Please Stop Pleasing

“There’s something very addictive about people-pleasing. It’s a thought pattern and a habit that feels really good, until it becomes desperate." (Anne Hathaway)

Some character struggles are easier to admit than others. Stating how much you’re a workaholic, for instance, is an easy “flaw” to admit in a job interview. “I’m a people-pleaser” is another, especially when offered to a new friend or acquaintance.

Be careful, though, about telling you’re closest loved ones you’re a people-pleaser. They may not agree.

See, no one is truthfully a people-pleaser. Three reasons:

  1. Pleasing others as an automatic reflection of your personality is not noble, because if it’s an automatic reflex, then it’s not your choice. You’re not thoughtfully choosing to please others; you just can’t help it.

  2. Pleasing others, if not done as a conscious choice, is not usually about pleasing others—it's about using their appreciation to please your own self-esteem. (We all do this.)

  3. People pleasers often neglect themselves in order to please others, which they may be aware of. What they may NOT know is how they often they also neglect those closest to them (like their spouse) in order to please those outside the family. Why? Lingering resentment towards the spouse, or they simply take their spouse’s understanding for granted.

The real problem is we think it’s always an either-or. Either I be selfless and please others, or I be selfish and please myself. How about you strive to be a solid self, who can say both Yes and No to others, those closest to you, and to yourself?

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