Updated: Jul 11, 2019
-Brittany Harp, LPC
As a People Pleaser in Recovery, I know all too well about the stresses and frustrations that come with trying to keep everyone around you happy. At one time or another, we all struggle with the desire to please others. Humans are social beings, and it is in our nature to connect with people. We need meaningful relationships to survive and thrive. However, there is a thin line between healthy social interaction and the emotional exhaustion caused by people-pleasing. As you continuously put others before yourself, your physical and mental health will begin to deteriorate. On top of the exhaustion, people-pleasers might also find that they are compromising their principles and values.
If you're not sure you are a people pleaser, check out these 11 warning signs below.
You feel responsible for other people's feelings, and you do everything you can to make others happy.
You pay close attention to everything you say or do because you want to make sure no one's feelings get hurt. You put your feelings on the back burner and place other people's needs first.
You can't say no.
You feel like saying no to the requests of family, friends, and even strangers feels extraordinarily overwhelming and stressful. The word no makes you feel like you are letting people down if you don't agree to the request. You may fear that people will be upset or think you are selfish.
You avoid giving yourself credit.
You give yourself very little credit or no credit even if it is deserved. You deflect praise or compliments to others because it feels as if you don't deserve to be noticed.
On the flip side, you are continually looking for validation or praise.
Praise makes everyone feel good, but people-pleasers depend on validation. For people-pleasers, self-worth rests deeply on other opinions about you, and you need this validation to feel good about yourself.
You apologize regularly.
You apologize for everything, even when you didn't do anything wrong because it is easier to take the blame for an incident than place blame on others.
You struggle to make decisions or share your opinion about something.
You worry that your decisions and opinions will not meet the expectations of others, and you fear you will let someone down. You are also concerned that your views or decisions may lead to conflict.
You feel anxious and upset if someone is angry with you.
The idea of someone being upset with you feels horrible, and you will compromise yourself and values to right any wrongdoing, even if you have not done anything wrong.
You avoid all conflict.
You avoid conflict like the plague, and you struggle to stand up for yourself, things, and people that you believe in.
You fear you are letting someone down.
You fear to let someone down, so you go above and beyond what's normal, lose sleep over things and do whatever you can to make sure everyone is happy.
You feel resentful or guilty regularly.
You fill your schedule with activities that you think other people should do or want you to do. If you don't do them you feel guilty, and if you do follow through and you don't want to do them you feel resentful.
You don't take time for yourself.
Taking time for yourself feels like you are selfish, and that's not OK.
While people pleasing has temporary advantages, it can be extremely detrimental to your well being. The first step is recognizing the signs of chronic people-pleasing. Start taking small steps by saying no, expressing your opinion or stand up for something you value. In my next blog, I will lay out some helpful tips that may help you into recovery as well.
If you're struggling to let go of these habits, seek help. Sharp Wellness can help you not only change your thoughts about yourself and the world you live in, but, we can help you build mental strength to create and live your best life.