“People pleasing pleases everyone but the pleaser.” - Sanjo Jendayi
Looking back on my life, I realise that I’ve spent quite a lot of my time trying - trying to be perfect, trying to be appreciated and liked by everyone around me. Trying to fit in with groups, so that I could feel accepted, approved and liked.
I can recall situations when I did things I didn’t really want to do, to comfort or please other people. I was a master of people pleasing and it wasn’t always because I wanted to make everyone happy. The truth is that I wanted people to like me. I expected them to give me the things I wasn’t giving myself: love, care, acceptance and attention.
People pleasing is an unhealthy behaviour, a clear sign of low self-esteem. It is disempowering, inauthentic and extremely time and energy consuming.
But worst of all, people don’t associate people pleasing with a higher risk of physical disease, but it is true. People pleasing can lead to increased risk for all the major diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity and all manner of maladies related to chronic inflammation. It also leads to depression, anxiety and a host of psychological issues.
The results of a recent poll conducted on my Facebook page was quite eye opening - a staggering 77% of those who took part considered themselves people pleasers!!
Though I have to say, this does not surprise me, many of the clients I see would be considered people pleasers - though they might not even be aware!
Chronic people pleasing equals chronic stress. When you live in chronic stress, you put your physiology (body) at risk. Here are seven examples of how:
1. Resentment: the people you are pleasing end up taking you for granted, leaving you with a feeling of chronic resentment.
2. Anxiety: People pleasing goes hand in hand with social anxiety. You please to get approval, which you rarely get. Why? Because others don’t possess the power to give you the deep approval you seek!
3. Going along with the crowd: When you do this, you give yourself up to crowd mentality, which is often unhealthy. Overeating and drinking all kinds of unhealthy social behaviour are the result.
4. Needs never met: As a people pleaser, you are very likely to neglect your own needs.
5. Lack of support: We all need support from others. People pleasers, sadly, tend to get less support because they do not ask for it or demand it, and feel let down others have not offered to help automatically.
6. Loneliness: People pleasers are often lonely and feel empty inside because nobody sees who they are or what they need. Connection is a basic need that when neglected causes stress.
7. Self-loathing: So many people pleasers hate themselves because they do not speak up or stand up for themselves, or after a while explode inappropriately with all their pent up feelings. In a state of self-loathing, it is so hard to take care of yourself.
Chronic people pleasing at the expense of your own needs is self-sabotage.
People pleasers put others in charge of them by virtue of their subservient actions and go-along attitude. This is called a control attachment – a pervasive tendency to seek to be controlled by others.Whilst others please others in the aim to control situations and people to feel safe.
Why do we do it?
It is all about Limiting Beliefs and our negative emotions we’ve developed over our life time.
It is possible that you can be living with constant anxiety of what other people might think or say about you, because you have created one of many limiting beliefs possibly including:
- If you are nice you won’t upset others
- If you get angry with others you are a bad person
- I am worthless/they are better than me
- I have no place on this planet
- I need approval to feel good about myself
- Other people have all the answers
- They won’t like me if I say ‘NO”
- I’m not confident and so pleasing others, makes me indispensable and so gives me a chance to be part of a group
It’s worth noting that people pleasing can have a positive benefit to some part of your mind. Yes, you might feel wretched, resentful and self-loathing after giving again and again, but some part of you believes it needs to do this to gain due to:
Remember when we are kind to others we feel good about ourselves, so is a way to feel good ourselves. Just like the saying “Mother Theresa was the most selfish person in the world as did everything for others to feel good in herself”. Now I can’t say I agree totally with that, but it does make you think about our own pleasing actions and the reasons behind them.
There's no quick fix to stop being a people pleaser immediately, as you will have many limiting beliefs holding you back.
The key thing to remember is that you're breaking an old habit, and as they say, old habits die hard — it's going to take time and work, but making sure you're valued in your relationships is always worth it.
Next Sunday I will share with you some valuable insights in to how you can overcome being a people pleaser, its not easy, but it is possible - and sometimes you need a little help and support.
In the meantime, if you realise being a people pleaser is affecting your life in a negative way, please do get in touch for a free 15 minute consultation to see how I can help you be the best you can be.