People-pleasing might not sound all that bad. After all, what’s wrong with being nice to people and trying to help them out or make them happy? The thing is, being nice does not please everybody. People-pleasing therefore goes beyond simple kindness. It was defined by Erika Myers, a therapist in Bend, Oregon as “editing or altering words and behaviours for the sake of another person’s feelings or reactions.” Sometimes, it is a function of where one was brought up, a cultural slant to differ to those who are elderly or have an advantage over one either with experience or even education. It can also be because of fear of what another person thinks or feels.
There’s an opinion that people mistake being nice for pleasing people but then again, when you are nice you will please SOME people. There are actual perks to being a nice person, whether in the office or in a community, estate, social gathering of any sort. The nice person gets recommended for responsibilities, gets commended by customers, is not on a normal person’s bad side. Psychologically, being nice to people creates a sense of belonging. However, even in being nice or kind, you cannot please everyone.
So how do you know if you’ve been a people pleaser?
To know if you are a people pleaser, you’ve got to ask yourself the following questions and answer them truthfully:
- Do I find it difficult to say “No” ?
When you feel you are responsible for other people’s feeling and reaction, so you own things you don’t need to and make things your concern that doesn’t have anything to do with you. More precisely, if you have a hard time saying no because you don’t want to offend anyone or be disapproved by anyone then what are you? (Yup, a people pleaser).
- Do You Feel Anxious About Others’ Opinions of You?
When you have fears about people having a perceived though about you that you may not like and because of that you conform yourself to what you think they may like then you are a…? You got that right. A people pleaser!
- Do you create time for yourself?
If you don’t dedicate some time to yourself to rest, grow, improve but you are always available for others. Then you are a people pleaser.
The urge to please others can be damaging to the individual and potentially, to the relationships he or she has when they allow other people’s wants to have more importance that their own needs.
So how do you know if you’ve been a people pleaser?
People-pleasing isn’t inherently negative, part of having relationships with others involves taking their wants, needs, and feelings into account. These tendencies often come from a place of concern and affection. But trying to earn the regard of others usually means you neglect your own needs and feelings;
- You feel frustrated and resentful
If you spend all your time doing things for others, the people you help might recognize and appreciate your sacrifices. But they might not. So, being nice with ulterior motives can eventually cause frustration and resentment. This often bubbles out as passive-aggressive behaviour, which can confuse or even upset people who genuinely don’t understand what’s happening.
- People take advantage of you
Some people will quickly recognize and take advantage of people-pleasing tendencies. They may not be able to name the behaviour. But they do know you’ll agree to whatever they ask, so they’ll keep on asking. But this can have serious consequences. You might face financial problems if people ask for monetary assistance. If you’re a parent, this behaviour could have other consequences. For example, you might let your child dodge responsibilities because you don’t want to lose their affection. But this prevents them from learning valuable life skills.
- Stress and burnout
One huge impact of trying to please everyone is increased stress. This will happen when you take on more than you can handle for others. You don’t just lose out on time for yourself. You also find yourself with less time to get the bare essentials taken care of, you might end up working longer hours or going without sleep which will result in physical consequences of worry and stress.
It is therefore high time, you “stop” trying to please everyone by doing the following:
- Practice Saying “No”
Learn to Say “no” and think about what it felt like. Continue practicing saying “no” until you are not triggered by this word.
- Give Yourself Time to Make Decisions
Learn not to give an immediate answer, by doing this, you give yourself time to prepare to say “no” and be firm in your answer. Also, if you are not sure, it’s a perfect time to weigh out your options.
- 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.
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