People-pleasers are proficient at pleasing everyone . . . but themselves. They are master accommodators, intuiting what is wanted of them and–in both word and deed–bestowing on others the attentiveness and care they’ll typically deny themselves. So frequently they defer to others’ preferences that at some point they’ll actually lose sight of their own. Viewing their worth and personal security as totally hinging on pleasing or placating others, people pleasers usually end up forgetting who they are and what they themselves need to feel fulfilled.
They are so dependent on being approved and accepted by others that they are incapable of validating themselves independent of others’ confirmation.
Afraid to speak their mind for fear their opinions or preferences might be at odds with whomever they’re with, they can end up painfully indecisive—afraid to take initiative, or in any way rock the boat. Doubtless, however positive or attractive people-pleasers might appear to others on the surface, their concealed frustrations and fears are far more negative—and unsettling—than most people could ever realise.
So how do people-pleasers disencumber themselves of such a self-effacing, life-denying pattern? Or at least ameliorate it? The short answer is only gradually, and with much effort. In fact, typically people-pleasers are only ready to devote themselves to altering their self-obliterating ways when their lives have started to feel unmanageable and out of control. Ultimately, the solution for people-pleasers, as with so many other dysfunctional personality patterns, is to learn how to become more self-validating. Only through being satisfied with yourself within is it possible to undo the essential motivation for pleasing others—which, of course, is based on the need to earn their validation.
Some of the many methods useful for transforming the people-pleasing personality syndrome include the following:
And here I’m certainly not advocating that you become selfish, that you make your preferences your one and only priority. Rather, I’m suggesting you remind yourself that your needs are as important as anyone else’s, and that you should avoid going along with someone else’s agenda simply because it’s always been your “line of least resistance.” Do things for others because you really care about them—not simply because you’re afraid they’d abandon you if you didn’t.
P.S Ask me how I know all of this …………because I was a people-pleaser not too long ago and still going through the process of shaking it off.