Hi, my name is Lupita and I am a recovering people pleaser. I have naturally always loved to see people happy around me. Dancing, singing, and pretty much being obnoxious as a child was my thing. As a teenager I was drawn to participating in dance groups, choir, and in anything that really entertained people. So, as I got older and dancing my way through life wasn’t an option I turned to favors to make people happy. The problem with that is that as a child I tried to entertain people and put a smile on their face. As I got older it became people pleasing.
Now helping people, especially those that may need you is good. There is something beautiful about selfless acts of kindness. The problem begins when pleasing others becomes the forefront of your life. People pleasing is not the same as helping others, lets make that clear.
Helping others is when you assist people, to extend your hand, or to give from what you have. Whether that’s material assistance, or, emotional support, mental guidance, resources. There are a million ways you can help someone. One thing we must be clear about is that help is shared from what we have, or what we can provide. You can’t give someone a million dollars if don’t have them right? What you can maybe do is spread the word, or share resources, contacts etc. Helping others is about the other person. Its selfless, its loving, and its positive and beautiful.
Now people pleasing is when you do things to make others happy with you. Its not based on others, its based on you! It has more to do with what we lack, then what others may need. Its when we lack confidence, self love, and self understanding that we tend to put other’s needs before our own. That’s when we tend to wait for others opinion to make it our own. We fear speaking up because we lack self awareness, self love, and therefor confidence to speak up. The problem with people pleasing is that givers without focused purpose attract takers with alternative motives. How can you blame takers though? Its like putting out a basket of candy on Halloween with a sign that says “take as you wish” but then get mad if trick or treaters grab as much as they want. We cannot blame takers for being takers if we are endless givers.
I realized my problem with people pleasing when I found myself crying drained emotionally and in a situation that broke my heart from someone whom I thought I could trust. This situation caught me off guard because I still had helping and people pleasing confused. I thought I had been helping this person by agreeing with their point of view, by going out my way to do things for this person. However that was not the case. I kept giving and giving and that person kept taking and taking. So how can we tell we are people pleasers before we end up in situations that pain us and break us?
Before we talk about signs of people pleasing and what we can do, I want to clarify one thing. That the less we know ourselves and what we stand for, the easier it is to fall for what others want us to. Takers will want to push, pull, and manipulate anyone that doesn’t have a firm ground. So if that’s the case please address that.
1. When “ helping” makes you feel drained
Usually when a favor or helping comes from feeling like we “ have to” it can drain us. It doesn’t come from good intention it comes from fear. I have talked about our Energy in another blog. Fear or feeling like you have to do something is you using your energy in a negative way which will drain you. If you are feeling drained after helping someone that may be a sign you are people pleasing.
2. You ask, “ are you okay?” Way too often
When we help we want to make sure we extend our hand to those that need it. However, when we people please we can tend to walk around asking people if they need our help. People pleasers desperately want to feel needed. Which goes back to that lack of self love.
3. You agree even when you don’t
People pleasers like I said before fear of not being loved so with that they begin to fear their own opinion. So they rather agree with the opinions of others even if they truly don’t agree.
4. You dread doing certain tasks or favors
When I was a people pleaser there were certain favors that I dreaded, why? Because I knew they did not align with who I was but I felt like I needed to do it because of course I wanted people to like me. These favors were uncomfortable for me, and I dreaded every second of them and I felt drained after them. Dreaded favors is a sign you are not helping, you are people pleasing.
5. You can’t say NO
In having this desire to please and for people to need you the ability to say no doesn’t exist . It doesn’t matter if you want to, or if you agree with it. Which is a problem because without our ability to say no people will take until you are empty.
6. You find yourself apologizing often
Again, with this desire to be accepted, loved, or needed by others you live on eggshells. You apologize constantly. Again it’s this need to make sure others are still okay with you. This is such a toxic way of living.
7. You don’t speak up ( thoughts or opinions)
As you can tell by now the patter in a people pleaser is this fear of being themselves, is this need for acceptance because there is a lack of own acceptance. So speaking your truth is no different. People pleasers tend to not speak their truth, or what’s on their mind.
8. You react instead of acting in situations
Of course when you don’t speak your mind you tend to react instead of act. You wait and see how others respond to events, ideas, comments, or anything and then you react.
9. You don’t have your own opinion
Again, when you constantly wait for others to have a reaction and you wait for others to have an opinion you tend to lose your own. You wait for others to have one to make that your own. I believe all that stems from this lack of self love and self awareness. It definitely did for me.
10. You live caring what others think of you.
And of course, you live caring what others think of you. I think this is really the overall theme or reason why people please. You care too much what others think of you. I cared so much to the point I hid who I was to become who I thought people wanted me to be.
Now I know how this feels and I know it’s not easy to live this way. I’ve been there. Pleasing people was my go to action at my darkest moments. I wanted to feel loved and accepted that I did and agreed to some things that I really didn’t stand for. So before I go into the following 10 tips I want you to really work on self love and self acceptance.
1. Know you have a choice
Everything in life is a choice. Know that you don’t have to meet everyone’s needs. You can choose to pick what matters, who matters, and who truly needs your help.
Learning to prioritize will make so many things easier including determining who truly needs your help. Determine what’s important to you, that must come first. By prioritizing you don’t allow people to come in your life with their emergencies, and their wants.
3. Set Boundaries
In prioritizing you can now set boundaries. Make clear where people can’t cross. When we have clear boundaries we let people know where you stand. As people pleasers we can sometimes have no boundaries or are boundaries can be so vague that we can’t blame people if they step over them. So set boundaries and make them clear.
4. Say No
Say no more often. It’s okay to say no. Once you know what you are prioritizing and you know your boundaries saying no is saying yes to what matters. I wrote a complete blog talking about The power of saying no read it and understand that saying no many times is actually a good thing.
5. Speak up
If you have an opinion, speak up! The more you speak up the more comfortable you will become with stating where you stand.
6. Act instead of react
With that being said, if someone or something Occurs try to speak your mind first as often as you can. Now, I’m not saying you need to be prudent or aggressive but when possible speak your mind first. This allows you to say what’s on your mind and you don’t wait for others’ opinion to then make that your own.
7. If you don’t like it, don’t do it.
It’s truly as simple as that. If you don’t want to do it just say no. Practice your free will often. I know it’s hard when we want people to like us but you will feel more free the moment you stop doing things you dread and start doing things that matter to you.
8. Don’t make excuses for takers
When we want to please people and make them happy , we many times make excuses for them over stepping our boundaries. We make excuses for why we must do as they say. We might say “ I really don’t want to do this but she/he really needs me.” Stop making excuses for takers.
9. Create Balance
Every relationship whether that be friends, business partners, intimate partners, or co-workers there should be a give and take. The moment it becomes a give only from one end and take only from the other end it becomes an unbalanced relationship. It becomes toxic. Remove people who only take and make sure people in your life also give.
10.Surround yourself with people who empower you
Ultimately you want to surround yourself with people who empower you to speak up. People who ask you for your opinion. Who ask when they need help but who are also willing to help you. Those are the people you keep close.
I hope this tips can help you become a helper when needed and stop being a people pleaser. I know it’s hard. We grow these habits out of trying to fit in. You deserve more than to fit in. You deserve to stand out.
Remember, you can do this!
Written by: Lupita G.