You Don’t Have to Be a People-Pleaser
Everyone wants to be liked, and linked to that is the tendency to want please others to gain their admiration. There is nothing wrong with wanting to please people. It can make you a popular person and someone whom people would respect and like to have around. But wanting to please them for the wrong reasons is something different.
Don’t Seek Validation from Others
You shouldn’t want to please people for the sake of gaining validation of your own self-worth through their approval. This type of behavior is specifically called “People-Pleasing.” As a people-pleaser, you aren’t simply trying to make friends by identifying with others with whom you share a sense of humor or a certain set of values. Instead, people-pleasers are making themselves feel better by getting others to express positive comments or emotions about them, in any fashion.
Often, people-pleasers don’t feel good about themselves. They harbor negative feeling they have collected from others over the years, and have held onto them long enough that they now believe the negative feelings they have. They only way they can make themselves feel better is to have others confirm for them that they are in fact, a “good person,” despite the negative feelings that constantly gnaw at them.
Are You a People-Pleaser?
First of all, are you a people-pleaser? Where is the line in the sand that you cross over, turning you from a genuinely friendly person who likes to be around other friendly people into someone who is secretly desperate to make people happy in order to justify their own self-worth. Following are some signs that you might suffer from people-pleasing:
- You always agree to do any favor that someone might ask of you.
- You don’t air your concerns about the world and other things with other people.
- You stay quiet rather than expressing your disagreement with someone else’s viewpoint.
- You take the financial hit in a group of people in an effort to please them.
- You will suffer negative consequences to your own quality of life in order to please someone else.
How People-Pleasing Can Hurt You
If you are constantly worrying about making everyone around you happy, it is likely that you need to pay a little more attention to yourself. In such a situation, it’s easy to neglect your own wants and needs, telling yourself that you’ll get back to it, but never seem to find the time.
Eventually, you may start to feel resentful of others, especially if you are of getting the positive feedback you are looking for. The practice of people-pleasing then begins to backfire because you are no longer deriving the positive validation you need.
If you are starting to see a pattern in your own life that aligns with some of these properties, then it is time to take action to keep others from taking advantage of your giving nature. You need to build up your self-esteem by learning to believe in yourself and not rely solely on the approval of others.
Pick a “low stakes” situation and take the opportunity to disagree with someone. You will most likely realize that the repercussions do not harm you, or that there are no repercussions at all. Maybe complain at a restaurant when you don’t like your meal, or try saying no to someone’s request for a favor when it really is an inconvenience for you.
Eventually, you will begin to see that people are not shying away from you for standing your ground. In fact, they may have more respect for you than they did before. As you begin to feel more confident of yourself, the negative feelings you have been hanging onto will begin to peel away, and slowly you’ll begin to feel good about yourself because you are pleasing yourself.