In cultures all over the world people pleasing is encouraged. Come to think of it, what could really be the dangers of being a people pleaser?
Someone who is a people pleaser is usually very nice to others. They take care of other people’s needs. They are very efficient and hard working. As they are perfectionists they have very high standards and expectations from themselves and produce work that makes everyone happy. They are very helpful and take on a lot of responsibilities.
With all this to count for, how can there be dangers in being a people pleaser?
People pleasing is just not about saying yes to others, it’s constantly trying to meet other people’s needs by decoding what they want from you or expect from you. People pleasers put others’ needs above their own.
They are completely fine with being inconvenienced. They look at setting boundaries as a threat to being perceived in a positive light and possibly risking abandonment.
There is a constant fear of abandonment, fear of being alone, fear of being left behind and fear of criticism. By being agreeable and doing things for others people pleasers try to protect themselves from these fears.
Like everyone else, people pleasers also feel angry and displeased by other people’s actions and choices. However, they tend to suppress these negative feelings, choose to keep quiet and rationalize these feelings. They are conflict avoidant. As much as it is difficult for them to receive negative feelings from others, it’s difficult for them to express them too.
The dangers of being a people pleaser
People pleasing can backfire. Here are a few dangers of being a people pleaser.
Loss of sense of self – One of the dangers of being a people pleaser is losing your sense of self and being completely out of touch with what makes you happy, sad, excited or angry. You might not have any awareness of what you might need or want.
Prioritize other people– People pleasers goal in every social setting and relationships is to identify other people’s needs and make changes in themselves to meet those needs. The danger is that by staying so attuned to other people’s needs they turn a deaf ear to their own needs of setting boundaries and protecting their own interest.
Low-self esteem – A people pleaser’s self worth is attached to seeking approval from others. Making other people happy by meeting their needs makes them feel worthwhile and accepted.
Difficulty setting boundaries– Boundaries are a way to express what makes us comfortable. A people pleaser is not only deaf to their needs they have no idea about what they want. They are very agreeable. The lack of connection with self keeps them unaware about their needs and they are unable to set boundaries.
Self-doubt– People pleasers struggle constantly with self doubt. Even though they please to not feel the fear of rejection, they are never sure if what they are doing is enough to protect them from abandonment. Therefore, they don’t know when to stop giving in order to please people.
Exhausted– As their self esteem is entangled with how successful they are at pleasing someone, they cannot say no to things and end up stretching themselves too thin and feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. In spite of feeling burnt out they continue giving.
Anxious– Anxiety is a people pleaser’s forever friend. In spite of losing touch with themselves and focusing all their energy in meeting other people’s needs, there is a constant fear of making mistakes and disappointing people. They try to protect themselves from abandonment by keeping others happy which keeps them anxious.
Taken advantage of– A people pleaser’s need to please can be taken advantage of by other people. Their inability to say no makes people take them for granted. It’s so important for them to be seen as nice people that they are unable to stand up for themselves and express the very reasonable emotions of anger and displeasure which shows up when you are being taken advantage of.
Any self expression feels like conflict– A people pleaser views boundaries and expressing their needs as creating conflict. They are so scared of being perceived in the negative light that they avoid expressing anything about their needs and feelings.
Cannot be their authentic self– We show our authentic self to the world in different ways. Some of them are by sharing our interests, opinions and beliefs with other people. In trying to please others people pleasers are mostly agreeable. They don’t share their opinion or interests with anyone. They just go along with whatever others want.
Feeling of loneliness– Even though people pleasers are liked by people. They are not able to form authentic relationships because they only show parts of themselves that they think will be accepted. They are liked for what they do for other people, most of the time people might not really know who they really are.
Resentment– People pleasers harbor resentment. When the intention behind taking care of others is to seek validation, if the validation does not come they might get resentful. Resentment can also generate if they relentlessly keep decoding other people’s expectations and meet them, but no one does that for them. Being overworked and burnt out can also cause resentment.
Being a people pleaser causes deep long lasting wounds. The dangers of being a people pleaser seeps into every facet of your life. In the article about how to stop being a people pleaser, you can find tips on what you can do to stop, feel free to check that out.
Get to know yourself- The first step is developing more awareness about yourself and how you communicate with people.
Gaining awareness about your feelings and physical sensations– Become aware of the exhaustion and uneasiness that your body is carrying.
Learn to say no– Start practicing setting boundaries for less scary things. Check out the article on how to say no politely for more tips. Remember to check out the article on how to set emotional boundaries to learn more about boundary setting.
I specialize in working with people pleasing. If you think people pleasing is something you are struggling with. Please get in touch with me to set up a free phone consultation.