How NOT to Be a People Pleaser

 

EV004480There are some people who could care less about what other people think or how they feel and there are some people whose self-esteem depends entirely on making other people happy. Both extremes are problematic and impede the development of healthy, fulfilling relationships.  Society, however,  tends to look more kindly on those who fall into the latter category—the people pleasers—and thus they have a harder time identifying that they have a problem.

 

If you are a people pleaser, then you probably spend most of your time thinking about the needs and feelings of others. You rarely, if ever, think about yourself. If you are a people pleaser, you likely let other people dictate the terms of your life. You probably feel very uncomfortable—or maybe don’t even know how—expressing your needs and feelings. If you are a people pleaser, then you likely have little self-confidence or sense of self. You look to others for validation and don’t trust your own instincts.

 

The problem with being a people pleaser is multifaceted. First, you repress your needs and feelings by always going out of your way for others. You let people take advantage of you. You don’t stand up for yourself. This behavior leads to anger, resentment and a very low sense of self-esteem. Second, as counterintuitive as it may seem, being a people pleaser is actually a control issue. Pleasing people means exerting control over them—“I did this for you, I made you happy—now you owe me.” Sound familiar? If so, then you probably notice that controlling people isn’t a way to show them love and care. Third, as a people pleaser, you are very likely going after the approval of people who didn’t approve of you in your younger years—mother, father, ex-boyfriend etc. You probably try to please people to fulfill an emotional void and you often try to please the wrong kind of people: people who use you, people who make you feel bad about yourself, people who are emotionally unavailable or even people who are physically abusive.

 

So how do you break the destructive people pleasing cycle? The answer is pretty simple: by getting to know yourself. When you learn to quiet your mind, be in your body and tap into your own thoughts, feelings and intuition, then you learn to balance caring for others with caring for yourself. And the more you get to know yourself, the more you make loving yourself a priority, the more you will realize that you don’t need to please people to get love and self-esteem. The people who are worthy of having relationships with you will love you for who you are and not for what you can give them. They will be there for you and give you a shoulder to cry on too. The people worth having relationships with will be about giving and receiving instead of just taking.

 

So stop being a people pleaser. Get to know yourself and get to know the kind of people you want to have in your life—the people who you can build healthy, fulfilling relationships with.

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