Everyone is a people pleaser in one way or another. When you make it a habit to please others at any cost, you make your own life miserable. We need compromise in life if we all want to live in unity. The big difference between compromise and people-pleasing is the fact that both parties give something up. It is meeting people half-way.
Compromise is an agreement reached by each side, making concessions. When you are unwilling to compromise you are telling the other person that what they want is not important to you. You are suggesting that your wants are more important than theirs. And you are also saying that you know what is best and that you are unwilling to change.
Are you a people-pleaser? How do you know you are not? Everyone starts out in life wanting to be safe, loved, and accepted. It is in our DNA. Some of us figure out that the best way to do this is to put aside what we want or feel and allow someone else’s needs and feelings to take precedence. It feels natural, and there is less outer conflict, but our inner conflict grows. Accommodating others are part of our creation. This does not mean we should allow people to take undue advantage. You should not accept behaviours you do not subscribe to from others. If you accept these behaviours you are not compromising, it is not coexisting. It is people-pleasing. It is negative, and it affects you negatively.
Cooperation is working together to achieve a common result. A people pleaser is a person who believes they are less than most others on the planet and have the need to hide these beliefs from all whom they meet. They feel so low that they typically behave like a doormat and often put themselves in situations where people treat them as such. Dishonesty, deception and lies are the primary tools used by a people-pleaser. At some point, you are going to have to disappoint someone. You will not be able to control the situation. Bad luck will rain down and you will be swimming in a puddle of your own branded catastrophic gloop. You must learn to accept these realities of life.
It is a good thing you want to help others and satisfy their needs. But you need to know when to stop. You must be aware of your intention. Is it coming from a place of abundance or a place of lack? Too much of people-pleasing and you lose your own path. People-pleasing without boundaries and you become a doormat without personality. People-pleasing with a hidden agenda and you are insincere.
Here are some common people-pleasing habits:
You struggle to say “no.”
You find it hard to be assertive and voice your opinions.
You are hyper-vigilant about perceived rejection from others (always on the lookout).
You fear negative emotions from others and will do all you can to make them not react.
You are excessively altruistic or philanthropic.
You often suffer at the expense of doing a favour for others.
You have a weak sense of self and poor interpersonal boundaries.
You become emotionally dependent or co-dependent when in any kind of relationships.
You are addicted to approval from others.
You have a neurotic desire for people to like you no matter what.
You feel shattered for days or weeks when someone criticises you.
You have low self-worth.
You act based on what “other people think” of you.
You always put yourself in other’s shoes, but you rarely show compassion towards yourself.
You blindly believe in other people’s “goodness” even if they are abusive towards you.
You fear losing control of yourself because you repress so much.
You are afraid of conflict.
You crave for compliments and hate any form of criticism.
You have the habit of over saying sorry to over-explain your mistakes.
People-pleasing can form a bridge to other conditions such as borderline personality disorder and social anxiety disorder. Inevitably, wanting to be loved and needed by others all the time results in suppressing tons of uncomfortable emotions. I am talking about emotions like rage, hatred, bitterness, annoyance, grief, and stress — anything that is contrary to the altruistic image you crave to portray.
You might not be conscious of repressing these types of emotions. You allow others to take undue advantage and sometimes you thank them. Suppression of emotions eventually results in physical or psychological breakdowns. Neurotic desire fuels many chronic mental and physical illnesses to please others.
How to stop people-pleasing:
- Cultivate awareness. There are people, events, and circumstances that trigger this trait in you. Research yourself to know these triggers and deal with the causes.
- Know the difference between goodwill, kindness, and people-pleasing. Notice when in your heart you genuinely want to do something for someone versus when you are doing something just because someone else wants you to, or you want to manipulate the situation, or you fear the consequences if you do not do it. Learning the difference will help you make better choices for yourself.
- People-pleasers often feel like they have to say yes when someone asks for their help. Remember that you always have a choice to say no.
- Knowing your priorities and values helps you put the brakes on people-pleasing.
- Whenever someone asks you for a favour, it is perfectly OK to say that you will need to think about it. This gives you the opportunity to consider if you can commit to helping them.
- If you do agree to help, limit your time.
- Sometimes, people are taking advantage of you, so it is important to watch out for manipulators and flatterers.
- You might have a toxic person in your life who is constantly asking you for things that you are sucked into. If you have a toxic person, please get them out!
- When you say no, say it with meaning. Do not apologise because you must prioritise. Do not feel bad that you have something to take care of. You are standing up for you; and remember, if you do not stand up for you, no one else will.
- If you are surrounded by people who do not respect you and want to twist you to their will, it does wonders to work with a professional psychologist or counsellor who can help you and encourage you in standing up for yourself.
It is OK for everyone not to like you. You should stop worrying about pleasing others and start making yourself happy. It is your life, so live. Do not live to the expectation of people around you. Live for yourself, for your dreams, and for your happiness. People will come and go in your life. Do not be afraid of losing people. Be afraid of losing yourself by trying to please everyone around you.
From henceforth you must give up:
- Doubting Yourself
- Negative Thinking
- Fear of Failure
- Criticising Others
- Negative Self-talk
- Fear of Success
- People Pleasing
Let go of what others think of you and focus on what you think of you.