You’ll never reach your goals if you’re trying to be all the things to all the people.
You could argue that it is not only in our psyche, but also in our genes, to seek acceptance.
Acceptance could be the difference between life and death when we were crowded around fires in caves, but it continues to matter today.
It feels good to be accepted. It makes us feel understood and safe. Part of something… a community, a family, a group who will care about your well-being.
The fastest way to be accepted is to do things people like. By being pleasing, you are much more likely to be liked and like leads to affinity, which leads to acceptance… see where I’m going with this?
It’s easy to slip into people-pleasing. And it’s symptomatic of a deeper issue: self-worth.
Many people-pleasers confuse pleasing people with kindness. They confuse being a doormat with being a friend, having a friend, and even mattering.
People-pleasing can be a serious problem, and a hard habit to break. Here are 10 signs that you may be trying too hard to please everyone:
Listening politely to other people’s opinions (even when you disagree) is a good social skill. But pretending to agree just because you want to be liked can cause you to engage in behavior that goes against your values.
2. You feel responsible for how other people feel.
It’s healthy to recognize how your behavior influences others. But thinking you have the power to make someone happy is a problem.
It’s up to each individual to be in charge of their own emotions.
3. You apologize often.
Whether you excessively blame yourself, or you fear other people are always blaming you, frequent apologies can be a sign of a bigger problem. You don’t have to be sorry for being you.
4. You feel burdened by the things you have to do.
5. You can’t say “No”
Whether you say yes and then actually follow through, or you later fake an illness to get out your commitments, you’ll never reach your goals if you can’t speak up for yourself.
6. You feel uncomfortable if someone is angry at you.
Just because someone is mad doesn’t necessarily mean you did anything wrong. But if you can’t stand the thought of someone being displeased with you, you’ll be more likely to compromise your values.
7. You act like the people around you.
It’s normal for other people to bring out different sides of your personality. But people-pleasers often sabotage their goals.
Studies show that people-pleasers engage in self-destructive behavior if they think it will help others feel more comfortable in social situations. For example, people-pleasers eat more when they think it will make other people happy.
8. You need praise to feel good.
While praise and kind words can make anyone feel good, people pleasers depend on validation. If your self-worth rests entirely on what others think about you, you’ll only feel good when others shower you with compliments.
9. You go to great lengths to avoid conflict.
It’s one thing not to want to start conflict. But avoiding conflict at all costs means that you’ll struggle to stand up for the things — and the people — you really believe in.
10. You don’t admit when your feelings are hurt.
You can’t form authentic relationships with people unless you’re willing to speak up sometimes and say that your feelings are hurt. Denying that you’re angry, sad, embarrassed, or disappointed — even when you’re emotionally wounded — keeps a relationship superficial.
How to Break Free From People-Pleasing
While it’s important to impress your boss and show that you can be agreeable, being subservient could backfire. And it can be important for personal relationships to know when to compromise or try new things…
You’ll never reach your greatest potential if you’re trying to be all things to all people.
Start getting out of the people-pleasing habit by saying no to something small.
Express your true feelings and opinions about something simple.
Take a stand for something you believe in.
Each step you take will help you gain more confidence in your ability to be yourself.
If you’re really struggling to let go of these habits, seek help.
Anything you can do to build the mental strength you need to create the kind of life you want to live will help.
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