Do You "People Please" At the Risk of Your Own Happiness?


Being nice and kind is one thing. Being a doormat is something else. How to know which one you are

Robert Mitchum once said, "There just isn't any pleasing some people. The trick is to stop trying."  Another expression is "When we stop pleasing people, some people will not be pleased."

People pleasing is an ingrained habit that starts with wanting approval or wanting to be liked so badly, we say or do anything to please them. Other times we feel, inside, we are the screwup, the perpetual screwup, and we need to turn ourselves inside out to make people stay with us, love us, want us.

We give people many things they don't deserve from false compliments to large sums of money. Our behavior says, "Stay with me and I will make you feel good about yourself. Stay with me and I will solve your problems. Stay with me and I will give you a big payoff for it."

I've had clients tell me they give because they are generous or kind or loving or any other thing.  No, you give because you don't think that being who you are is good enough.  You give because you're foolish. 

We give to give reasons to stay with us.  All the reasons except the only one that matterrs,  "Stay with me because I am a good person."

Having a people pleasing personality or the tendency to do things that you should not do (take over someone's responsibilities, do too many favors, lend money) are all hallmarks of very low self-esteem. Just being you and just offering you and your friendship and/or love is not enough. You have to do, and do and do and please people without ever asking what do YOU want, how does this feel to YOU?

People pleasers are just focused on the other. They want to be liked, they want approval. They want to placate and to please.

Being in this mode takes us so far from who we are and what we want. In fact, when we are a people pleaser we don't even ask the question what do WE WANT? What do WE need? We are too focused on what everyone else wants and needs.

Whether you are the comic relief or the strong and steady friend or the scapegoat who is trying to stay out of trouble, people pleasing removes you from who you are and what you want.

Positive self-talk and affirmations are keyto losing the people pleasing tendencies. You have to believe you are good enough to have friends. You have to believe you are good enough to be in a relationship. You do not have to do ridiculous things like give false compliments all the time or lend money or be the one that everyone depends on to "be there."

Let go of the people pleasing tendencies.You might lose people who have come to depend on you for that, but they are not true friends or lovers if you cannot step out of pleasing them role without losing them.

Affirm that you are lovable just as you are...and let people love you for you. First you need to love yourself. Begin that task of loving yourself...of believing in yourself...and stop trying to be all things to all people. Just be okay for yourself and the people pleasing will cease and your relationships will be better. 

But the best part?  You'll feel that your actions and relationships are genuinely caring and not about what you, and only you, can give.


This article was originally published at GettingPastYourBreakup. Reprinted with permission from the author.