Where are all my people-pleasers???
*go ahead…don’t be shy….raise your hand*
I mean, who DOESN’T like to see other people happy?
Who WOULDN’T want the people around them to feel happy, pleased, and loved?
The ultimate question though is….but at what cost?
You see, the manipulators, wayward opportunists, and narcissists love to see us coming.
Because they know us. They know we’ll go out of our way, sometimes at our own expense, to make them the star of the show.
Hello, My Name is Kesha. I’m a Recovering People-Pleaser.
def. people-pleaser: one who feels the need to do things to make others like him/her
I can trace this people-pleasing tendency back to childhood. I was always the responsible one; the mature one; the mediator; the one everybody (seemingly) liked. I won’t lie; I enjoyed the feeling of contentment it brought me to be known for those things.
But the more I grew with this tendency, the more I realized that I had to keep doing it or I’d be rejected. I’d lose my “status.” Worse still, people wouldn’t like me anymore.
Are you a people-pleaser too? Do you try to help everyone at the expense of your own needs? Do you try to make others happy as a means of avoiding confrontation? Do you feel guilt when you put yourself first? If so, you’re a people pleaser.
And it’s okay.
Now that you know this, you’re on your way to recovery!
Trying to make others happy at your own expense is a sucky way to spend your time and energy. If you’re looking out for everyone else, who has your best interests at heart? You might think you’re trying to be nice, but that’s not the full story.
Often, we people-pleasers feel a need to make others happy, but the motive isn’t always altruistic. People-pleasers are attempting to avoid conflict.
Consequently, people-pleasers lose the respect of others because when you don’t respect your time or your needs, no one else will either. You end up training people to treat you badly.
7 Ways to Nix Your People-Pleasing Tendencies
So now that we have awareness of the problem and why it’s not good for us, we can tackle this head on. Here are 7 ways you can nix your people-pleasing tendencies.
- Realize that it’s not important that everyone likes you. It’s not even possible. There are people that you’ll never like. Everyone has their own set of preferences. Understand that some people won’t like you no matter what you do – and it’s their issue, not yours. Understanding this simple fact can be incredibly liberating!
- Get your validation from yourself and no one else. Those that try to please everyone are receiving their validation externally. You don’t need others to make you feel good. Build up what makes you feel good on your own terms. Focus on pleasing yourself. You’ve already used so much time and energy on everyone else. Now it’s your turn.
- All you gotta do is say NO. With practice, it becomes easier to say no to others. I tell ya, it took a long time for me to say no to my mom when she demanded things of me. I felt guilty for a long time. How dare I say no to the woman that birthed me? But in not saying no to her when it was warranted, I dishonored myself and what was best for me. From now on, when you’re asked to do something that you don’t have the time for or the energy to do, you MUST say no. Stop putting pressure on yourself to make others happy. That’s NOT your responsibility.
- Learn to deal with the aftermath. Soooo, I know you’re wondering…what are the negative consequences you’ll face when you begin to refuse inconvenient or unreasonable requests? From others, you can expect some general negativity, especially if you’ve been their “yes” person all this time. When others are used to controlling you, they won’t give up that control easily. Just stand your ground. Either they’ll come around and start honoring your boundaries or they’ll leave you alone and find someone else to manipulate (or both!). You can also expect a negative reaction from yourself, mainly guilt. You’ll get over it with time. I did! Hang in there.
- Be prepared to lose a few people. Oh boy, this is a BIG one! You have to realize, understand, and accept that there are probably a few people in your life that may have been pretending to be your friend. Once you stop being so accommodating, they’ll move on. Know that you’re better off without them. Those that stick around will begin to have a new level of respect for you, and you’ll attract a new group of friends that bring more value to your life.
- Drop the apologies. You don’t have to apologize because your priorities don’t match up with someone else’s. You have the right to prioritize your time as you see fit. Avoid apologizing because you don’t have anything to apologize for.
- Stop worrying that you’ll be seen as selfish. I get called selfish all the time now and love it because, as a recovering people-pleaser, it indicates that I’m doing more for me and that brings me joy! Back in the day, I’d be worried about being called selfish. I thought it was a bad word and that I’d be a bad person. Over the years, I’ve learned so much about the word that I now want to change my middle name. Lakesha Selfish Brown. Ha! Think about it. When someone else calls you selfish, it’s because they didn’t get what they wanted out of you. How selfish is that?!
- BONUS! Know the difference between being nice and being a doormat. Adam Grant, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, said, “The givers who become doormats are the people who say ‘yes’ to all the people all the time, to all of the requests. They’re also people, I think, that try to help in too many different ways and at too many different times.” To remain on the nice end of things versus the doormat end, Grant advises to only use your helpful nature for that which aligns with your own interests and areas of expertise so that it is enjoyable and energizing, and so [you are] actually contributing something that is of unique value to others.
Over to you…
Listen, I know how it feels to be a people-pleaser and it wasn’t always good. I’d often regret my decision to agree to something when it was a detriment to myself. I’d feel bad about it, feel bad about myself, and then be angry and frustrated about it all – until I decided NO MORE.
I want you to recover from this tendency as well.
How do you work through your people-pleasing tendencies? Chime in below!