It’s impossible to please everyone all of the time, yet a people-pleaser will go out of their way to attempt just that. Usually an indicator of a deeper issue, people pleasers go to great lengths seeking approval and adoration of others, and often feel guilt if they aren’t able to meet others’ needs.
From a psychological standpoint, the roots of trying to please everyone are deep-seated and commonly connected to low self-worth. They tend to assign being kind as the culprit, when most likely there are some past issues with being treated poorly by others, thus they combat this by over-compensating through accommodating everyone else’s needs.
Somewhere along the line it’s been instilled that doing things for yourself is selfish; you aren’t a good person unless you make everyone else happy, sometimes at the expense of your own happiness.
Not only is that incorrect, it has terrible effects on health, both mental and physical. It’s torturous to never feel good enough and as if no one will like you if you don’t oblige their requests. It leads to feeling overwhelmed and resenting those continually expecting you meet their needs.
Signs You May Be A People-Pleaser
If these signs resonate with you, there is a good chance you are dealing with people-pleasing tendencies.
” Pretend to agree with others, even if you don’t feel that way
” Feel burdened by the multitude of tasks you’ve taken on
” Have a hard time saying “No” to people
” Go to great lengths to avoid conflict
” Feel like others’ feelings are your fault or responsibility
” Often say “I’m sorry”
” Feel like a horrible person when you think someone is upset with you
Reasons to End the People-Pleasing Pattern
Resentment toward others – Over time, when your needs aren’t being met you come to resent those who monopolize your time.
Lose your sense of self – When you are constantly doing for others, it becomes your purpose in life. You begin to lose yourself; your goals, dreams and ambitions are always on the back burner.
Exhaustion – Taking on the responsibilities of others’ is tiresome and lonely, especially when you are sacrificing your own basic self-care needs so you don’t let others down.
Beat yourself down – Negative self-talk runs rampant because you are constantly letting yourself down; not because you’re unworthy, but because you’ve taken on more than you can possibly handle.
Compromised mental health – Depression and anxiety eat you alive. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel so you cry it out, alone, and try to muster up enough energy and willpower to start another day. You feel like nobody would care if you were unhappy anyway, so why say anything?
Compromised physical health – You often suffer from poor nutrition while eating on the run, neglect your body by foregoing routine exercise and quality sleep is basically nonexistent. Uncontrolled blood pressure, cholesterol issues and blood sugar spikes are common due to stress, fast food and energy drinks.
Tips to Stop Trying to Please Everyone
The first, and possibly the most important thing you need to wrap your head around:
Taking care of yourself is not selfish.
In fact, when you take care of yourself you are able to offer a better version of yourself instead of the exhausted, beatdown and overwhelmed version of yourself you currently represent. Do the math. If you are split into four equal parts, doing tasks for four others that require attention and care, you can only give 25% to each party.
Stopping the cycle is necessary for your own mental and physical health and wellness. Stopping the cycle is imperative for achieving happiness and a life filled with joy. Stopping is possible!
Start small and work your way up to the more challenging aspects. It’s okay to take baby steps; it’s not okay to blame others for your inability to be assertive and say no. The truth is, people can’t use you and take advantage of you if you don’t allow them to.
Here are a few ways to get the ball rolling:
Make YOU a priority. Do something for you, every single day. Paint your nails, take a nap, read, journal, take a walk, prepare a home cooked meal; whatever your heart desires. Just make sure it’s your desire.
Say “No” to something small. It’s hard at first, which is why using being progressive is so useful.
Express an authentic opinion. The next time you’re asked for your opinion about something, give a sincere answer. It’s not an argument, it’s just an opinion; and yours may bring a whole new light on the situation that nobody else considered.
Realize you have a choice. People-pleasing becomes an automatic response. You do have a choice in any matter and you are also the only one in control of you.
Set a timeframe. When being pressured to do something for someone else, set a timeframe and stick to it. “I’m available from 3-5pm tomorrow.”
No excuses. When someone asks you for a favour, saying “No, I’m sorry, but I can’t fit that into my schedule” is plenty enough. If you offer excuses, “It’s my laundry day” or “I have to go grocery shopping,” you leave yourself open to others attempting to rearrange your schedule or even minimizing your other commitments so theirs appears more important.
You Deserve This
The main objective with progressively being more and more assertive is to gain confidence. You’ll also find that most people aren’t going to get angry with you or dislike you because you aren’t available.
Usually they are too busy thinking of the next person they can ask to be mad at you. This is your perception and it’s probably based more on fear or rejection than reality of the situation. Over time your self-worth will make great leaps and bounds as you discover how important you are to yourself!
You are worthy of happiness; you just have to learn to identify what you need and ask for it!