When it comes to self-assertion, we are backwards thinking, incompetent, fumbling, fools.
And so we should be. We’ve rarely had any practice stating what we want. We’re are more adapted at suppressing what we want, as if it were bad or wrong in some way.
We suppress our desires when we’re alone, and we obliterate them when we’re around other people. This applies, not only to desires, but to opinions, needs, and even basic individual rights.
Inexplicably, the less intimate we know someone, the more ‘pleasing’ we become while neglecting the needs of loved ones and good friends.
So intense is our need to not be the source of irritation, disappointment, anger, contempt, or dislike that we go to great measures to please everyone around us; usually at our own detriment.
We disregard our feelings in favor of the feelings of others so we can please everyone around us. So that we can be liked and thought of favorably.
Too many of us walk around with our heads down trying to remain small and inconspicuous; especially when we’re in front of the nameless, faceless ‘everyone.’
It’s time for you to stand up for what’s right for you, and stop standing for what’s right for everyone else. No one has more vested interest in you, than you.
People Pleasing Is Poison To Your Integrity & Toxic to Your Self-Esteem
What’s the difference between Poison and Toxic? Aside from the fact that they’re both mysteriously capitalized? Nothing. I simply needed two different words to make the headline compelling.
Poisoning Your Integrity
When your behavior matches your internal convictions and beliefs, you have achieved personal integrity.
In other words, when what you think, what you say, and what you do are harmonious, you’re an individual of integrity.
This is an impossible task for the people pleaser.
When you put your own needs aside for the sake of others, you’re sending yourself a litany of harmful messages:
- First and foremost, you’re saying that you are less important than others. It’s no wonder you feel so much self-loathing.
- You’re telling yourself that you’re a two-faced liar. You think one thing, but what you say and how you act is in-congruent with your thinking.
- You send the message to everyone that you’re a doormat with no self-respect.
You act as if you don’t have a right to exist for yourself and live for your own expectations and desires. You cannot exist for anyone else, so will you choose a path of slow emotional and mental suicide, or will you come out of the shadows and assert your right to shine your own unique color of light onto the world? Tweet this
Toxic Waste On Your Self-Esteem
Personal integrity can’t be attained without self-esteem.
Self-esteem is the sum of your self-confidence and self-respect. A people pleaser lacks the proper amount of self-respect to be self-assertive.
They’re not ok just being themselves without some kind of external validation. What’s more is that they are uncomfortable with the silence that comes with focusing on themselves rather than others.’ They’re much more adept at tending to the problems’ of those around them, and it’s not uncommon for them to use people pleasing as a way to avoid self-reflection.
How you judge yourself, which manifests as your self-esteem, will determine how far you’re willing to go to please others at the expense of your own happiness.
The more you say ‘yes’ when you really want to say ‘f#ck no,’ the more you set aside your own needs to accommodate others, the more you turn your back on yourself in favor for serving everyone else, the more you erode your reputation with yourself (your self-esteem).
What would you think if someone treated you like that? How would you feel if your best friend or partner consistently put your needs aside to accommodate others? How hurt would you be when they turned their back on you? Would you hold them in high esteem? You would most-likely despise them and, because you hate them so much, they would continue to turn their back on you to find acceptance somewhere else.
This is exactly what you do to yourself when you insist on pleasing others.
To add insult to injury, not only do you shit all over yourself, but you can also add resentment to the heap of emotional baggage you’ve accumulated; those with high self-esteem will not be willing to reciprocate your self-sacrifice, making you feel cheated.
It doesn’t even matter who you sacrificed yourself for and who you are resenting. They aren’t always the same person or entity.
Let me demonstrate the toxicity of your self-sacrificing, yes-man, doormat-like behavior:
- You sacrifice everything for those around you (coworkers, classmates, family members, etc), yet you feel as if all your concessions have gone unnoticed.
- When you don’t see the same type of self-sacrifice in your relationships with others, you begin to feel resentful, however you can’t stop the habit of self-sacrifice because you think it’s the only way people can like you.
- You begin to take out all of the pent-up resentment out on the people closest to you because you already have a firmly established relationship with them and you need somewhere to displace this anger you’re feeling.
- Your intimate relationships suffer while your relationships with others around you become more and more strained by your resentment. You begin to secretly despise everyone while pretending to be the picture of amiability.
- You now start to hate yourself for being such a pushover and you have vivid daydreams about what you want to say to so-and-so the next time they ask you for such-and-such. Then you have nightmares about what would happen if you said no.
- Everything explodes into a pile of panda shit.
See where this pattern fits into your life and then derail it before it gets any worse.
People Pleasing Behavioral Warning Signs
Not sure if you’re a people pleaser or just nice?
Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.
- Do you yearn for external validation?
- Do you worry about what people will think about you if you say no?
- Do people always ask you for favors because they know they can count on you to say yes?
- Do you worry that people won’t like you if you say no?
- Do you think you might be rejected or alienated if you say no?
- Do you consistently put the well-being of others in front of your own well-being, regardless of the damage done to yourself?
- Do you often feel resentful towards others?
- Are you passive aggressive about your resentfulness?
- Do you wonder if others are actively taking advantage of you – weather they mean to or not?
- Do you often offer yourself to others’ because you feel invisible?
- Do you feel inadequate in and of yourself?
- Do you believe conflict with others is always a bad thing?
- Are you positive that you do more than what’s required from you for everyone?
- Do you have a hard time recognizing the difference between being needed and being loved?
- Do you lack confidence in what you do? Do you have a hard time taking credit for success?
- Do you often overcommit and overpromise?
- Would you rather be dishonest than be the source of disapproval?
- Is ‘being selfish’ one of the worst possible traits anyone could attribute to you?
- Do you wonder why everyone treats you like shit when you’re so nice?
- Are you often plagued by guilt when you physically can’t do something for someone?
The more frequently you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, the more dominant the people pleaser inside of you is; the more depressed you feel.
Additionally, there’s a very obvious difference between being a naturally nice person, and being a people pleaser. Nice people don’t have a problem asserting their own wants and needs. They don’t let others push them too far and they don’t do things they’re uncomfortable with. People pleasers are far more likely to suffer discomfort as long as it makes someone else happy; all the while pretending that they’d love nothing more than to clean the dog shit off your shoes.
Being a people pleaser always makes you a liar and a fake. The two are inseparable.
Kicking The People Pleaser Inside You To The Road Without Feeling Like You’re Stealing Candy From a Baby
It’s easy for us to feel like monsters once we cease putting so much importance on what others want – especially when we’ve been a dedicated people pleaser for most of our adult lives.
It’s a feeling you’ll need to endure if you want to overcome your inability to act on your own behalf and on your own terms.
Know your worth.
The first step is, and always will be, for you to believe that you are just as valuable as everyone else around you. What you want is just as valid, and how you feel is just as relevant.
You have the right to exist for yourself. Claim that right. Live that right. Only then will you be able to successfully kill the people pleaser inside you once and for all.
Identify your boundaries.
This is especially important if you have a hard time denying people you love.
What is unacceptable to you? What sort of behavior will you no longer tolerate?
Make these boundaries clear and make them known to your loved ones.
Tell your husband that you’re tired of cooking and that you’re going to stop no matter how much he whines. Tell your wife you’re not going shopping with her anymore.
Try not to all of a sudden become a hard ass; you’ll give your family whip lash and they’ll just think you’re moody.
Take Responsibility For Yourself & Only For Yourself
You’re responsible for your own happiness and that’s it. You are not responsible for the happiness of those around you. If your actions make others happy, that’s awesome. If your actions make others unhappy, and your actions don’t violate their rights in any way, that’s their problem.
You cannot assume responsibility for the happiness of everyone you come in contact with. That is an impossible and idiotic task.
If you feel like you’re being taken advantage of, it’s because you’re letting people take advantage of you. You may not have known before, but now you do and taking action on that knowledge is up to you.
Stop censoring yourself for fear of upsetting someone. If you have a movie night with your partner and it’s your turn to pick and you want to watch Pretty Woman, then by golly, you should watch pretty woman no matter how much your partner pouts. Their reaction to your right to choose is not your problem. That’s their problem.
And in all honesty, if they’re going to pout over a movie I think you should reconsider your decision to make them your mate.
Finally, don’t apologize for your boundaries. It gives the impression that you’re not willing to enforce them and it makes you feel like you’re doing something wrong by having them.
Don’t. Be. Sorry. Be proud. Be strong.
Learn how to say no with dignity and grace.
When someone asks you for something you don’t want to give (whether it be time, a favor, an object, love, etc) don’t feel the need to concoct stories that give you an out. Just simply and confidently state why you don’t want to engage in that behavior.
When you start coming up with a ton of excuses you send the message that your position can be argued.
Don’t apologize for saying no.
Keep your word and follow through. Otherwise, you lose more confidence in yourself and your self-esteem suffers. Don’t worry about what’s going to happen because of your negative response.
Prepare To Forget
Somewhere along the line the people pleaser inside you will resurrect itself. It will try to ruin you, but you won’t let it. You won’t let it because you won’t let yourself forget why you killed it in the first place.
Whenever the urge to act against yourself tries to take over you, remember that you are just as important as anyone else. You are just as worthy of wants, needs and desires. You have the right to exist for yourself. No one else has the right to ask you to exist for them.
Prepare yourself for how foreign the word ‘no’ will taste on your tongue.
Guard yourself from the people who are too used to your submission.
Reaffirm to yourself the right to live your life on your terms.
Run away from anyone who expects you to sacrifice your own happiness for them.
Remind yourself that you are a human, just like everyone else.
And, because you are human, you are awesome.
So give your people pleaser the boot and stand tall inside your own awesome human skin. You’re worth it.