People Pleasing

Why Are You Trying To Please Everybody?

You might ask, “What’s wrong with wanting to please others?” There is nothing wrong with trying to please others-up to a point.  When your pleasing others begins to compromise your health and happiness, it has passed that point. It has become a serious problem when you feel as though widespread positive approval from others is necessary for you to make it. The bottom line is that seeking constant approval from others forces you to miss out on the beauty of simply being yourself. If you go through life only doing and being what you’ve come to believe is expected of you, you are no longer yourself but merely a mirror image of everyone else. So, what happens when you try to please everyone?

  1. You begin to shy away from saying what you mean. You start dropping hints, hoping that your cues will be picked up.  You have trouble saying things like, “No, that doesn’t work for me” or “I don’t want you to do that.” So, you try to sell what you think as being a more attractive alternative. The problem with this is that it involves someone being able to read your mind-you drop hints but you never actually say what’s on your mind.
  2. You don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. People pleasers usually don’t share their thoughts and will tend to agree with others without even considering what they believe or want. You want to please others so you don’t hurt anyone’s feeling and thereby, avoid unwanted reactions or rejection. Think of the last time you avoided telling someone something to spare their feelings. Did you do it out of kindness or did you do it to avoid what you suspected might become an uncomfortable situation? In the end, who became uncomfortable?
  3. You find it difficult, if not impossible, to say no. Everyone wants to be generous, and that’s a good thing. But, when you give to the point where it begins to affect you, your generosity has taken on a different meaning. You begin to do things from a place of “I feel that I have to” instead of “I would love to.” Generosity is a fruit of the spirit. Fruit is intended to nourish and sustain you. Giving from an empty place eventually leads to resentment. Generosity has to be a choice from your heart, not from a place of obligation, guilt or expectation.

A life spent ceaselessly trying to please people, who, perhaps, are incapable of ever being pleased, or trying too hard to always be seen as doing what’s “right” is a sure road to a regretful life. When you are in a constant state of pleasing others, you merely exist without truly living the life you were created to live. Allowing the opinions or criticisms of other people to dictate or manipulate your confidence is way too high a price to pay to feel liked, accepted or validated. This is not to say that you shouldn’t care what others think of you, but you have to place just as much importance, if not more, on your needs. So, how do you identify people pleasers?

  1. Do you give in to people because the thought of upsetting them is too much for you to deal with?
  2. Do you want everyone to think of you as a “really nice person?”
  3. Do you agree with people because you’d like to “fit in?”
  4. Do you worry about what other people think of you?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may not be reaching your full potential and are likely paying the price for just being too nice. It is so important to be true and authentic to yourself. When you do or say whatever pleases others to gain approval, you are really hurting yourself and often setting yourself up to be the target of adult bullies. If you struggle with this, here are some tips that might help:

  1. It’s OK with not knowing what other people think. Some things in life, such as knowing what other people think of you, aren’t really meant to be understood. How people perceive you may have more to do with them than you anyway. You may have triggered an association in their mind and they make a decision about you based on that. It usually doesn’t have anything to do with you. This should be your mantra, this is my life, my choices, my mistakes, my lessons. As long as you are not hurting people, don’t worry what they think of you.
  2. Understand that someone else’s opinion is not your problem. How many times have you looked at someone and totally misjudged them solely based on their looks. How you seem to someone and how you actually are rarely congruent. If someone forms an opinion of you based on superficialities, it’s up to them, not you, to reform those opinions based on a more rational viewpoint. The bottom line is the opinion that other people have of you is their problem, not yours. The less you worry about what they think of you, the less complicated your life becomes.
  3. Ask yourself, “Does their opinion of me even matter?” People will think what they want to think. It doesn’t matter how carefully you choose your words, someone will inevitably misinterpret and turn what you said upside down. How others see you is not as important as how you see yourself. Stay true to yourself. Never be ashamed of doing what feels right. Decide what you think is right and stick with it.

When you stop trying to be all things to all people, you can achieve a greater level of satisfaction in your life. Be yourself. When you honor who you are-and who you’re not- your life will begin to take on a greater meaning. Life is too short not to.

 

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