People Pleasers: The Problems With Pleasing
From early childhood, you begin to learn that you can earn the validation you crave by pleasing your parents, caretakers or others. As you mature, you take that skill with you, having realized that you feel better about yourself when others express positive comments about you.
The problem with relying on others to get the validation you need is that the feedback you get isn’t always positive. When you get negative feedback from these same people, you tend to internalize it, taking responsibility for negative situations that don’t necessarily have anything to do with you.
As these feelings build up, they knock down your self-esteem and self-worth. This is why relying on pleasing others for your own self-satisfaction is never a good idea. Eventually, you will encounter the very things you are trying to avoid.
Problems with People-Pleasing
There are many reasons that people-pleasing is not the way to find the good in yourself. See if you recognize any of these traits in yourself:
Perfectionism — If you spend all of your time trying to be perfect for everyone else, you will use up all the energy you could be spending showing people the real you. Show them the person they will like because you are real, with imperfections just as they have. You’ll soon realize that they will recognize you as worthy and lovable, warts and all.
Trying to please everyone — Are you always complying with others wishes, and never complain or disagree with anyone? Some people are just impossible to please, no matter what you do. You will only bring yourself down by trying to please everyone. It is an impossible task, and you’ll end up feeling like it is you who has somehow failed when that one person isn’t happy with you.
You lose sight of your own values, goals, and personality — When you spend so much time trying to please other people, it’s entirely possible to forget about what you believe in, and what your own dreams and goals are. Never let yourself lose sight of yourself.
You have trouble saying “No” — Don’t let yourself believe that telling others that you can’t do something for them makes you a selfish person. Do things for others because you want to help them out, not because you fear of what they might think of you if you say no. Helping others can make you feel good about yourself, but not when it becomes a feeling of obligation rather than desire.
Your needs come last — Don’t miss out on going to an event just so that you can free up someone else’s day by taking on their responsibilities. Before you agree to help someone else, do a mental check of what’s on your list of activities. Don’t forgo something you want to do, or have been looking forward to, in the expectation that you will somehow feel better by helping someone else out. Chances are, you will eventually become resentful, feeling that you are being taken advantage of. This will make it that much harder to form the personality that will make you the kind of person around whom other people want to be.
Take Your Life Back
Does any of that sound like you? Then chances are, you are a people pleaser. It’s time to start taking your life back and living it for yourself, not others. Practice being more assertive, saying no when you mean it and work on pleasing yourself. In time your self-esteem will improve, and you will begin to look to yourself, not others, for validation.