What is a People Pleaser and how do I know if I am one?
Do you relish feedback from others?
Do you regularly accept invitations to events you don’t really want to go to?
Do you tend to prioritise other people’s needs over your own?
Would you willingly sacrifice your happiness for fear of putting someone else out?
If you’ve answered yes to one of these questions it doesn’t mean that you’re a People Pleaser. However, if you’ve answered yes to a number of them – read on!
You may well ask, is it not a good thing to want to give? Giving is important, but pleasing is different. When others’ needs are continuously put ahead of your own, giving becomes pleasing. And people pleasing can lead to a number of problems, least of all burnout.
So why do we do it? Like a drug, we crave the validation, the approval, the reassurance and ultimately the love we receive from those we seek to please. These feelings bring with them a sense of achievement and quite often a sense of being in control.
Again, why is this bad? Receiving love is not a bad thing, but what happens if it stops? What happens if those to whom we’ve given don’t provide the feedback we need? What happens if they don’t appreciate the effort we’ve gone to, or simply don’t say ‘thank you’? When we don’t get the response we need and are used to receiving we often feel frustrated, rejected, unworthy and simply not enough. The drug supply has stopped.
So why do we allow this to happen? Why don’t we put our own needs first?
Think back to when you were a child and what you were praised for. Think about the approval you sought from your parents, your teachers or others you looked up to. That praise felt good when you behaved in a certain manner. When you pleased. When something feels good, we want as much of that thing as possible. Add to the mix someone who may not have the best sense of self and they’re going to crave more of that approval. And so the cycle begins!
We can, therefore take some comfort in the fact that much of our people pleasing habit has been out of our control. But not anymore! Here are some tips to help kick the habit of a lifetime:
1. Accept your need to please for what it is – a habit. Habits are simply learned behaviours and can be changed.
2. Start saying ‘No’. You cannot do everything, so chose carefully what you put your time and energy into.
3. Make a to-do list of Your Priorities each day and stick to it.
4. You’re in control. Start directing your life how you want it to go rather than following someone else’s agenda.
5. Be ok with the possibility of being disliked. It probably won’t happen, as you’re more likely to gain the respect of others for being decisive and assertive.
6. Don’t seek love from outside parties. Instead form the new habit of telling yourself ‘I am Enough’.