People who are always trying to please others seldom do. More often than actually their behavior is counter-productive and they end up generating irritation, negativity and anxiety rather than positivity or gratitude.
What about you?
Are you a people-pleaser? If so, there’s a good chance you learnt your behavior at a very young age. The impetus came from your (natural and normal) need to feel and be loved, acknowledged and recognized. If you felt that these needs were not being, met people-pleasing emerged as a survival mechanism.
More than that, you may not have been encouraged to love yourself, to please yourself, to show your value and worth, or to trust yourself.
So consciously or unconsciously, you choose the strategy of pleasing others, believing that if you did, others would love you back, that they would see your value and worth and validate you when you could not, or did not, validate yourself.
People-pleasing can be loud or quiet. It can take the form of talking non-stop or quietly maneuvering and navigating life in an effort to please others. You might constantly fuss over others driven by an “I hope I’m pleasing you” motive – although what you’re really asking is, “please acknowledge me!”
The real downside of people-pleasing is that you are giving yourself away – your power, your strength and your emotional and physic energy – by putting others’ wants and needs first. So whereas conscious and healthy relationships are built on a foundation of mutual consideration, the people-pleaser consistently sacrifices their self-responsibility in favor of being responsible to another.
But the irony is that trying to care for someone else in a dysfunctional way more often than not backfires. We annoy or aggravate the very person we tried to please and end up becoming angry, resentful and confused when they don’t appreciate our efforts or show gratitude in the way we would like.
Put bluntly, people-pleasing is a 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.
Only when you learn to love yourself, appreciate yourself and nurture yourself just as you are, right here and right now, can you start to eliminate the 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?
– Do you remember being a people-pleaser when you were young? What was that like?
– Do you ever feel guilty or ashamed when you put yourself first? Why?
– How do you feel when you do someone a favor and they don’t reciprocate?
– What baby step can you take to put yourself first?
(c) 2017, 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.