The Pitfall of Pleasing Others: How It Sabotages Your Health and Fitness

In our quest for acceptance and validation, it’s common to find ourselves entangled in a web of pleasing others. Whether it’s meeting societal standards, living up to family expectations, or seeking approval from peers, the desire to please can extend its reach into various facets of our lives, including our health and fitness journey.

But here’s the catch – prioritising the approval of others over your own well-being often leads to a detrimental impact on your health and fitness goals. So how does this happen?

There is a pressure to conform

From the unspoken expectations of society to the explicit demands of family and friends, the pressure to conform can be overwhelming. This pressure manifests in numerous ways, including adhering to certain body standards, following restrictive diets, or engaging in strenuous workout routines simply to fit in or gain approval.

Neglecting Self-Care

In your effort to please others, you may neglect your own needs and self-care practices. This neglect can manifest in various forms, such as eating late to accommodate social gatherings, sacrificing sleep to meet deadlines or obligations, or ignoring signs of physical and mental exhaustion in pursuit of external validation.

The Cycle of Comparison

Constantly seeking validation from others can fuel a never-ending cycle of comparison. Whether it’s comparing our bodies to unrealistic standards portrayed in the media or measuring your progress against someone else’s journey, this habit fosters feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, ultimately hindering your ability to focus on your individual health and fitness goals.

But the good news is there are things you can do to disrupt this cycle. It’s never too late to prioritise self-care and this is how you can do it:

1. Embrace self-compassion

Breaking free from the trap of pleasing others requires a shift in mindset towards self-compassion. Instead of seeking external validation, it’s essential to cultivate a sense of self-worth and acceptance from within. This involves embracing your uniqueness, celebrating your progress, and prioritising your health and well-being above the expectations of others.

2. Set boundaries

Setting boundaries is crucial in preserving your health and fitness journey from external influences. It’s okay to say no to activities or commitments that don’t align with your goals or values, and it’s essential to communicate your needs and limitations effectively to those around you. By establishing boundaries, you empower yourself to prioritise self-care without guilt or hesitation.

3. Understand that self-care requires discipline

Self-care isn’t just about indulgence (which I think is often the way we view it); it’s a disciplined practice rooted in prioritising your well-being. Discipline in self-care means making consistent choices that nurture physical, mental, and emotional health, even when it’s challenging or inconvenient. It involves establishing routines for exercise, nutrition, rest, and stress management, and sticking to them despite competing demands or distractions. Ultimately, self-care requires discipline because it’s an ongoing commitment to honouring and nurturing yourself, even in the face of life’s inevitable challenges and pressures.

The desire to please others can exert a profound influence on our health and fitness journey, leading us down a path of self-neglect and comparison. However, by embracing self-compassion, setting boundaries, and prioritising your well-being, you can break free from this cycle and embark on a journey guided by authenticity and self-care. Remember, your health and happiness are worth prioritising, regardless of others’ expectations.

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