Being a people pleaser is tough business. Trust me, I get it! Between trying to be a great boss, student, friend, daughter and girlfriend- I used to be SUCH a people pleaser. Until I realised that trying to help everyone at the same time actually resulted in not helping anyone. If you’re anything like me, you are going to need a little shake, which is why I am here. Helping others is a great thing but chronic people pleasing can lead you down a disappointing path. If you are spending too much time pleasing others you need to work on getting your life back in balance.
Question the ‘Yes’ woman in you.
If you’re an energetic and bubbly gal, your tendency will be to always respond to a request by saying, “Sure.” Or you offer to assist even when nobody asks for help. You might not realise that this can completely overload you. Start asking yourself the question: “Do I have excess time to spend on this activity?” If yes, then it’s absolutely fine to take it on. However, if you don’t you need to start refraining and learning to turn down the opportunity to help.
Choose the people that you really want to please.
Get clear about who needs you, consistently it will be a smaller group such as your significant other, a parent or close friends. Write down the people who need you to show up for them and then write down who else you give to consistently. You might start realising that a lot of people on your list are wannabe friends, needy people or casual acquaintances. From time to time, they may all need your help and you should be able to give where you can but make sure you are spending time around people lifting you up too, not just draining you.
Know the difference between “doing good” and people pleasing.
Doing good deeds for others and being kind are part of being human. It’s part of being human. Losing perspective about how much and how often you can give though is dangerous territory. Try and limit yourself to five tasks per week that will make others happy.
Overanalysing is fearing potential outcomes. As a natural people-pleaser you probably overanalyse interactions a lot more than you should. Thinking of others’ opinions and thoughts before your own is going to stunt your ability to know your true self. When you start feeling the anxiety building about giving too little ask yourself these four questions:
What is it I want? / need? / feel? / am scared of?
Overanalysing is going to have you thinking about how everyone else would react if you did or didn’t give so flip it on its head. Redirect the questions toward yourself. You need to start thinking about your values and feelings and act accordingly.
Take care of yourself and your own needs.
If your giving leaves you feeling overwhelmed or drained, you know it’s time to reassess your priorities. Remind yourself that your needs are just as important as other people’s. Start identifying what you need and what is important to you, it might be a club, a hobby or a piano class, it could be having a bubble bath or going out with your friends- they are all important. Being a natural people-pleaser might convince you otherwise, but trust me on this. Your daily practices and tasks will always be just as important as someone else’s.
Reject the guilt.
As a former people-pleaser this was a tricky one to navigate. Trying to fulfil everyone’s demands was tiring but I would feel guilty otherwise. When you start feeling as though you are not doing enough, even if you are or spending more time worrying about what others are thinking of you, you need to change the channel. Value yourself to the degree that honours and respects you and the person you wish to please.
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Author: Scarlett Victoria Clark
Scarlett Victoria Clark is Founder and Editor of SMART GIRL TRIBE and a multi-lingual journalist. She has also written for Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Women’s Health. When not writing she enjoys travelling and shopping for (more) heels.