best I could in the moment, and someone starts blaming me… that really is for them to look at. Maybe they don’t really WANT a thoughtful person around?

“I was being as thoughtful and considerate as I could at the time considering my own state of being, needs, and information I had about the other person’s needs.”

How do we want to be in relation to someone who is grumpy and even blame-y in the face of that personal truth?



For my emotional freedom, I really want to find better techniques to deal with a close loved one’s blame. I am aware that I give my close loved one’s opinions about me or a given situation a ton of weight. Maybe that’s a problem, but I listen to those closest to me for feedback more than the general public, etc. And sometimes this trips my own sense of self and my self-trust. I energetically take on blame easily because I already have my own thought patterns/beliefs/judgments about myself (that I am working on). I think - maybe my loved ones see something I don’t about me. Maybe I need to look at something. I recall in therapy learning to listen to other’s feedback, including blame, and then assessing it to see if it matches my truth, if there is something there for me to look at, and then discarding it if it isn’t true for me. I want a stronger sense of self love and acceptance so I can do this. I want to balance being open to feedback, parsing out what’s mine (including blame), and protecting myself from taking on what’s not mine. UGH.


Don’t we ALL?

To me right now, blame is a particularly packaging.

Let’s say I have a request, something that if you could do – more often or nearly always – would be easier on my nervous system and better for my well-being.

If I wrap that in BLAME, it is like wrapping an apple in shit.

We do NOT have to eat an apple given to us by a loved one if it is wrapped in shit. We do not. Even if it contains the seeds for something beautiful.

As you noted, you’re aware (!) of areas where you’re wanting more savvy, more grace, more resilience. I do not believe it helps us be nourished and grow if we eat blame shit.

I believe that it also is not actually helpful to encourage our loved ones to “get us to change” by blaming us. Blame is low vibration, it is not taking responsibility for our own resilience (or lack of same), or our own needs.

For example, I have a need (sometimes a “requirement”) for less noise. If I blame the noise maker for making noise, what am I doing?

I am deluding myself that it’s their fault that they are enjoying life with exuberance more than I can handle right now. Instead of me staying “on my side of the net” I’d be dumping on them. That would teach my loved one that it isn’t okay for them to be exuberant and loudly enjoy life.

Still, what about my need for quieter space?

“With what’s going on in my head right now, I really need a quieter space. Would you be willing and able to quiet down, or do I need to find another quieter space?”

It’s true I don’t always say that. I might make a hand gesture to indicate that I need a lower volume of enthusiasm. Inside myself, though, I feel the EMPOWERMENT in recognizing that it’s MY need I’m asking to be honored, and if someone isn’t or can’t, are they really to BLAME for my needs not being met?

Susan Campbell I believe teaches that this is “staying on your side of the net.” You speak to your needs, make requests, understanding that another person is not obligated to meet your needs. (Is that how you’d describe her teaching, @Cathy?)

It’s freeing, at least I experience it that way. There’s an “out” for me as someone whose blamed… it keeps me focused on my needs and requests (not demands) that would better meet those needs. It helps me work WITH people I love who share my We-Space… rather than using blame or resentment to try and activate a guilt-shame driven power OVER them.

For me as someone who has felt blamed (even sometimes when I am not actually being blamed :wink:), this makes it clear that if it is important, then the information can come to me as an apple without the shit. Perhaps one with Heart.


Love to you @Dru! Thanks for engaging with us here!


Such a powerful image (apple wrapped in poop). Thank you, @Rick! I’m going to give this some thought! :poop: :poop: :poop: :poop: :apple: :apple: :apple: :apple: