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Being a People Pleaser
Are You Looking for the Stamp of Approval from Other People?
People Pleasers - Are You One of Them?
We all suffer from various levels of self doubt, and other psychological insecurities. People pleasers suffer in greater degrees. When someone is full of self doubt, shame, and guilt, low self esteem, and unworthiness, they will strive to get the love and approval from all those around them. The problem is, that like a black hole, the need can never be filled and they never truly feel good about themselves.
So let’s say you are a people pleaser. The first thing to know, is that you are an okay person. Many people feel the need to please others. Let’s take a look at the way people pleasers feel.
How is your self esteem? When the judgmental views of others, the things people say about you, their opinions and criticisms can deflate your ego, you make yourself vulnerable to seeking the approval of others.
What does your personal story say about your independent nature or dependency on other people? By nature, human beings are social creatures. We want to belong, it is part of our evolutionary makeup. But sometimes through the experiences we have had as young children, there may be a fear of abandonment. This fear can create irrational beliefs that you need to please others so that you will be included in the family or social group.
Please Yourself First
What Is Your Story?
How would you rate your level of feeling overly responsible? Some people do not have boundaries about how much they really need to help others. Blaming yourself and trying to “fix” the world is a false belief in your own abilities that can set you up to never saying no and taking on too many things.
How much do you value yourself? Being more concerned about other people, having no personal boundaries about what you will allow another to ask of you, and what you will do for them. If you put your own needs last, or your own needs may not even make your list, and through the sacrifice of yourself, you give to nearly anyone that asks, you probably meet the requirements of a people pleaser.
What do you do about your own feelings? People pleasers often don’t rely on others for help. If you keep your own feelings and needs hidden from others, you are depriving yourself, probably because you focus on others, more than your own desires and wants.
Are you a rescuer? Those who find the need to help others, perhaps out of pity, and easily sacrifice themselves for this sake, do not have personal boundaries and will please others at any cost, even at their own self cost.
People pleasers dance to the tune of others. In a dysfunctional family, there often is a member who feels an entitled to be pleased. They are known as injustice collectors. Injustice collectors are unhappy people. Everything that happens to them, real or imagined they let everyone know and the people pleaser responds by trying to make everything right with them. , People pleasers jump and bow, and bend over backwards to accommodate them. Injustice collectors feel entitled and people pleasers feel everyone else is entitled, making the perfect dynamics for dysfunction in a relationship.
The Need to Please
Why Do People Try So Hard to Please Others?
Interacting with people and being part of a social group involves responding to the needs of others, it is an important part of social functioning. Those who don’t please anyone and only think of themselves are narcissistic, and that is not good either. A people pleaser goes to extremes. They are too invested in the external approval of others that they don’t pay any attention to the needs they have for themselves. They will say yes, even when it interferes with their own desires. People pleasers sabotage themselves. They don’t have an internal gauge that ranks the value of how their actions affect themselves. Validation from others is their driving force.
So why do people feel the need to people please so much?
- it may feel uncomfortable to say no
- to gain acceptance and love
- lack of assertiveness
- feeling little self worth
- they let others control them
- fear of abandonment
- fear of rejection
- fear of failure
The roots of people pleasing begin in childhood when children are encouraged to obey their parents, and in return are given conditional love. Unconsciously these children learn that they are only valuable when they comply with the requests of others and give into the demands that people make. It may come from getting conditional love from parents who gave them praise and encouragement when they did what was asked of them. Some children grow up feeling rejected or abandoned by someone important in their lives. When caretakers were emotionally unavailable or inconsistent in their responses towards a child’s needs.
Sometimes growing up in an environment with very critical parents can encourage children to adopt pleasing behavior. Criticism by a parent can create anxiety in the child and last a lifetime, as the anxiety becomes an ingrained part of a person’s personality. As a way to deal with the anxiety, a people pleaser will do everything they can to make things right, to ensure everyone’s happiness, to complete tasks that are asked of them, and do it as perfectly as possible.
People pleasing develops as a survival mechanism. Survival mechanisms develop at a young age, as a strategy to gain the safety, attention, and love we need. In trying to get the affection of our caretakers, we may have felt misunderstood, and disappointed that our needs were not met. We internalize these feelings in our young minds, and come to believe that if only we were better able to please them, then they would love us more, never disappoint us, and we will always win their approval. “Never” and “always” are impossible standards that we set for ourselves.
And so we set ourselves up to believe that we have to do to be noticed. When this is validated by the encouragement of our parents, we feel motivated to do it again to get a positive result. When pleasing others becomes a survival strategy that works and we become conditioned to repeat the behavior.
Awareness is key. If you don’t see what you are doing, you keep recreating the situations. It starts with looking at your own behavior and gaining an understanding about how you are acting out your survival mechanism in each and every interaction you have.
We identify ourselves in a certain way in large part because of the emotional baggage we carry around with us. These unresolved feelings, are wounds we carry with us from childhood.
Often in our early years, there are unmet needs, feelings of abandonment, and neglect, and parents who were not present emotionally. Because we are young and helpless, we are made vulnerable and left with a feeling of need, of not being good enough. In order to compensate, we create the situation for ourselves where we want to be needed by others, where we get someone else’s approval. And for that moment we believe we will feel fulfilled. But this feeling is ephemeral, it is temporary. The next moment we need to do it again, and we foster a state of dependency, and an inner lack of fulfillment.
We don’t really allow ourselves to feel good about ourselves, because at our core we feel undeserving. We fear abandonment and rejection. We can’t run away from our own fears, we can’t make everyone like us, we can’t make everyone happy because of things we do for them.
Beneath this type of irrational thinking is freedom. The freedom to live out the truth of who we really are. The ability to be able to find happiness in the things we want to do. The satisfaction of achieving things for ourselves, because of ourselves.
You Can Be More Than a People Pleaser
Within Your Answers, Is Your Future
Those who stay in a continued state of people pleasing are destined to live out their self depriving lives, trying to find love and acceptance that is void of respect and admiration, Healthy relationships are mutually giving relationships.
If you only have that because you are the one giving, take a good hard look at yourself. If you are bound by doing because of your fears of abandonment, ask yourself, how real they are now, compared to your childhood fears.
Ask yourself, what is the worst thing that will happen if these people walk away because you stop doing for them.
Ask yourself, what is the worst thing that will happen if you don’t change anything, and continue to do as you are doing.
Within your answer lies your future. If you keep things status quo, but want to change,counseling will help. You are bigger than your fears. You can learn to stand up for yourself, and find greater happiness than you know now.
If you are content to please people hoping and believing this is the way you will be loved, then know that your self sacrifices will compromise your happiness. We always have choices. No one knows you better than you.
When you have learned how to fill yourself up from within, you will have even more abilities to help others, to make the world a better place and to find greater sense of self satisfaction than you have ever known.