The Power of Pleasing
We all want to be popular with others. No one likes to be put down, or to feel like they are not as good as everyone they are around. In order to avoid feeling that way, many people fall into a pattern of pleasing others over themselves, because of the power they feel that they gain from it. As a people-pleaser, you try to be what you think will make others approve of you. You may agree with their views just to gain their acceptance, or to feel that you “fit in.” But the “power” you may feel, is not your power.
Are You a People-Pleaser?
Are these some of the things you do to gain the “power” of pleasing?
- You change your behavior depending on who you’re with.
- You sometimes don’t speak your mind honestly because your opinion differs from others.
- You have a hard time saying no.
- You feel better about yourself when people affirm you.
- You are afraid to rock the boat.
- You try to be nice rather than express how you really feel.
Take a closer look. Do those actions empower you, or restrict your ability to be the person who you really are? These are the efforts you make to fit in with a crowd when you in fact, do not possess the power to please the only person who really matters. That person, of course, is you.
Does Pleasing Really Give You Power?
In pleasing people, you are gaining the validation you desire so much, but at what cost? As long as the people around you are happy, you are happy, but if the wind blows in a negative direction, almost on cue you will be the one to own that negativity. You will assume it is something that you did or said that caused unhappiness within a particular group, and feel the worse for it. At that point, your perceived power to please has disappeared and you are left with nothing but bad feelings about yourself.
One way to regain some power over how you feel about yourself is to take a stand and learn to say no. Realize that saying no to someone is not you being mean or negative; you are setting boundaries for your own happiness. By always saying yes to others’ requests for favors, people may begin to take advantage of you by asking for more than is reasonable. Eventually these requests can become overwhelming, leaving you no time to take care of your own obligations.
People learn how to treat you by the behavior you accept or reject from them. If someone acts surprised when you say that you can’t help them out, don’t let yourself feel guilty about it, thinking that person will think less of you. In fact, the opposite is true. You are setting boundaries, letting people know what behavior you will or will not accept from them. This leads to others having more respect, and admiration, for you in the future, knowing that you won’t let yourself be pushed around.
Don’t Neglect Yourself to Please Others
Chances are that you spend so much time trying to please others that you devote very little time to taking care of yourself, particularly your health. Your efforts at taking care of others takes away from the time you need to de-stress, plan healthy meals and organize your own life. Your heart is in the right place, but you can’t care for and about others at the expense of your own well-being. Your life needs balance. Taking care of yourself gives you the power to take care of others, and that care will be reflected as a positive light on you.