Are You a People Pleaser?

Caring about other people, wanting them to be happy, and being there when they need us is a wonderful route to take through life. Caring about the happiness of others is a wonderful trait.  Sometimes, though, we can go a little too far down that path. Sometimes, we can be too driven to please other people.

When you are always putting yourself and your needs on the back burner and everyone else’s needs and happiness ahead of your own, it can be very draining both physically and emotionally. Studies have shown that taking people pleasing to the extreme can actually have detrimental effects on our health and well-being. The truth is you can’t possibly make everyone happy at all times. It’s a goal you will never reach.

If you don’t pay enough attention to your own needs and your own happiness, it can keep you from being the best person you can be for yourself and for the other people in your life. Think about the emergency procedures on an airplane. We are told to first put on our own oxygen mask first, before attempting to help someone else. It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? If you don’t put on your mask first, you won’t be able to breathe. If you aren’t breathing, you won’t be of much help to anyone else.

By taking time to care for yourself, you are actually doing more to ensure the happiness and well-being of those around you.

Tips to help tone down "people pleasing" habits…

  • Love and respect yourself. Start thinking about yourself as you would a loved one or close friend. Know and respect what is important to you. Make sure you are able to meet your own needs and responsibilities before throwing yourself into making things right for someone else.

  • Set some boundaries for yourself. Take a few minutes to think in general terms about what you are and are not willing or able to do for someone else. For example, think about your physical, health, energy, and time limitations.

  • If in doubt, do not answer immediately. Give yourself time to think something over before saying “yes” or “no.” Remember, once you say “yes” or “no” you are pretty much stuck with your answer. It is perfectly acceptable to tell someone you need a little time before answering. While you are pondering the idea, be realistic about what saying “yes” or “no” will mean.

  • Just say “no,” without apologies or excuses. You have the right to say “no.” You don’t have to say “yes” every time to every request by every person, especially when saying “yes” might have an undesirable impact on – or be unfair to – you or the other people in your life. And you don’t have to make excuses or share your reasons for saying “no.”

  • Stop trying to win the “most popular” award. Accept and make peace with the fact that it’s okay if someone does not happen to think you are the “best thing since ice cream.” It’s okay. Trying to be liked by everyone is exhausting, not to mention IMPOSSIBLE. There will always be people who think you’re “just okay” and even those who may dislike you. Let go of the pressure to be liked and you may find life gets a whole lot easier.

  • Take off the “social director” hat. It can be fun to be the one who hosts most of the parties, comes up with the fun things to do, keeps the conversations moving along, etc. However, it can also be challenging and tiresome. Even if you enjoy wearing the social director hat, take it off once in a while and let someone else pick up the slack. Enjoy being a guest, spectator, or just part of the group.

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