To fit in or not to fit in? That is the ultimate question we often ask ourselves in our daily settings. Most people assume that I am shy on their first encounter with me. I tend to keep my calm and observe, as I gauge how to act.
It just comes naturally as I take note of a person’s traits and compile a profile about them. It then influences how I interact with that person. It’s my way of avoiding confrontation, or perhaps the discomfort that comes with other’s disapproval. In turn, I am sometimes a different person depending on the ambience of the interaction.
The definition of a people pleaser is one who finds it difficult to say no when they need to. It also refers to people who yearn for outside validation. In that, you do everything in your power for others to like you. Here, you base your self-confidence and security on the validation of others.
I won’t say that I am a chronic people pleaser, but there are instances where I conceal my true nature so that I can belong.
While it is good to keep away from conflict or say “yes” to those who need your help; you have to realise that there’s a fine line between being good and a people pleaser. It can expose you to serious health risks, such as anxiety and even depression.
Read more on: Is being a People Pleaser a Good thing?
Once you have determined the need to change your people pleasing habits; below are ways to help you find balance and stop trying to please others:
• Set Boundaries
As Sherry Pogoto, PhD puts it; often, it’s the fear of failure or fear of rejection that causes the need to care and please others to take root. To the extent that, not doing so, makes us feel selfish. However, we all have a certain limit that we can handle physically and emotionally.
Communicate these boundaries. Otherwise, keeping from voicing your frustrations could lead to bottling up of negativity towards a person. Later, you get to a point where you cannot hold it anymore, and it blows up.
• Take care of Yourself
Some time ago, I came across an article that, insinuated that millennials are the selfish generation, yet. The term, millennials, encompasses people born between 1980 to 2000 (you included, I presume). However, you’ve got to argue if taking care of yourself, and needs; makes one selfish.
A people pleaser has little self-awareness as they put the needs of others before theirs. When you make pleasing others a priority, over your needs, it will exhaust you in time.
It will then lead to feeling overwhelmed and drained. Start by discovering who you are. Your desires and interests, matter too; it doesn’t make you selfish or entitled.
• Become Self-aware
To find out who you are, what you like, and what you need, you have to look at yourself, with respect and interest. Doing so will make your thoughts and feelings of interest, to turn into awareness.
They allow you to learn from them, as you encounter your truths. Identify your values and priorities, too. It will direct you on when to say no and confidently.
It is also prudent to keep the thoughts of denial and those that are judgemental about you, at bay.
• Understand that you have a choice
Saying yes to every request at the expense of your own needs doesn’t make you praiseworthy. You have the option to say no, too. Stall, if you need to think about it, first.
Ask yourself, if it’s worth it. Will you have time to do it, and still have time for yourself? Get to understand what you will give up when you undertake the task, first, before you respond.
When saying no, use an empathic assertion. In that, you assert yourself and still put yourself in the person’s shoes. It’s a way to show the person that you understand where they are coming from, but won’t be able to meet their request.
• Let go of people who take advantage of you
As you grow, you lose some, maintain some, and foster new relationships. Sometimes, you don’t want to let go of someone, but it’s what’s right for you. People who take advantage of others, often surround a people pleaser.
Learn to create healthy boundaries in your relationships and reaffirm them. You also have to make peace with the fact that not everyone will like you, and that’s okay. Don’t allow the opinion of others about you, affect your self-esteem.
That’s the everyday struggle of a people pleaser. When someone likes you, you like yourself, and vice versa.
• Prepare for the Fallout
Since the fear of rejection is one of the causes of a people-pleasing behaviour; you need to understand that saying no won’t be as catastrophic as you think. For every request, consider the people you want to spend your time on, are they worth it?
After saying no to a person, they will be thinking of whom to ask for help, next. You need to realise that people rarely think about you, as much as you think. It makes letting go, easier.
• Be authentic
It’s high time you stay in touch with who you are as a person. Purpose, to connect with your authentic self, and value. It will help you live a healthier life, and find balance in each aspect of your life.
You are unique, embrace that.
Every new encounter, I have to remind myself to be true to who I am. In the end, you boost your self-esteem and confidence in yourself and who you are, and it’s worth it.