“I want you to want me.
I need you to need me.
I’d love you to love me.
I’m beggin’ you to beg me.
I want you to want me.
I need you to need me.
I’d love you to love me.”
Cheap Trick –
Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
The Need to Please
What’s your experience with folks who need to please? Generally, folks who need to please seldom do. More often than actually pleasing, they are often annoying, anxiety-provoking, generating more irritation and negativity than positivity and gratitude.
Are you a people-pleaser? If so, there’s a better-than-average chance you learned how to be a people-pleaser at a very young age. The impetus was your (natural and normal) need to feel and be loved, acknowledged and recognized – a need which wasn’t met. As a result, people-pleasing in varied ways, shapes and forms became a survival mechanism.
Moreover, you may not have received permission to, or encouraged to, love yourself, to please yourself, to show your value and worth, or to trust yourself.
So, you (consciously or unconsciously) choose the strategy of pleasing others believing that if you did, others would love you back, others would see your value and worth, others would validate you when you could not, or would not, validate yourself.
How you show(ed) up
People-pleasing can be loud or quiet, overt or covert – talking non-stop or quietly maneuvering and navigating life to please others. You may constantly fuss over others driven by an “I hope I’m pleasing you” motive – when what you’re really asking is, “Please see me!”
The real downside of people-pleasing
What often occurs when one chooses to live a “people-pleasing” life is they give themselves away – their power, their strength, and their emotional and physic energy for the sake of the other. Putting others’ wants and needs first – the foundation of co-dependent and dysfunctional relationships.
While conscious and healthy relationships are built on a foundation of mutual consideration, the people-pleaser consistently puts the other’s requirements, needs and wants first. Sacrificing self-responsibility in favor of taking on being responsible to another.
When we care for the other in a dysfunctional way – by people-pleasing – we, more often than not, end up annoying the other, aggravating the other, and becoming angry, resentful and confused when the other does not appreciate our efforts, acknowledge our efforts or show gratitude in the way we would like.
People-pleasing is a most self-destructive and self-sabotaging way to attract love, recognition and acknowledgement. It never gets us the love and caring we want and deserve – ever.
Learning to love yourself, appreciate yourself and nurture yourself just as you are, right here and right now, is the most compassionate and effective way to reduce and eliminate your need to put others ahead of yourself.
Some questions for self-reflection
- Have you ever felt you were a people-pleaser? How did that make you feel?
- What does people-pleasing get you that you cannot give yourself? How so?
- Do you remember being a people-pleaser when you were young? What was that like?
- Do you remember being around people-pleasers when you were young?
- Do you ever feel guilty, ashamed or selfish when you put yourself first? Why?
- How do you feel when you do someone a favor and they don’t reciprocate?
- What baby step(s) can you take to put yourself first?
(c) 2016, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful. Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.
What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”
I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.
I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com
You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.