Signs that you might be a people-pleaser

Let’s start this by doing a short exercise of answering these questions: Have you ever found yourself exhausted from bending over backwards just to make someone happy, even when it drains you? Or maybe you’ve noticed a constant feeling that unless everyone around you is pleased, you’re somehow falling short? If these scenarios sound all too familiar, you may be caught in the grips of a self-destructive vice known as people-pleasing. However, don’t beat yourself up about being a people-pleaser because you’re not alone and this can be dealt with. 

We’ve learnt that people-pleasing comes from fears deeply rooted in rejection, past traumas, or self-esteem issues. It’s essential for us to know the difference between being genuinely nice and falling into the trap of people-pleasing. The good thing is, being kind doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your well-being for others. Identifying you’re a people-pleaser is the first step towards embracing a healthier way of interacting with people. Here are the signs though:

The first sign is low self-esteem. Low self-esteem usually hides behind the mask of people-pleasing. You might feel like you need constant validation from others to prove your worth. This craving for external approval can leave us feeling vulnerable and dependent on others’ perceptions of us. It feels as though our very existence relies on being in everyone’s good books.  And this can be a nasty place to be. 

The next sign is that you think being needed equals to being loved. We could easily confuse the desire to be indispensable with the desire to be loved. You might believe that your best shot at receiving affection is through making yourself irreplaceable, even if it means putting your own needs last. Also, you worry that saying no to a request would make you seem selfish. This is a classic people-pleasing sign. Agreeing becomes the default, even at the expense of your time, resources, or preferences.

Lastly, apologizing or taking the blame even when you’re not wrong is a sign. You also hate to disagree with people, regardless of your true feelings or opinion. We’ve found ourselves in situations where it’s easier to nod along than to say an opposing opinion and risk not being liked from that. But, constantly suppressing your views for the sake of harmony is exactly how you lose your voice.

Please remember that kindness doesn’t equate to seeking approval. True kindness is free of any ulterior motive, beyond the simple desire to make someone’s day a bit brighter. So before we jump in to help, we need to ask ourselves: Does this bring me joy, or am I seeking validation? Remember, it’s important to reserve energy and emotional capacity for yourself. Prioritizing your needs isn’t selfish; it’s necessary for you to actually be generous.


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