Monday, November 18, 2013

How to Identify People Pleasing Behavior

Are you a people pleaser? People pleasing is a symptom of low self esteem. It occurs when you think other people are more important than you. People pleasing stems from a need to prove yourself to others, or to make up for some perceived inadequacy you believe you have.

A people pleaser has an unconscious notion that he or she has to work overtime, or over compensate for some flaw inside. Feeling inadequate, insecure and unworthy can lead you to bending over backwards to make others happy. A people pleaser is a doormat who doesn't consider her own well being while going the extra mile for others. People Pleasers allow others to take advantage of them, and to disrespect them in numerous ways.

Ways to Be a People Pleaser
  • You hang out with people you don't like just to have someone to hang out with.
  • You go to church just to please your parents. 
  • You play a sport you dislike just to be around cute guys (or girls).
  • You buy someone lunch regularly without expecting them to buy yours sometimes.
  • You fly across the US to go see them without them offering to come see you too.
  • You talk to them on the phone when you'd rather be doing something else. 
  • You go with them some place that you would rather not go.
  • You overlook your responsibilities to make sure they are comfortable.
  • You neglect your family to take care of the last minute whims of your boss. 
  • You never make posts on Facebook that reflect your truth but that others may not agree.
  • You continually call another person without getting reciprocation. 
  • You allow another person to hurt you without letting them know and asking them to stop.
  • You do things that are contrary to your values in order to make the other person like you. 
People who try to make everyone but themselves happy end up resentful, bitter and victimized. They are doing the work that belongs to other people, all the while cheating themselves of the energy they need to please themselves. 

It's one thing to be nice to others, to be generous and giving, but another to give everything you have away, be it time, money, resources, energy. Some may think that in order to be a "nice person," you have to make everyone happy. Others mistakenly believe they are bad when they can't make everyone happy, and this leads to guilt. You can never make everyone happy, so people pleasers tend to feel guilty most of the time.

Ask Yourself Why?

If you feel you are a people pleaser, you may need to take a step back and ask yourself why. What makes you feel you need to do so much for other people to make them happy? Why are you sacrificing your peace and happiness to give to other people in your life? Do you think that's your payment for being on planet earth? Do you not feel that you are worthy of just being who you are, expressing how you feel and taking care of yourself first? Do you think you're being noble? religious? Mother Teresa? Why are you so concerned that other people are happy without considering your own needs?

Next, you have to figure out how. How are you behaving in ways that are people pleasing? Here's a few questions to ask yourself when you're wondering if what you're doing is to please others or to please yourself.

1. Why am I doing this right now?
2. How do I feel about what this person is saying to me?
3. What am I trying to gain by doing what I'm doing right now?
4. What am I telling myself about why I'm doing what I'm doing?
5. What am I trying to get the other person to do by pleasing them?
6. What do I expect will happen if I succeed at pleasing this person?
7. What am I afraid will happen if this person is not pleased with me?
8. If the other person is pleased, how will I benefit?
9. Could I get what I want on my own without pleasing this person?
10. Am I in touch with my needs and wants enough to know that I'm sacrificing myself?
11. Is this person interested in reciprocal pleasing?
12. Do I resent what I'm doing to make this person happy while denying my own truth?
13. Am I compromising my values in order to be accepted and liked by this person?
14. Do I have the ability to say no and mean it?
15. What will happen if this person is unhappy with me? 

People pleasing is a form of manipulation. It's the process of trying to manage your image in the eyes of another person. Unfortunately, this indirect communication is sending the message that you feel unworthy of them and it causes them to disrespect you. It's impossible to respect a doormat.

You can't control what other people think of you, so give up. It's a lost cause. You will never win. Some people will always think you're crap and other people will love you. It's much easier to kick those who don't like you to the curb, and to hug those who love and respect you for who you are, without the fancy footwork.

People Pleasing Stems from Fear 

I think a big reason why people try so hard to make others happy at the expense of their own needs, wants, values and preferences is because of fear. People pleasers fear stuff like...

- Fear you're not good enough to assert yourself.
- Fear you'll be abandoned if you don't make the other person happy.
- Fear you might have to face the void in your own heart if you aren't accommodating to another.
- Fear you won't be liked and accepted.  (We all want and need that.)

The fact is that you are good enough to be who you are and to be loved at the same time. There is no need to pile on a bunch of extra stuff. Being nice is one thing, but over-giving is detrimental to your well being. You need the stuff that you give away in the people pleasing relational transaction.You need to keep some of you for you in order to have a fulfilling life. Trying to get other people to like you is not the path to peace, but rather, the path to pain. No one can give you the approval you need anyway; only you can give it to yourself.

Empower yourself! Think about what YOU want and what YOU need. It is not selfish to take care of yourself. It is not selfish to speak up for yourself. It is not selfish to say no to others. It is not selfish at all. You lose yourself when you try to make the whole world while ignoring your preferences, your values and your truth.

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