Why People Pleasing Hurts and How To Drop The ‘Good Girl’ Act

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I pleased people since childhood, wearing my mask of smiles and niceness because when I let out the assertive honest me, people disappeared from my life. So as I enter my mid-life, I release the need to please people who cannot accept the ‘real me’, even if that means being alone.

You may know the story.

Young woman with opinions and a strong voice is rejected early on because she doesn’t fit into the norm of cultural conditioning and groups in society.

I was this young woman, on the outside looking in.

After over 18 years of self-discovery, I am finally beginning to realise that some of my patterns were not all about not owning my shit. Some of my patterns were self-protection, and the situations I feared happening were happening anyway.

I’ve always had this strong desire to belong. Being an outsider looking in I learned to manipulate the world around me through people-pleasing. Recognising that if I just acted or behaved the way other people were comfortable with, then they would let me into their group. It happened, but to the detriment of my authentic self. I buried who I really was to appease other people.

After 30+ years wearing a false face of ‘nice girl’ I realised that many of the friendships I have sought out were not really with people I wanted to have as friends anyway. I was seeking from a place of lack not personal power. I was needing instead of simply wanting.

Why People Pleasing Hurts

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People pleasing hurts because we wear somebody else’s ideas, opinions, beliefs and needs as a coat of armour. We miss out on true intimacy with others because we are not allowing ourselves to be intimate with who we really are.

We desire loyalty and connection, but we are not loyal or connected to ourselves.

We don’t have our own backs, we are not giving ourselves credit and we are saying yes too often when we mean no.

And may begin to say no, but then we apologise for standing up for our own beliefs and the right to have an opinion thus disempowering our no.

We meet people for the first time and gush all over them, complimenting them, smiling, pretending we are comfortable when we are not.

We don’t show people the truth of who we are, and when those same people react to our true face we feel hurt and pain as they do so.

We are frightened of disagreeing, freeing a loud NO from all our being

We are listening to other people, letting them be truly heard, but not hearing ourselves too.

We give others platform for their voice to be freed, but attract people who are unwilling to do the same for us.


And this voice is shoved down, satiated through food, addiction and blame of others.

We project blame onto the mean spirited people around us, but don’t own the fact we attracted one-sided friendships and relationships because we showed them exactly what we would accept from them. We rewarded their behaviour by not speaking up.

We are responsible, BUT we can change this too.

How To Drop The ‘Good Girl’ Act

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I have just started to drop my good girl act. And one of the most important things I am learning as I do so, is that you must, without a shadow of a doubt, be prepared to let everyone go.

You must be prepared to be alone, for however long it takes to let the real you out.


Because showing your rawness, your truth, your NO, your authenticity, will weed out a lot of people who are not part of your real soul tribe.

They may appear to be your soul tribe because they appear to be ‘friends’, but if you became friends during your ‘GOOD GIRL’ period, they were drawn to a false face.

Those true friends, the real ones, those powerful game-changer friends, are the ones that hear your voice come out, even after knowing only your GOOD GIRL for so long, and they are prepared to not only hear you, but to absorb and fully integrate this new friend they could still have.

They choose your fierceness.

They choose your powerful nature.

They choose to see that love is driving you now and it’s not always going to be pretty.

AND anyone else who cannot accept this will be burned away in the truth of your divine nature.

This Is Not A Road for The Faint of Heart

I was not ready for this some years ago. I thought I was. I thought I was okay about being alone and letting so called ‘friends’ go, but I wasn’t. It was a rebellious, ‘pissed off’, blaming, ‘not owning my shit’ me, that did that. I was not truly ready for true aloneness.

I was not ready to risk losing friends who were probably not my friends anyway, not those people who are meant to stand the test of time.

If you are ready, ask the following questions:

1. Can you see yourself disagreeing more, not out of a blaming or ‘making another wrong’ stance, but just simply asserting your right to an opinion without needing to apologise or sublimate that point of view?

2. Do you feel ready to either completely walk away from people you thought were friends but who cannot handle the real you, or accept others walking away from you and embrace being alone?

3. Are you prepared to get really intimate with who you are both emotionally and sexually, and to learn to release and free any trapped sexual energy that may have also been stuck due to your habit of pleasing partners too?

4. Are you willing to look inwardly to your inner child and see if you have had her back and if not, are you ready to totally support her, regardless of how others perceive your new voice being freed?

These are not easy questions to answer and need to be fully digested.

You may not be ready and this is okay too.

People Pleasing Feels Like Being Buried

People pleasing feels like you are being buried and because of this accessing your true nature may take time. You will need to peel back the excess layers of who you thought you were to release who you actually are. Begin to see yourself as a beautiful sculpture and you are the sculptor. Right now you may be this big lump of rock, nobody can see what is inside the rock, but it’s time to chip away at that rock and piece by piece, moment by moment start to reveal your real essence, your real self.

This isn’t going to be pretty in the beginning. You may speak out of turn to someone because you are not used to expressing without blame. You may not know how to introduce yourself to new potential friends because you don’t yet know who you are inside the rock.

But chip away you must, it’s essential and life-freeing.

The EGO May Tell You That You Are Pushing People Away

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I didn’t understand that my walking away from ‘friends’ could have been my true self walking away. I instead believed the voices telling me I had issues and my walking away and letting people go was telling me that there was something wrong with me.

This wasn’t true. I didn’t know the false me was meeting these people. I didn’t know they didn’t get a chance to know the real me, because once I had ingrained this false me into the friendship I didn’t know how to fully free her. I felt locked in the pleasing state and couldn’t see a way out.

So don’t believe the ego when it tells you that there is something wrong with you or that you are pushing people away. Instead turn inwards and tell your inner child, the wildness within ‘I’ve got your back! I am here for you. I am listening to your NO and I will not do anything you don’t want to do unless it is an absolute life emergency AND even then I will do this with you. I have your back and I am supporting you now.’

And tell yourself that those who walk away were not true friends anyway.

And those who you walk away from are a matter of necessity, because you chose them from your ‘good girl’ place and not the authentic you, so you are no longer a match and that is all.

It’s not that they are bad people or wrong people. They are just simply not YOUR PEOPLE.

Your people come from the truth of who you are and until you know the truth of who you are you may be alone for a while.

When you start to know you, really know you, you won’t need anyone to be a friend, but friends that are right for you will turn up. No longer requiring them, but appreciating their part in your life journey. No longer will you be attached to other people, you will be fully free and empowered.

Are you ready to let go of the good girl act?


What does this mean to you?


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Kelly Martin
Kelly Martin

Kelly Martin, author of ‘When Everyone Shines But You’ is a dedicated writer and blogger who fearlessly explores life’s deepest questions. Faced with a decade of profound anxiety and grief following the loss of her father and her best friend Michael, Kelly embarked on a transformative journey guided by mindfulness, and she hasn’t looked back since. Through her insightful writing, engaging podcasts, and inspiring You Tube channel Kelly empowers others to unearth the hidden treasures within their pain, embracing the profound truth that they are ‘enough’ exactly as they are.

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