On one hand, it can be good to have to have some of the traits of a people pleaser. Afterall, people pleasers put others first and they often can see when others are hurting. They are seen as kind and helpful. This makes them a good friend or companion. But what happens when that trait is more dominate than other traits? When people pleasing is greater than self-care? We can create harm for ourselves and our physical bodies as well as mental health are affected. Today we will take a look at the people pleasing personality and talk about the long term affects it can have on us. Am I a people pleaser? Below will be some steps that can help shift your mindset to help you create better balance. Do you find yourself in a place of wishing you could change these aspects about yourself? I encourage you to choose a small step forward.
Am I A People Pleaser?
People pleasers can be easy to recognize. However, often times, they don’t see the issue within themselves. They are carrying out what they have learned. They are responding and dealing with life as they learned to do. We often “learn” these qualities for self-protection to prevent a response we have come to know a negative and unwanted. Below are some qualities that can be seen in someone or ourselves if they people please. If you have read this far and feel you may struggle, take these slow and really process each one. There is help. You are not alone.
- It is hard to say no to requests
- Setting and/or keeping boundaries is often unsuccessful
- You take personal responsibility for others feelings
- You experience anxiety when someone is mad at you
- You are a perfectionist
- You have an urge to fix other people’s problems
- You avoid conflict at all cost
- You need to be seen as successful
- Disagreeing with someone makes you very uncomfortable
Each of us can experience one of these from time to time. However, if you can relate to many of these qualities, you may be a people pleaser. If you are ready to explore changes, there is hope.
Why Am I a People Pleaser?
While there are attributes that can be positive in people pleasing, it is important to understand why we do it. Often times we learn to be a people pleaser because of a person(s) who had authority over us. If they were dominant and strict or held constant high expectations of you, you have adapted to that. When we fear their response, we are more likely to do what ever it takes to not experience their outburst. Did you know that people pleasing can be a trauma response? It can. Trauma needs to be processed and healed in order for us to live healthy balanced lives. Understanding that can improve our quality of life and increase our self-worth. Below are a few characteristics that may be present if you have experienced trauma that led to becoming a people pleaser.
- Experiencing violence in your home
- Having a caretaker with narcissistic tendencies
- A parent who was emotionally absent
- A home with turbulent conflict
- A home that avoided conflict
- Living with family with mental or physical issues
Can you recognize these as describing your home environment? If so, people pleasing may be a defense mechanism for you. There is help, keep reading.
How Can I Change?
Distancing yourself from people pleasing characteristics can be hard. Often people experience guilt in trying to step away and do something different. They may have negative thoughts about themselves when trying to set boundaries between themselves and others. It’s ok. Feel what you do and take a step anyway. Fight for yourself! Have you decided that you are ready to take a step to gain back yourself? Do it! It’s for your good. Here are some suggestions that could be a starting point.
- Learn to say no when you don’t have time or capacity
- Set healthy boundaries with those who high expectations of your time
- Stop making excuses for why you can’t, speak truth and be ok with it
- Be assertive and take a stand for yourself
- You can not and will not please everyone, ever
- Accept yourself for who you are
- Ask for help if needed
- Don’t dwell on your past
- Make time for YOU
Whether you are a people pleaser from trauma or from a learned environment, it can be unhealthy to continually place others before your own needs. It is ok to want some change. It is beautiful to take some steps for you and your health. We understand that sometimes that is hard. We are here to help. Upstate Restorative Counseling have therapists who will listen and help you establish steps you can take to take back your life.