15 Mar “Why Am I A People Pleaser?”
Whether you’ve been doing it for weeks, months, or years, you might find that after a while of running around after everyone else, always feeling like you have to say ‘Yes’, and doing everything you can to help people (even when they don’t help you back), you find yourself wondering…
“Why am I such a people pleaser?”
I’m talking about getting to the point where you’re prioritising other people’s stuff over your own, not taking good enough care of yourself, and still feeling like you need to do more and more for other people. Sometimes you do it even when it feels like they don’t appreciate you at all, and that just annoys you even more, but it doesn’t seem to stop you doing it. So, why are you such a people pleaser?
The answer might not be what you think – you just have to ask yourself two other questions.
1) How will I feel about myself if I don’t help them, or if I say no?
2) What do I believe they’ll think about me if I don’t help?
That’s probably going to give you your answer.
Because if you start to feel crappy about yourself for not helping someone else out, that’s a big fat clue that you’re beating yourself up by putting in rules that no one else is enforcing on you.
What’s the story? What’s the rule?
Is it ‘If I don’t offer to help, I’m a bad person’?
If it is (or something like that), then you’re probably trying to do things for other people to prove to yourself that you’re good, or helpful, or kind, or nice, or thoughtful, *insert whatever relevant word you think here*.
And it might make you those things – but it really depends on your motivation. There’s a big difference between ‘I’m going to help that person because I really want to and it’ll make me happy!’ and ‘I really should/need to help that person because if I don’t then I’m an awful, selfish person.’
See the difference?
If you want to help people out, that’s great. But if you feel like you HAVE to, then you’re never going to be happy doing it.
The other problem is going to be obvious in your answer to question 2.
What do you think people will think or feel about you if you don’t offer to help? Or if they ask and you say no?
Are you worried they won’t like you?
If that thought makes you feel just a little bit uncomfortable, then that might be the issue. The problem is that you’re doing the wrong thing to fix it. If you’re worried people won’t like you for saying ‘No’ or not offering to help, then you’re hoping to validate yourself in some way by doing things for other people.
You hope if you please other people enough, then maybe they’ll like you for it, and that in turn will make you like yourself more.
But it’s a false strategy, because even if they like what you do for them, that’s not the same as them liking you as a person.
And deep down, you know that.
So it becomes a hollow victory.
It can spiral becuase you’re constantly looking for that validation by helping other people, but the more you do it and it doesn’t work, the more you start to resent doing it – but you still keep trying to help because you’ve convinced yourself that it just might work this time! In fact, you might try even HARDER to please people and do things for them.
The big down side is you can really start to resent people for all the things you’re doing for them – even if they didn’t ask you to help. You insist on helping, hate every second of it, it doesn’t make you feel any better, and then it feels like a waste of your time. Then you’re mad at them for it, and they don’t even know what they’ve done wrong.
You know the real reason you’re mad?
You want them to appreciate what you’re giving them. But they won’t, not in the way that you want them to, because your efforts aren’t going to the right place. They need to go on you.
The truth is, you feel guilty and selfish for giving yourself attention.
It’s not selfish. It’s not bad.
It’s literally the only way you’re going to survive and stay healthy, both mentally and physically.
Your efforts and time don’t need to be going to someone else. Your efforts need to be going to you. You’re resenting people because you’re giving them what you WON’T give yourself and that will NEVER have the reaction you want it to. You subconsciously feel like they don’t deserve what you’re giving them, but that’s really because you haven’t given yourself what you deserve first. You’re not really resenting them. You’re resenting your own damn self for not doing for YOU what you’re so willing to do for others – be kind, considerate, caring, and give your time.
Helping other people in the hope that they’ll like you or that it will make you feel good is a poor substitute for actually just focussing on yourself and making yourself happy. Usually because we don’t always know what makes us happy, or we’re even just afraid to be alone with our own thoughts, so doing that feels like a good shortcut to happiness.
You have to look out for #1.
And guess what?
Once you do, you start to feel fulfilled in a way you never have before. And it will easily change that feeling from ‘I’m helping you because I feel like I have to’ into ‘I’m helping you because I want to!’ and that will change everything.
I’m not saying don’t help people – you absolutely can. But if you’re doing it to feel better about yourself, you’re in for a whole world of trouble! Take care of yourself first, and trust me, not only will you benefit but the people you’re helping will be better off for it, too.
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