We want others around us to be happy. We certainly don’t want to rock the boat, because there are ramifications for changing a paradigm. People pleasing is a negative self-sabotaging behavior that steals your joy. When you stop pleasing others, this will shift your happiness quotient in a big way when you stop trying to please everyone.
1. When we give all we have to others, there is no time for ourselves. We put everyone ahead of us. We stay up too late, don’t make time to exercise, and don’t value ourselves enough to eat well, exercise regularly or take care of our needs. Poor personal boundaries are at the core of this issue. People who care for other’s needs forget about themselves. We might run our kids to karate, soccer, cello lessons, religious classes, correct the problems in rental contracts, leases, pay the bills, walk the dogs, clean out the litter boxes, make the beds, do the laundry, pull the weeds, mow the grass, have sex with our partner, cook dinner, pack lunches, answer e-mails, volunteer in our community and then fall into bed exhausted at night because we can’t say NO!
2. We put everyone first, before us. When we put everyone ahead of us, we make ourselves insignificant. When everyone comes ahead of you, no one takes care of your needs. Your needs are not met, and you become resentful, angry or depressed (never mind exhausted).
3. We are also perfectionistic thinking we have to be perfect. We might feel no one can do the dishes like we do, or pack the lunches as well as we do, or drive as safely as we do. We are unable to delegate effectively because we micromanage the way others do these tasks. We might even critique those who are attempting to take some of the workload away.
The Root Cause
Trauma in childhood is the root cause. Being a people pleaser is rooted in two unconscious programs. Fear of failure and our fear of rejection. We try not to disappoint others. Our fear is that we won’t receive love from them. We do for others so that they, in turn, will love us.
We may try our best to make decisions that make people happy. We look for validation from others to make us feel better. When we don’t get it, we might feel upset, resentful or angry. If we happen to be highly sensitive or empathic we might feel the other persons’ disappointment and attempt to fix it or heal them. We have to be okay with being able to say no, and allow the other person to self-soothe. We are not responsible for anyone’s happiness but ourselves.
We feel if we make a mistake or don’t do certain things for others we will be rejected or not loved. Often adults who have low self-esteem, like me (in the past) look for love from their children or partners. Our partners and children can’t give us our self-esteem, we need to give it to ourselves. Healthy boundaries and self-care are basic needs to allow us to feel independent and healthy.
Sometimes, our parents expected us to be perfect, or they would not give us love. The cornerstone of being a people pleaser is from
only being loved conditionally, when our behavior was good.
We were shamed as children and still carry shame unconsciously in our cells.
As adults, we feel shame when we aren’t perfect. When we have healthy self-esteem, we stop feeling the need to be perfect. There is such a thing as good enough, doing our best but allowing ourselves to have faults and flaws.
There is no such thing as failure, there are only lessons and gifts. JEM
When we lovingly accept ourselves as we are with all our faults and flaws, we have healthy self-esteem.