Dec 3, 2021 in Life Coaching

Signs You’re a People Pleaser and Ways to Stop

Talks about people pleasing how it started and how to stop being a people pleaser

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What Is a People Pleaser?

A people-pleaser is a type of person who constantly goes above and beyond to make other people feel good. This kind of person is usually putting their own needs aside to cater for other’s needs. They will also put themselves in harm’s way for others who may or may not reciprocate.

People-pleasing usually comes from a place of insecurity and those who behave this way often feel that if they do, others will value them and accept them. Instead, these individuals are likely to feel burned out and resentful toward those who they always help, and as a result, feel too drained to meet their own needs.

I was taught that its important to care about others and to be polite and you probably were, too. Whats wrong with that? Isnt this how we should be raising our children? Well, the short answer is Yes, of course! But like most things, the devil is in the details. Its possible to overdo politeness and caretaking. Sometimes we call this the Good Girl Syndrome when the need to please gets out of control and we become self-sacrificing martyrs instead of well-balanced adults.

Yes, we should think about other people. We should care about their feelings and needs. However, we shouldnt only care about others and minimize or suppress our own feelings and needs.

And yet, many of us behave like we matter very little, if at all. We care more about others than we do about ourselves. Again, this may sound like a value you learned as a child, but its not sustainable. You cant remain a healthy, patient, kind, energetic, caring person if you constantly give but never replenish your needs.

Are There Personality Types That Are More Prone to People Pleasing?

While there are no specific personality types that are more prone to people-pleasing, we do know that individuals with low self-esteem and/or a history of relational trauma may be more likely to engage in people-pleasing tendencies as a coping mechanism.Everyone has needs. They range from the basics (food, water, clothing, shelter, sleep) to the more complex (belonging, connection, to be understood, physical affection, mental stimulation, spiritual enlightenment, and so forth). When we dont meet our own needs (and ask others to help us meet our needs), we get depleted physically exhausted and sick, irritable and resentful, discouraged or hopeless.What goes through your head when you think about speaking your mind, asking for what you need, or setting a boundary?

Perhaps your inner voice sounds something like this:

Will they be angry

Theyre going to hate me.

Im a terrible person.

I know they dont like me.

Theyre going to think Im difficult.

Whats wrong with me?

These types of thoughts are assumptions negative assumptions to be more accurate and they contribute to people-pleasing behaviors

Signs You’re a People Pleaser

You Cannot Say “No”

You have a hard time saying no because you want to be accepted and liked by everyone. You think the best way to do that is by being overly agreeable.

You Feel Anxious About Others’ Opinions of You

This also stems from insecurity—you have fears about people perceiving you in a way you may not like, so you conform your behaviors to fit into a box even if you are not being true to yourself.

You Apologize for Things You Don’t Need To

You feel as though you are responsible for other people’s feelings and reactions to everything, so you own things you don’t need to and make things your concern that doesn’t have anything to do with you.

You Always Agree in Order to Be Liked

You often say “yes” to be accepted and succumb to peer pressure. You feel like this will make people like and accept you.

You Fear Being Labeled “Selfish”

You are scared of being called selfish because that would mean that you’re putting your needs ahead of the needs of others.

You Feel Guilty Setting Boundaries

You feel as though others need you more than you need yourself, and you don’t set boundaries because you want to be helpful. You feel bad saying no to others, maybe because you have felt shamed for setting boundaries in the past.

The Danger of Being a People Pleaser

People-pleasing can become a problem because the constant feeling of needing to prioritize others before yourself can wreak havoc on your mental, emotional and physical health. It’s damaging to yourself to rely on people-pleasing behaviors to improve your feelings of self-worth. Putting others’ happiness ahead of your own emotional well-being leaves you unable to attend to your own basic needs.

People-pleasing impacts mental health significantly as well. It is linked with increased feelings of anxiety and stress-related to trying to simultaneously manage your own responsibilities and the responsibilities of others. This leads to less time for self-care, a higher risk of being taken advantage of, and the potential for burnout. This can create unhealthy relationships as there is an imbalance between taking care of yourself and taking care of others.

Ways to Stop Being a People Pleaser

Practice Saying “No”

Say “no” and think about what that was like, how you felt and where that came from. Continue practicing saying “no” until you are not triggered by this word.

Consider Your Priorities

Be aware of what your values and priorities are and if what you’re about to say yes to would compete with your needs. If your priorities are not going to be met because of what others are asking from you, prioritize yourself just like others prioritize themselves. Remember that your needs are just as worthy.

Don’t Apologize for Saying No

Say “no” without being sorry—you don’t have to feel sorry for prioritizing yourself. When you apologize, you lessen your own value and allow others to feel as though your needs could wait. Saying “no” without any other feedback or explanation can help you feel empowered to care for your own needs.

Identify Toxic Traits

When you say “no” and others don’t accept or respect the decision you’ve made, that’s an indicator that you should set more limits around that relationship—they’ve probably been taking advantage of you.

Set Boundaries

It’s important to set your limits and share those limits with people around you. If they respect you, they’ll be proud of your efforts to take care of yourself.

Consider the Source of the Request

It’s important to know and be mindful of who is asking something of you and how that person could support you as well. If this is someone who is always supportive of you and they are in crisis, it’s ok to be there for others and be a good friend. However, if you feel that other’s needs are more than you can support, they may benefit from professional help. It’s ok to share your concerns in a supportive and loving way.

Final Thoughts on Dealing With People Pleasing

While it can be hard to break the pattern of pleasing people, there are many ways to take note of your habits and find ways to combat them. Talking to a therapist or reaching out to a trusted friend or family member can make a big difference in how you feel.



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