Do you find difficulty in saying no or setting boundaries? Do you agree with people all the time just to prevent conflict? Are you worried about what people think about you? Do you struggle with self-confidence?
If you said yes to any of the above questions like I had for so many years, then chances are you are a people pleaser. A people pleaser is someone who tries hard to make everyone happy, even at their own expense.
People pleasers often say "yes", in spite of their desire to say "no". If the pleaser doesn't know when they need to say no, it can leave them feeling drained, aggravated, and taken advantage of. Simply put, people pleasers try to be the nicest, most helpful people you know and will always go the extra mile for someone no matter the cost.
Why Being a People Pleaser Can Be Toxic?
Being kind isn’t a bad thing, except when people pleasers take it to the extreme, which can lead to losing their sense of worth, self-respect, authenticity, and self-esteem, not to mention the constant internal conflict and the feeling of misery and unfulfillment.
While the world needs more kindness by helping others and giving them attention, time, and assistance when they can, people pleasing becomes toxic when the pleaser doesn't also take care of themselves.
Being selfless is often associated with being a good person and most of us are people pleasers to a certain degree. Our schools, churches and our social groups all encourage us to be selfless. We were conditioned to constantly pursue external validations, acceptance, approvals, and respect in order to fit in. This can become problematic when we start living our lives based on the fear of how or what other people may think or feel about us. This is the point it becomes unhealthy, and we sacrifice our authentic self. Sacrificing our authentic self means we:
cover up our own feelings
we don't speak up to avoid confrontation and to keep others happy
agree to plans we aren't interested in
act as though we are perfect, and nothing is wrong
These actions can often cause us to feel resentment towards the person we set out to help. Saying “no” to someone in need can be very difficult and uncomfortable to be able to express their genuine thoughts, they may pretend to be happy.
Many people pleasers believe:
"If I align and conform to other people's expectations of me, everyone will start liking me, I’ll receive their approval, respect and acceptance."
"If I'm kind to everyone, everyone will be kind to me."
The answer to all these assumptions is false. In fact, when you start setting your own boundaries and saying what you really feel, it often happens in time that people will respect you more.
Learning to have boundaries is an important way to start finding balance between wanting to help and not putting yourself out so much that you start to suffer yourself.
5 Ways to Becoming More Authentic
Being able to identify your tendencies and behaviors and accepting them is a very powerful tool. This gives you a clear sense of the issues of people pleasing, which in turn will encourage you to be your authentic self aligning with your own thoughts, beliefs, fears, and motivations.
2. Make a conscious effort to say NO, when you want to
Find a better and more polite way to communicate your discontentment with the situation. Saying no in a polite but affirmative way is a powerful tool to use.
3. Don't be in rush to give a reply
Learn to say, let me get back to you or that sounds like a great idea, but let me check my calendar. This little delay helps you put things in perspective and come up with a better reply.
4. Practice self-love
A little self love and compassion go a long way. People pleasers often don't like themselves much because they constantly ignore what they want or desire, therefore they’re always in conflict with themselves. Learning to genuinely love yourself can happen when you accept, approve, and are always in sync with yourself.
5. Be genuine in your views
Voice your opinions without fears. You must practice how to communicate your genuine feelings and stand behind every situation. Lying about your legitimate feelings keeps your relationships very superficial. We can agree with peopl