Before we start, let's first vow that we are going to be honest with each other because you cannot overcome this inconvenience till you whole-heartedly accept that you, too, are a victim of this prevailing sentiment. Time to say it out loud. "Pleasing people."
Like I said before, we have to be honest and let me tell you, I am slightly guilty. And so are you. Name any celebrity, I'm sure they are too, and so is your neighbor. The question is, who isn't?
Everyone is one way or the other leaning on someone else's approval. To some extent, we are all people-pleasers. And there is nothing wrong with that. It is as natural as wanting food and shelter.
However, the problem spikes up when you start trying to please people. You start dreading the thought that someone might disapprove of what you say, what you do, or who you are. So, you start finding peace in people's opinions; their thoughts matter more to you than your own. You inoculate yourself against conflicts, confrontations, and criticism. You try and, I am sure you have, on multiple occasions, become someone's go-to person.
Someone who would gladly take up more work and sit late, someone who changes their plans in a matter of seconds, someone who will always be there for you, regardless of whether they are doing the same for you or not. Someone who always says, "yes."
And someone who will never say NO.
If it makes you feel any better, I know exactly how it feels!
But, what you fail to notice is that while trying to make everyone else happy and satisfied with who you are, you are slowly losing yourself. The person who you are, or was, is gradually fading away.
Do you know Harriet B. Braiker? No worries, I know this for sure, that she was an intelligent woman because she referred to this process as "a disease to please."
The Harvard Business review article, Stop Being a People- Pleaser, suggests many professionals won't schedule in personal time ( to rejuvenate, exercise, so family things) because they know they will have to drop it last minute to accommodate work.
Believe me, when I say this, pleasing people doesn't work. And allow me to expand upon why it is such a bad idea after all.
You Attract Fewer People
One of the significant setbacks in being a people pleaser is that you value a whole lot of people, you start climbing mountains for people who wouldn't do the same for you. Instead of appreciating what you do for them, people think of you as an eager puppy at their heels. They do take as much as they can, but they fail to return the same amount of dedication and time they got from you.
You Stop Loving Yourself
This is my biggest concern. The world we are surviving in today has a cloud of opinion hanging over us where giving yourself time and loving yourself as an individual is considered selfish. When all you care about is making people happy, you start disconnecting with yourself. And with their slightest criticism, you tend to fall in a depressing spiral, and your confidence shatters, you begin breaking, and there is nothing worse than that. You are all you have, and you have got to love yourself more than anyone else. As a leadership keynote speaker, I think the disease to please is engrained in all levels of leadership. The higher up a leader is, the more they will need to deliver tough messages. Some leaders struggle to do this because they don't like delivering bad news or hurting others. However, a leader's job is to give direction, and sometimes that direction means change.
You Become Open To Manipulation
I don't want to sound rude, but this happens. Making yourself unoccupied for people's sake makes them think that you are always going to be there no matter what they do to you. That is taking advantage, and it is unfair, ethically, and even as a person. It would help if you didn't allow them to put you in a position where you can't say no. Remember that.
When you are hungry for approval and eager to avoid conflict you may find you never get anything important done. Other people’s priorities will become the top of your to-do list. In an article in Inc. magazine, leadership speaker Scott Mautz did extensive research to determine what others think of people pleasers. His research uncovered that people-pleasers are usually undermined by others and lack respect.
If you are noted as a people pleaser it draws irritation and contempt from others.
When Eleanor Roosevelt said, "You wouldn't worry so much about what others would think of you if you realized how seldom they do," she sure was right. Make this your mantra, and it's going to be easier!