I have been a people pleaser from a very young age.
I always thought that being a people pleaser was a good thing and that it actually made me a better version of myself.
I am realizing now in my late 20s that this is so horribly wrong. Being a people pleaser is the complete opposite of what I want to be.
The regular day-to-day duties as adults and parents are enough to make us feel drained. Add in the worry about whether or not we’re letting down others, and it’s simply too much to put on ourselves.
If you’re anything like me, you constantly wonder if saying no to something is going to make you come across as selfish or as though you don’t care about the other person’s needs.
Setting boundaries is an important part of life, and people pleasing strips any boundaries we may have away.
I came up with a list of reasons as to why I need to stop putting others’ wants and needs above my own:
1. People pleasing isn’t about pleasing others. It feeds our insecurities of what will happen if we do say no.
When we decide to say no or not show up to that party to which we’re invited, we feel as though we will be a huge disappointment. We can’t help shake the feeling that we absolutely let that person down. But here’s the thing, we don’t actually know if that person really cares or not. We just tell ourselves that they do. We assume that they will be upset with us, without actually knowing if this is the case or not (in most cases).
Think about when someone has to cancel on us last minute or says no to meeting up for coffee. Do we get extremely upset and write them off as a bad friend? No, probably not. So it is silly for us to think they would feel that way themselves. Once we understand that people pleasing isn’t actually about pleasing others, it may be easier to drop the guilt we associate it with.
2. It strips us of boundaries.
I mentioned this a little above, but this is a huge reason to give up people pleasing. For example, I had an acquaintance invite me to a party, and as a family, we decided that we weren’t going because COVID-19 was starting to get worse again. When I reached out to tell her, she seemed upset or seemed as though she was trying to make me feel bad.
Instead of standing my ground, I was actually reconsidering my choice because I didn’t want to let her down. I was questioning myself and what I knew I was comfortable with because of the fear that she may be mad at me. In reality, she probably wasn’t even trying to make me feel guilty, but that was how I perceived it because I was looking for anything to make me feel like she was, in fact, angry with me for canceling.
3. It’s just downright exhausting.
Going about our life worrying about every little interaction we have is just tiring. It drains us, but it is a vicious cycle that we might find ourselves stuck in. We have so many aspects of our lives that need our energy, attention, and presence. Allowing people pleasing to take up so much of that energy is just a waste.
I am not saying we shouldn’t care about others’ feelings and helping people out because we absolutely should!
We just need to find a balance that allows us to be okay saying no and not needing a “valid” reason to do so. Join me in letting go of your title of “people pleaser.”