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For those of you who don't know, a people-pleaser is someone who is virtually the nicest person you've ever met. They are always very helpful and almost never say no. You can always count on them for a favor and they spend the majority of their time doing things for others rather than themselves. Sure—on the surface, it doesn't seem to be a bad thing. What's wrong with a nice person? In moderation, there is nothing wrong with being someone others can count on. But—it can be a super unhealthy pattern of behavior. I am a people-pleaser and these are my confessions:
1.) I feel like I don't truly know myself.
I started my "people-pleasing" early on in life and I've spent a great deal of my adolescent days pretending to be someone I wasn't. I changed myself so much to please others that as I got older... I didn't really know who I was. Now, I've begun to slowly but surely peel away the parts of me that just aren't REALLY me. I've been figuring out what genuinely makes me happy, what inspires me, and what doesn't make me happy so I can cut it out of my life. Sometimes you get so lost in being the person you think others want and need that you forget what it's like to be yourself. FIND YOURSELF AGAIN!
2.) I feel guilty saying no.
When you spend a lot of time being a people-pleaser, the people you are benefiting can begin to take advantage. Whenever I use my newfound courage to tell people no, and mean it, I instantly feel guilty. I'm learning to let that guilt go. If you feel this way too, it would do you justice to let that guilt go as well. When people are used to getting what they want from you, they begin to feel entitled to your "yes" and might try to make you feel bad for not giving them that answer. Don't fall for their guilt-tripping. Like Dr. Phil once said, "You teach people how to treat you." Stand your ground!
3.) I bite off more than I can chew.
When you're a people-pleaser, it's not hard to wind up in a situation where you've taken on too much. I've had my fair share of experiences where I've taken on one too many favors for people. This landed me to feel super overwhelmed often! It took me a while to say to myself, "Listen, you are not superwoman—you can't do everything!" Remember that setting boundaries is a way of caring for yourself and it doesn't make you selfish or mean to tell someone no.
4.) I go to lengths not to upset others!
I am the queen of walking on eggshells! I don't get a lot of opportunities to be upset or angry because my brain's logic is: to be upset with someone is TO UPSET someone—a people-pleaser's biggest fear. This led me to bottle up a lot of my emotions over time which later resulted into a messy explosion of emotions. Don't suppress your emotions for the sake of others. You deserve to feel happy, too.
5.) I don't admit when it feels too much...
As a person whose main role is to serve and please others, it sometimes feels hard for me to admit when I'm not feeling okay. When you're the one everyone counts on, the pressure is high to always have it together. Sometimes people forget that you, too, need some help and you should speak up to let them know. Let others be there for you like you're always there for them.
6.) I need A LOT of validation.
Only true people-pleasers know that with it comes one really rewarding upside—praise! But the truth is, seeking validation from others will keep you trapped. I realized that what kept making me say "yes" to people was the fact that I looked forward to the praise I received after I helped them out. It was kind of like receiving a paycheck after all of my hard work. The reality of it was that the "happy" feeling I felt after receiving the praise was fleeting and the validation I've been looking for had been inside of me all along. Self-worth comes from within and it should always be your responsibility to validate your life.
7.) One day it just clicks.
One day I realized that I spend so much of my time giving my care, support, energy, money, and time to others that I never really get to see any of that love for myself. If you're a people-pleaser, you'll come to this realization too. You won't stop your tendency to people-please until you're truly tired of your efforts never being reciprocated, and you'll ask yourself, "What is this really doing to benefit me?" But don't worry—you always have the ability to reinvent yourself. You're always one decision away from a completely different life. So start living for you.