I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Ruth Soukup and
I can’t say that I was exactly surprised by the result, though I was disappointed. I’ve been aware for years that people-pleasing is something I have to work on, and I had thought that I had been making progress. Not as much as I’d thought I guess!
But you may be wondering: what exactly is a People Pleaser, and why is it a bad thing?
What is a People Pleaser?
Well, let’s start at the beginning. A People Pleaser is someone who always puts other people’s needs and wants ahead of their own, who will always set aside their own priorities if they’re impractical for someone else.
They’ve also go a tendancy to ask everybody else’s opinions on things, and worry about what everyone else will think about any given matter.
Why is it a bad thing?
So why is that a bad thing? It’s ok to put others ahead of ourselves, right?
Well… Not quite. You see, a People Pleaser will not only put their family’s or friends’ needs ahead of their own, they will put everybody’s ahead. This means they will have trouble saying “no” when someone asks them to do something, even though they’re already swamped. Meaning they’ ll have to work over-time that evening.
They’ll worry about what others will think about such and such action, and will consistently underestimate their own worth and skills because they base so much on how others see them. The problem is that, well, others are usually pretty quick with the criticism, but a little less generous with the praise, meaning you end up with a pretty severely biased view of yourself. And not in a favorable way.
This means that People Pleasers have a tendancy to get stuck on what others think, which often leads to them being detered from reaching their goals.
Are you beginning to see why this could be a bad thing?
Why I’ve decided to stop being a People Pleaser
The short answer: I was living my life for others.
I was always putting my own priorities, my own wishes and thoughts on the back burner in favor of what others thought I should do, what they expected of me or simply what they asked me to do because they didn’t want to do it themselves.
But here’s the thing: those people will never put me first. So by doing this, you end up being last on everyone’s list. That doesn’t seem exactly fair, does it? Nope, it doesn’t to me.
I’ve got goals too. I’ve got dreams, and some of them are really big dreams. My whole life I’ve watched others move forward, get their dream job, their dream home, go on a dream vacation, while I stayed behind in a safe, but low paying job. All because I was afraid of what others would think of me.
After all, I can’t take risks, can I? I mean, I’ve got a family, children to care for, to look after. Children who need a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs and food in their bellies.
Yes. Yes to all of the above. But why would my taking risks mean that they wouldn’t have all of that?
So what now?
So this is it. I’ve taken the big leap. I’m taking risks, and I’m not worrying about what anybody else has to say about it. The only people whose opinion matters to me are my husband’s and my children’s (and well, yes, the rest of my family’s too. But mostly just the first).
I’m taking risks. I’m starting my own business, and living life on my own terms. For the first time of my life.
And boy does it feel good!
You might want to read: 3 things to do to stop people-pleasing!
Why you should stop being a people pleaser too
Being a People Pleaser is a pain the butt. There are many reasons for it, but here are some of the top reasons that come to my mind:
It takes time and energy
And it drains you. You spend your time doing everything for everyone else, and at the end of the day, you’re left with all you have to do for you and your
Whether it’s at work, where everyone knows they can ask you to do the little (but very time-consuming!) tasks that no one else wants to do, or at your kids’ school where you end up being the only parent who always volunteers.
It takes up your time, and it’s time away from your family.
It costs a lot
Whaaaaaat? How can being a People Pleaser cost money??
Here’s how: if you’re like me, you’re uncomfortable telling the waitress she made a mistake adding up your meal. You’re afraid to ask your car dealership for a discount. You’re nervous about telling the hotel manager that the room they gave you is not the one you booked.
There are a million and one things that I paid too much for, or where I allowed myself to get stiffed because I didn’t want to hurt anybody else’s feelings, or because I was afraid of what they would think of me.
But that’s just dumb. I’m never going to see those people again, why should it matter what they thought of me?
People mistake your kindness for weakness
Let me know if this scenario sounds familiar to you:
You’re at work and you see a colleague struggling under a dead-line. You offer to help them, and take some of the work for yourself. The dead-line is met, your colleague is super happy.
The next day, they pop over at your desk asking for another “quick favor”. And the next day another, and another. And before you know it, you’re shoulders deep in work that is not yours, and you’re falling behind in your own duties.
I know that this is all too familiar to me, at least. This, or some similar version of it.
You know the expression “give them a hand, they will take the whole arm”? In many cases, this proves true. Don’t allow people to see you as weak just because you are being kind.
It sets a bad example for your kids
You may be thinking “but why would showing your kids how to be kind to others be a bad example”?
And you’d be right.
But remember that we are not talking about “being kind”, here. Of course you should be kind to others. Help them out if you can.
But what does set a bad example for our children is when we please other people to the expense of ourselves or our family.
My son once pointed out to me that the restaurant where we ate had charged an item double, but I was uncomfortable telling them about it. So I ended up paying more than I should have, and sending the message to my son that it’s not important to stand up for yourself.
It’s not a very pretty message to send.
In the end
Here are my final thoughts on people-pleasing:
There’s a difference in being kind to people, and being a People Pleaser. The first is great, and you really should continue being kind. It makes such a huge difference in the
But people-pleasing is a whole different ball-game. You’re setting yourself aside, and you’ll end up getting erased completely if you’re not careful.
So does this mean you should start shoving everyone aside, not caring about who gets hurt?
No, of course not. But you should refocus on what matters.
Yes, you should continue to do things for others, continue to put your children’s well-being ahead of your own.
But you need to stop putting everyone’s well-being ahead of your own. You need to start taking responsibility for your own life.
Stop worrying about what the neighbor will think of you. stop wondering what the waitress will say if you ask for your steak to be cooked a bit longer because it’s still a bit too much on the “rare” side of “medium rare”.
Stop worrying about others, and start living for yourself.
Yes, it’s difficult (at least if you’re anything like me, and have been living your entire life based on what others would think of you!).
But starting today, I’m done with being a People Pleaser. I’m going to start saying “no”, and focusing on people who matter: me and my family.
I hope you’ll join me!! 🙂
Let me know what you think!
What about you? Are you a People Pleaser? Do you want to stop, or are you fine with it? Let me know in the comments, I always love hearing from you!!
In the meantime, take care!
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