For most of my life, I have been the easy going one, the agreeable one, the pleasant one, the one who didn’t make waves, cause conflict or drama. I never tried to take up more space than I occupied (unless I was on stage) and I would often avoid conflict and confrontation because it made me super uncomfortable.
Are you a people pleaser? Here are some assessment questions to help you recognize some of the behaviors and patterns:
- Do you struggle to set clear and strong boundaries? Or feel guilty enforcing them?
- Do you overcommit yourself by saying “yes” when you want to say “no” and then resent doing whatever it is you’ve committed to?
- Do you have a hard time saying “no” in general?
- Do you feel bad asking for help or feel like you’re imposing when you do?
- Do you feel responsible for making others in your life happy?
- Do you feel like a chameleon where you show different sides of yourself based on who you are with?
- Do you feel responsible to fix things or immediately offer solutions when someone tells you about a struggle they are going through?
- Do you struggle with asking for what you need or for support in getting your needs met?
- Do you prioritize everyone else’s needs ahead of your own? Or sacrifice your own needs for the sake of others?
- Do you feel responsible for other people’s feelings? Possibly even thinking automatically that if someone is upset, that they must be upset with you?
- Do you feel bad letting others down?
- Do you find yourself agreeing with others even if you really don’t agree, in order to gain their acceptance, approval or recognition and to avoid confrontation?
- Do you tend to over-give more than you receive?
- Do you need others to like you? Or does it make you uncomfortable to know that someone doesn’t like you?
- Do you tend to apologize or accept blame for things that aren’t even your fault to avoid confrontation or smooth things over?
If you answered “yes” to many of the questions above, then you may be a people-pleaser as well. Yay! I’m not alone. Haha! Just kidding.
In all seriousness, while these attributes may all seem admirable, they’re actually not healthy when you’re not able to set clear and healthy boundaries or feel incapable of enforcing your boundaries because the idea of conflict and confrontation makes you so uncomfortable.
It’s so important to break the patterns of people pleasing because it can hurt you more than help you.
When you deny your truth out of a fear of rejection or because it makes you uncomfortable to see someone you love unhappy, you self-abandon and over time, you lose your sense of self.
When you constantly put other’s needs before your own, you start to erode your own sense of self-love and self worth because you are, in effect, proving to your mind that you aren’t worthy of having your own needs met, not even by you!
Your relationships then begin to reflect that lack of value back at you. If you don’t uphold your own value, no one else will and as a result, you may end up get stuck in a vicious, hurtful and painful loop where you accept a relationship, situation or circumstance that is less than you deserve.
As you can see, this dynamic of people pleasing is not sustainable. Eventually, you may end up depleting yourself and have nothing left to give. You may burn yourself out and then you won’t be able to care for yourself or your loved ones, even in a healthy way!
You may realize at some point that you are not responsible for other people’s happiness. That joy is something we each need to find within ourselves! That there is not a single person, thing or circumstance that can make anyone happy with any real type of longevity or sustainability.
You may also wake up one day and realize that you are no longer the person you thought you were. That you have spent so much time fitting yourself into box trying to bend and twist into so many shapes and forms just to keep others happy or to make things easy for them because you don’t want to see your loved ones struggle. Or where you say “yes” to every opportunity or invitation you’ve received because you feel bad saying “no” and as a result, you find yourself totally overcommitted to things that you now resent! I have been there and can totally relate!
When we get so far away from who we truly are, we may even start to eventually manifest physical symptoms of pain, illness and dis-ease – this pain can be emotional, physical, spiritual, mental etc. As a result, we start to lose connection to our joy, the joy that we all innately have within us. We just have to understand how to access it!
If you’re interested in breaking the cycles of People Pleasing, let’s chat and see how we can work together and get you living your life in a more self-fulfilling way!