How To Stop Being A People Pleaser

My entry for today tackles people pleasing. As they say anything in moderation is fine but exceeding it can be just as bad. So here’s my take –

If someone says jump off the bridge, will you? Being a people pleaser can actually work against you or have the opposite effect that you expected it to be. People pleasers (excessive at that) usually crave and want appreciation, affirmation to be liked. Their self-worth is seen through the perceived opinions of everyone else except themselves. Marcia Sirota, who is an author, doctor and speaker says – “Unfortunately, people-pleasing doesn’t work. In fact, it backfires. Instead of giving the pleaser the affirmation they desire, other people are at best, exploitative and at worst, hostile, rejecting and contemptuous toward them.” And that “…we’re aware, even if only on a subconscious level, of those who are insecure and lacking in confidence. People who aim to please come across as weak and needy, and many of us are inclined to react negatively toward them,” Sirota said. Realize that only you can revert the situation and stop exerting too much effort in an “effort” to please others at your own expense. You’ll know your threshold. There is a difference between being kind and being a people pleaser, the former is an innate quality of compassion to others with boundaries and knowledge as to when they are already being taken advantaged of while the latter is the former in over-moderation.

The intention to want to make people happy is not really a negative quality, it just goes overboard when you already seem to be giving much of yourself to others at your own expense, and it becomes self-destructive if you feel compelled to always help people again at the expense of other personal priorities. Keep yourself in balance by being a bit more aware of your own needs first.

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.” ~ Brene Brown

So next question is – How do we make a paradigm shift in thinking when we seem to be wired to please? We have to acknowledge that it’s a slow process that involves having to modify what we believe in and not being “too tight” into your own true self.

In one way or another we eventually need to find ways to let go of our seemingly persistent need to please, and the courage to find our raw and vulnerable selves. Are you losing sight of it? If you feel that your answer is gearing towards a yes then that only means that boundaries may have not been clear to begin with. It’s usually the first sign that you’re being zapped out by the energy of worrying about disappointing others and that’s not so good.

We need to be clear with ourselves about what’s fine and what’s not so that we are able to communicate to others. We’re the only ones who can decide what we want in our lives.

Self-respect and setting up of boundaries go hand in hand and this includes confronting tough situations. It takes a lot of courage to be authentic, and this entails taking risks too – the risk of being disliked when we set our boundaries, but here’s where risk turns into something worth it and that’s respect for ourselves.

Key take-away points before I end are the following –

  • Be assertive. Practice speaking up for yourself and learn to say no.
  • Set your personal boundaries. Set one in your life and learn to stick to it.
  • Accept the fact that you can never please everyone. Life balances things or situations, you please some and the reverse.
  • You can never control what others think. You can never change someone’s thoughts but you can somehow influence them but don’t force it. It is what it is. The only person you can control is yourself.
  • Accept the fact that people won’t notice or even care as much as you think.
  • Love yourself. Set your needs as your priority and take care of you. Love and respect yourself unconditionally.
  • Self-care doesn’t equate to being selfish. Self-care is needed for your well-being, and it will in turn benefit the others around you as well.

So there remember that pleasing everybody is never a responsibility. If they like you for who you are then good. If not, then it’s their problem not yours.