“When you say ‘Yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘No’ to yourself.”
Have you played the role of a people-pleaser in your life? Of course, you have. It’s there in our nature, unless you are a real yesteryear Mr. Scrooge. We have this tendency to please others so as to make them feel good about us. You wish to earn their approval, their respect. There is nothing wrong in that, and one can even say it’s natural, but the problem begins when we try to please every person who touch our lives.
Problem of being a people-pleaser
Psychiatrists consider people pleasing nature as a problem. They see it as a mental disease. This is because making everyone around you to like or love you is impossible. Similarly, dreading others disapproval and acting accordingly is not practical.
You are likely to face innumerable problems if you act on the genesis that others should always like you. This mindset will compel you to keep quiet about your feelings where it hurt others sentiments. You may also refrain from speaking your mind to avoid unpleasantness in relationships. Thus, you practically side step your real self to act in a state of pretension. These actions are seeds for future problems created by not being honest with yourself and others.
People-pleasing can be a cause of graver problems to those possessing this mindset. Others will always tend to look at such an individual as a “Yes Person” who never says “No”. This puts immense pressure on him to tolerate undesirable situations. It is as if such a person has no choice of his own. He will be the person who always change his plans for others at a moment’s notice. He is always the person who takes more work and stays up late. He is always there to abide by others convenience. He always say yes no matter what. One can imagine the mental pressure and the physical hardship such a person goes through in these circumstances.
Are you a people-pleaser?
Now, are you a people-pleaser? Are you a person who willfully carry burdens for others? If you are, then have you ever thought about the mental and physical hardships you go through for being such a person? Think over it. I am sure you will dread the experience of even thinking over such a prospect. I know such ruminations could end up becoming a strong reason for changing your nature.
Reasons to avoid this nature
Here are a few strong reasons to avoid becoming a people-pleaser.
Individuals possessing this nature tend to attract lesser people towards them. You may wonder – how can that be possible because the whole intention of being a people pleaser is the opposite – to get more people to like and love you isn’t it? Let me explain this.
If you observe, you will see people get easily attracted to individuals who are strong, who take their own decisions and speak up strongly when required. They realize they will get help and can rely on such a person whenever a need arise. Have you noticed the point – this is the exact opposite nature of what a standard people pleaser represent. Therefore, having this nature is not an attractive proposition as it is generally considered by those who possess it.
People pleasing nature can even turn out to be detrimental aspect to you as a person. This is because it can make you love yourself lesser and lesser. When you start pleasing everyone around you, the chances of your getting true respect from others diminishes. People will not take you seriously. Eventually you start to feel you are not a lovable person. This feeling gets you disappointed and make you lose your self-respect.
The worst part comes when you start hating the most important person in your life – which is “you”. This state encourages you to subscribe to all kinds of negative emotions. Over the course of time, you become resentful to yourself, you lack confidence, you become manipulative and end up with the worst of both worlds. For one – you fail to please others which was your original objective and two you could neither please yourself in the end.
So, don’t try to please everyone around you. You are not going to succeed in it. You will end up being a worse person to others than what you already are. Remember, the world needs a sincere person and not one who would pretend of being somebody else.
Ways to overcome the problem
Here are a few simple strategies to deal with this problem. You can get over this problem if you commit yourself to act on them.
(a) Our inclination to help a person increases considerably when there is a favor sought. If the request is genuine and you have the wherewithal to fulfill it, then you can choose to help. The problem arises when you are a people-pleaser and others knowingly take advantage of it. To overcome such situations, you should take time to think over a request before you make a commitment. Check your schedule to see if you are compromising on any of your important work. Take your time, and do not concur immediately on request. On many occasions this exercise will help you find that you are not in a position to help and thus will save you a lot of future trouble we discussed earlier.
(b) People pleasers have the tendency to over-apologize whenever they have to say a ‘no’. This overemphasizing may breed negative emotions like self-hate and loss of self-respect. So, don’t get to such an extreme to express your inability to do something. Just a simple “I am sorry” should do.
(c) The best way to deal with this problem is to start being small in your benevolence to others. Decide you would spare only so much – be it time, money, expertise or whatever that you are asked to provide. Set your limits and if it is beyond, either refuse or only help within your limits.
(d) Rise yourself from the fear of others getting mad or dejected with you for refusing their request. This is important because until you learn to get over this it will be difficult for you to say ‘no’ to anyone. Think like this – if people get mad with you for not helping them knowing that you are not in a position to do so – then they are not the kind of people you need around.
(e) Be fair with yourself and with others. This is an important aspect to check before you take any course of action. If you are inclined to help – then ask whether you are being fair to yourself and others by saying a ‘yes’. Similarly, when you say ‘no’ to someone ask the same question. You would get clarity over the course of action you need to take on both the cases.