News Flash – there is a HUGE difference between accommodating someone to honor the relationship and being a persistent people pleaser. Do you know the difference?
Sometimes accommodating others is necessary to sustain a relationship that you value, even when you would rather not. This is part of the give and take of relationship, but, when pleasing others becomes a compulsive lifestyle, rather than a compromise, take warning from this red flag.
I know first hand, growing up in a dysfunctional family environment, I learned early on that pleasing others was a gateway drug to perceived love, acceptance and safety. It became easier to put others needs first, as it eliminated the conflict, the guilt, and the fear of not fitting in. I found that when I expressed myself, when I pushed back, tried to express boundaries and finally had the courage to say no, that’s when I was punished.
As I became an adult, the people pleaser in me persisted. I put in extra time at work, but still felt unseen. I became angry at my family for putting me in compromising situations when I was younger. I resented my husband because I felt unappreciated. Yet I continued to sacrifice myself instead of sacrificing the relationship.
Does that sound familiar?
I felt trapped. Accommodating others became so ingrained in me that I lost touch with who I was and found myself in an abusive relationship not having the tools or the inner strength to face the overwhelming retaliation I faced every time I tried to exit.
The underlying belief was that I wasn’t lovable, and I had to go through my own dark night to reacquaint myself with the parts of me that I had hidden. It was a process of relearning self-worth, and self esteem, and healing the shame I didn’t know I carried inside. But this journey of self-reclamation has been the most life affirming I’ve experienced. That’s why the work I do as part of Love Yourself Now is so important.
Here are 8 questions to ask yourself regarding people pleasing:
- Do you apologize when you don’t have to?
- Do you resent others for not reciprocating?
- Do you always give more than you take?
- Do you forgive those who hurt you for fear of losing the relationship?
- Do you put more importance on other’s feelings than your own?
- Do you compare yourself to others?
- Do conflicts make you anxious whereby you avoid confrontation?
- Do you find it hard to set boundaries with some people?
Listen, there’s nothing wrong with being nice, but the first priority is to offer that kindness to yourself.
I hope these questions challenge your thinking, and if they feel true to you, that they help you shift your behaviors into greater self-awareness. Having healthy self-esteem is a key element towards your mental wellness, and gives you confidence to move out of the people pleasing obstacles and into a future of understanding your innate worth.
I’ll be honest, ditching the people pleasing has been scary. But, learning that not everyone has to like me has been one of the most liberating gifts yet. This sense of it’s okay to be me, unapologetically, has freed me in more ways than I could have imagined.
How about you? Do you ever find yourself playing the people pleaser, or are you soild in your self-esteem?
Know that I’m here to listen if you ever want to share, and that I always love reading your comments.