Being a people pleaser can make you seem like the nicest and most helpful person, but at what cost? Your inability to say no can cause problems for you later, like not knowing how to handle your stressful situation. All your time can revolve around taking care of others and not taking care of yourself. These are personality traits of people-pleasers, if you are one, here are a few ways on how to overcome them.
A People Pleaser Always Says Yes Even When They Want to Say No
By always saying yes to doing favors for others, people may begin to take advantage of your kindness. You may become someone that people use because you can’t say no and they will take as much as they can from you. According to Sherry Pagoto, Ph.D., even people who are generally not exploitive may take advantage because they don’t realize that you are overtaxing yourself and have difficulty understanding where your boundaries are because you have set none. Not saying “no” will cause you to be overwhelmed.
“The first no to anyone is always the hardest,” says Susan Newman, Ph.D. Once you are able to set your own boundaries and learn to say no, it will become easier for you to say it to people. Remember that you are saying no for good reasons and people will understand. You will create the time and energy to invest in yourself and the people you really want to help.
A People Pleaser Tends to Get Overly Stressed
“The definition of stress is having more demands than you can handle,” says Pagoto. People pleasers can get stuck in a vicious cycle of chronic stress and unhealthy behaviors. If you feel like you are too busy doing things for everyone else but yourself, you might be stuck in this cycle. Saying yes to satisfy everyone will pile on too much that you may not be able to handle without experiencing immense amounts of stress.
A way to break the cycle is to remember that you always have a choice to say no, Newman says. People will understand if you are not able to help them because you already have other responsibilities to tend to. Making sure that you are not overwhelmed by stress will help you accomplish all you have to do without worrying about everything else that you have to do next.
People Pleasers Have a Fear of Rejection
According to author KJ Hutchings, inside every people-pleaser is a little child who never felt worthy of love and was afraid of being rejected. That is why being good and nice and striving for approval is a people pleaser’s way of suppressing this fear. They will not disagree with people and do what others want in order not to displease them in some way. People pleasers tend to overestimate others imagined negative reactions to what they do or say. They work harder in relationships to make sure that they keep them, but still, have the fear of losing them.
Although rejection can be painful and scary, it is something that can happen no matter how hard you try. Rejection can be that needs, or opinions will not match up, and a people pleaser needs to stop themselves from changing just to match with the person they want to be accepted by. “Building up self-confidence and self-worth can help you remember that you’re entirely worthy of love,” says Timothy J. Legg, Ph.D. Reminding yourself of your worth of who you are as a person will help you stop trying to please everyone you meet.
People Pleasers Have a Fear of Failure
According to Pagoto, the fear of failure can arise from early experiences with severe punishment for even small mistakes. Having early experiences with harsh criticism or punishment can lead to significant anxiety of not wanting to fail. To deal with that anxiety, people pleasers will do everything they can to get things right, finish the job, and make sure everybody is happy.
Another way to help reduce the anxiety of failure is by answering the “what if” questions you may have. According to Ellen Hendriksen, Ph.D., if you work through the worst-case scenarios, you can come up with a plan that will ease your fears. You will know how you will rectify the situation or take care of yourself and move on, which will make coping with the fear easier.
A People Pleaser Will Neglect Their Own Needs to Satisfy Others
People pleasers devote little time to take care of their own needs. Your efforts towards taking care of others will take up time that you may need to take care of your health and responsibilities. As a result, people-pleasers may be more prone to health problems, according to Pagoto. Wanting to take care of others is not a bad thing but you cannot do it at the expense of yourself.
A way to handle this is by creating some balance. “Consider that taking care of yourself makes you better equipped to take care of others by giving you the energy and vitality to do it even better than you are now,” says Pagoto. Finding the balance between helping yourself and others will not limit the good nature that you have towards those you care about. There are good and bad traits of being a people pleaser, but it is important to put yourself first sometimes.