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When I discovered what people pleasing is, I wasn’t sure if it was a good or bad thing. Is it a problem that I want to make people happy? Here’s what I discovered about what people pleasing is and why it’s a problem.
First of all, let’s talk about what exactly is people pleasing.
People pleasing is when you alter your words or behavior for the sake of another person’s feelings or reactions.
So, it’s not inherently a bad or a good thing. You just want to make other people happy.
However, people pleasing becomes damaging when you habitually put other people’s wants above your own needs.
So, here are some of the negative effects of people pleasing.
When you neglect your own wants and needs longterm, it disconnects you from yourself.
People pleasers tend to focus more on other people’s needs than their own, so it can make it difficult to actually connect with yourself, and to even be aware of your own needs and boundaries.
I really struggled with this myself.
Since I was raised as a people pleaser, I wasn’t very aware of what my boundaries were.
As you can imagine, that makes setting boundaries difficult when you don’t even know what your own boundaries are.
So, the first issue with people pleasing is that it disconnects you from who you are.
Secondly, people pleasing disconnects you from your needs.
When you habitually put yourself last, it can become very hard to verbalize your needs because you’re just not used to it. Nor, are you aware of what your needs actually are in certain circumstances.
This was another one I struggled with. Since I learned my needs weren’t valid, I learned to disconnect from them and ignore them. Then, I focused on meeting other people’s needs instead.
When you’re focused on only meeting other people’s needs and people pleasing, it tends to disconnect you from your own. This makes it very difficult to take care of yourself and feel good.
Another negative effect of people pleasing is that you can often feel frustrated or resentful.
When you give and give all the time, people might not recognize just how much you actually do.
And when you constantly give without recognition, this can be very frustrating.
Like when you always volunteer to take notes at work. Or to take on that extra random project your boss needs you to do. People start expecting it from you, yet don’t necessarily even notice how much you give.
So, when you consistently people please, it can lead you to feel frustrated and resentful.
Another issue is that when people get used to you always giving and saying yes to everything, they might take advantage of your good nature because they know they can.
For example, when you’re the one to always say yes to those extra work tasks, such as being the one who takes notes in a meeting, people will start to expect that from you. Yet it’s rare that you’ll be recognized for the extra work you put in, typing up the notes, organizing the information, and sending it out to everyone.
So, if you always give and give, it can lead to over extending yourself, and you can get burnt out very easily.
Yet another difficulty that comes from people pleasing is that you’re not your authentic self with others.
When you’re just trying to make people happy all the time, you’re not being real.
For example, when you never say what you actually think, you don’t give people the opportunity to get to know the real you, what you think or what you feel. You leave people in the dark on who you really are.
The worst part about this is that your relationships won’t satisfy you very much.
When you’re a chameleon and changing your personality to cater to whoever you’re with, you lose your sense of self.
Ultimately, people pleasing can make you hide parts of yourself, which leads to hiding who you authentically are.
And when you’re so disconnected from who you really are, it’s very difficult to shine your light and share your gifts with the world.
That’s another issue with people pleasing – is that you’re not able to shine your light because you’re trying to be everything to everyone.
When you spread yourself so thin, you don’t reach your full potential.
People pleasers will also avoid shining their light out of fear of other people’s reactions.
This is definitely the case for me! One of my siblings was a bully growing up, and hated when I shined. She would become mean and angry toward me. Eventually, I learned to hide who I was and to not let myself shine too much.
So, maybe you’re afraid that another person will become hostile toward you if you shine. Or maybe you’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings because you outshine them.
Whatever the case, when you people please, you stop yourself from shining. And the world needs your light!
So, let’s recap.
People pleasing is when you habitually put other people’s wants above your own needs. And it can lead to a whole host of issues.
Ultimately, habitually people pleasing holds you back from being who you’re meant to be, who you authentically are. But the world needs your light and for you to be who you truly are. If you’re a people pleaser, it’s time to start putting yourself first.