The feeling of helping someone is undeniably a good one. It’s nice to be needed and know that you’ve made an impact on someone’s day. However, if you have a habit of putting other people’s needs and wants ahead of your own in a way that has a negative effect on your life, you could be a people-pleaser.
People-pleasing is a problem that many are unaware of. While there is something admirable about being helpful, regularly putting others first could cause problems in your life. Shockingly, the need for acceptance may also point to some deeper issues within yourself.
“For many, the eagerness to please stems from self-worth issues. They hope that saying yes to everything asked of them will help them feel accepted and liked. Other people-pleasers have a history of maltreatment, and somewhere along the way, they decided that their best hope for better treatment was to try to please the people who mistreated them. Over time, for them, people-pleasing became a way of life,” reports Psychology Today.
Thankfully, there are techniques that you can incorporate into your life that will help you stop being a people-pleaser.
Signs that you may have a people-pleaser problem
If you’re unsure about whether you’re a helpful friend or a full-blown people-pleaser, Psychology Today reports that there are some telltale signs to reveal whether or not your eagerness to please is a problem.
If you feel responsible for other people’s feelings, or tend to agree with everyone just to keep the peace, you may be a people-pleaser. In addition, being uncomfortable with confrontation or feeling weighed down by your tasks are other signs that you need to fill your cup before helping others fill theirs.
Author Harriet Braiker tells Oprah.com that women are especially susceptible to fall into the trap of people-pleasing. “Women are raised to take care of other people — and to seek their approval and love by doing so. We prefer that everyone else gets their needs met without any conflict. But what people pleasers don’t understand is that no matter what they do to make others happy, they are still left feeling empty,” Braiker said.
If you find yourself feeling like there’s just too much on your plate, it may be time to sit down and reflect on what’s in your best interest and put an end to your role as a people-pleaser.
How to break your people-pleasing mindset
Woman’s World spoke with Erin Leonard, Ph.D. about ways for people-pleasers to regain control over their lives. Leonard admits that there is hard work to be done to break the bad habit.
Before you actively begin the process of changing your ways, you’ll need to ask yourself some tough questions. Dig deep to figure out the real reason why you’re so eager to accommodate others and what your people-pleasing is costing you. “Saying it aloud gives you data you can analyze,” Leonard said.
After a bit of soul searching, you’ll be ready to set goals. Psych Central reports that one way to change the pattern is to set a time limit when you agree to help someone. This gives you the power to walk away from the task and go on to focus on your own priorities. Another tactic is to simply say no. While you may find this hard at first, it can be a very liberating step to achieving your goal.
“Saying no frees you to pursue a dream—to take a class and develop your potential, or to work for a cause you believe in. The more time you can give to the things you truly care about, the more satisfying your life will feel,” reports Oprah.com.
It’s important to have a support system such as family, friends, or a therapist to help you along the way. Taking care of your physical and mental health should also be a priority during this time.
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