Many people pleasers cave into others’ demands to avoid conflict, or to do what others expect from them. That’s the ultimate example of not living your truth. It might be the most exhausting thing you do all day!
Is it time to stop pleasing people and putting your own desires first? Having the freedom to be yourself and live your authentic life frees you up to be yourself and enjoy who you are. By putting an end to people pleasing behaviors, you prepare yourself for the marathon ahead, your life, where you can finally live as you truly wish.
Here’s a quote from Raquel Welch that sums it up:
Once you get rid of the idea that you must please other people before you please yourself, and you begin to follow your own instincts-only, then can you be successful. You become more satisfied, and when you are, other people tend to be satisfied by what you do.— Raquel Welch
Signs of being a people pleaser
How do you know if you’re a people pleaser? People who put their own feelings aside to please others have certain characteristics in common. Some common signs that you’re a people pleaser are:
- You value the approval of others over your own needs.
- You fear rejection and loss of love or friendship.
- You have a hard time setting limits even when it’s healthy for you.
- You feel it’s your duty to take care of others, even if it’s harmful to you.
- You put the needs of others before your own.
- You hesitate to speak up for fear of offending someone else.
- You have feelings of inadequacy.
- You’re afraid to reveal your true feelings due to fears of being rejected.
- You go out of your way to avoid conflict or criticism.
Why Do People Become People Pleasers?
You might wonder why someone would put their own needs aside to focus on meeting the needs of others. Psychologists say children who are people pleasers often have childhoods marked by inconsistent parenting. Parents who were emotionally unavailable to their children or were loving at times, but distant at others. Due to the inconsistent actions of the parent, the child attempts to establish an emotional bond with others by adopting people pleasing behaviors.
You might think that people pleasers are genuinely kid and giving people, since they put the needs of others first. That’s not always the case. Some people adopt this behavior for fear of being abandoned or not accepted by people. This goes along with a childhood where parents were distant or affection was inconsistent.
The problem with being a people pleaser is you can lose touch with who you are. Striving to please others takes emotional energy, and in the end, it can lead to frustration. You might agree to do things you don’t want to do just to stay in the good graces of others, and deep down inside you’re going against your own wants and needs. That may work for a while, but it often leads to frustration or even anger you’re not meeting your own emotional needs. When you only please others at the expense of your own needs, you live inauthentically and are, in a sense, living a lie. You can even lose touch with who you are.
Tips for Not Being a People Pleaser
- Stop doing things to make people like you.
- Know that you don’t have to please other people all the time.
- Be your own person, and do what makes you happy, not what others want you to do.
- Stop feeling guilty when saying no to too many requests or demands.
- Set healthy limits with yourself and others.
When you’ve always been a people pleaser, doing these things isn’t easy. You may find it helpful to take a class on assertiveness. If possible, you might even join a support group to hear from others who have faced similar challenges before.
Another approach is to take small steps. Try saying “no” or expressing your true feelings about something small. Then build from there. If you can’t do it on your own, you might benefit from a few therapy sessions where you can practice with a professional.
Over time, learn to accept boundaries, so that you don’t lose sight of what matters to you. It takes practice and it won’t happen overnight, but it’s important to get there for your own mental health and wellbeing. Also, people will respect you more if you speak your mind. Living a lie sucks your energy and creates unnecessary stress. Living authentically will do miracles for your mental health too.
If your goal is to please others, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with being a people pleaser, but it’s a habit you can change by taking small steps. Taking action builds confidence, and once you know how much better it feels to express how you feel, you’ll be empowered. And guess what? People will respect you more and may like you even better.
“What Is People-Pleasing? | Psychology Today.” 30 Mar. 2020, .psychologytoday.com/us/blog/living-finesse/202003/what-is-people-pleasing.
“10 Signs You’re a People-Pleaser | Psychology Today.” 23 Aug. 2017, .psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201708/10-signs-youre-people-pleaser.
“People Pleaser: 22 Signs and Tips – Healthline.” 04 Dec. 2019, .healthline.com/health/people-pleaser.
Carter C. Why it doesn’t pay to be a people-pleaser. greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_it_doesnt_pay_to_be_a_people_pleaser