The seven types of people-pleasing to avoid to live a happier life

Types of people pleasing to avoid to live a happier life - Centres for Health and Healing

People – pleasers tend to go to whatever lengths it takes to make others feel comfortable and happy. Although helpfulness and kindness are virtuous traits, a people-pleaser will often end up feeling anxious, depressed or stressed after an interaction with another person or group of people.

Meet the people-pleasers

People – pleasers are inherently empathetic, caring, and kind individuals who are profoundly attuned to the needs of other people, including emotions and moods.

While being a caring person is a good thing, people-pleasing often results in an individual neglecting their own needs for the sake of gaining the approval of others and will often struggle to advocate for themselves.

Mental health and people-pleasing

Those with people-pleasing tendencies often develop habitual patterns of people-pleasing behaviour, leading to self-abandonment and self-neglect.

Seeking validation

According to some researchers, people-pleasing behaviours get associated with specific personality characteristics, such as being overly worried and concerned about pleasing others to gain validation and approval.

The above behaviours are associated with a personality trait known as ”sociotropy”.

Mental health issues

Mental health issues - Centres for Health and Healing

People-pleasing behaviours may also be symptomatic of specific mental health conditions, such as:

The ten types of people-pleasing to avoid to live a happier life

There are several core characteristics that people-pleasers tend to have in common.

For those who want to stop people-pleasing, understanding the central characteristics of a people pleaser is a surefire way to stop people-pleasing once and for all.

Set boundaries

Nipping people-pleasing tendencies in the bud is no easy feat.

However, if you want to set healthy boundaries and increase your self-worth, avoiding the below behaviour’s will help you do just that.

1. Stop feeling guilty when saying ”no” to a request or invitation

Stop feeling guilty when saying no to a request or invitation - Centres for Health and Healing

Many of us have gotten conditioned to believe that the word ”no” is terrible and that putting our own needs before others is somehow selfish or wrong.

Thus, many people who have not cultivated healthy boundaries will continue to accept abusive behaviour to win approval and make people happy.

Vancouver -based therapist Julia Kristina explains that when being asked to do something, whether that be a favour or taking part in a social activity, people must ask themselves if it’s something they genuinely want to do before committing.

Feel guilty

If an individual cannot, for whatever reason, say ”yes” to a request, then the first thing they must consider is whether they want to experience resentment or guilt.

Break free from being a people-pleaser

Saying no to a request from someone we care about is never going to be easy, explains Julia; however, people must do whatever aligns with their own needs, wants and values. 

Thus, guilt and resentment are inevitable emotions when setting boundaries.

Choose guilt over resentment.

For example, if someone says yes to doing something when they want to say no, they are likely to experience resentment towards other people.

However, if we flip the narrative and imagine that the person says no, they are likely to experience a degree of guilt due to not honouring the other persons’ request.

Kristina says that in the process of setting healthy boundaries, a people-pleaser must strive to choose guilt over resentment, which is really about a person saying ”yes” to themselves and no to someone else.

2. Accept that not everyone will approve of you no matter how kind or helpful you are

Accept that not everyone will approve of you no matter how kind or helpful you are - Centres for Health and Healing

Being a good person doesn’t mean that you have to spend all your time and energy trying to make other people happy to the extent that you feel exhausted or burnt out.

People-pleasing in overdrive

Those who crave validation from others often feel responsible for how other people think or feel.

When someone might feel bad or unhappy, people – pleasers tend to take on the responsibility of cheering them up or will go to great lengths to make the person feel happy again.

Those with people-pleasing tendencies must accept that they cannot take on the burden of how other people are feeling.

Moreover, while it’s nice to be kind and empathetic, it’s not our job to make our friends or family happy or even comfortable.

Taking advantage

Inherently, a people-pleaser must realize that no matter how kind or caring a person they might be, it won’t make others like or respect them any more than they already do.

The opposite often occurs as others sense a people – pleasers desire to be liked and accepted and may even take advantage of such weaknesses.

3. Stop accepting the blame for things that are not your fault

Stop accepting the blame for things that are not your fault - Centres for Health and Healing

As mentioned, people-pleasers tend to take on the responsibility for other peoples’ feelings, actions or behaviours.

The trouble with accepting the blame for things outside of our control is that we end up abandoning ourselves in the process.

Good graces turned bad.

Our desire for external validation becomes a perpetual cycle of self-abandonment and bad treatment from others.

It’s okay to do nice things for others, but it is not okay to accept the blame for other peoples’ behaviours or actions.

The above does not support the people we care about; instead, it’s a form of self-neglect and people-pleasing.

4. Stop agreeing with people to ”keep the peace.”

Stop agreeing with people to keep the peace - Centres for Health and Healing

Nobody wants to be the disagreeable person in the group.

However, self-abandonment and people-pleasing often show up as a person dismissing their opinions and needing to gain the approval and attention of others.

The above often results in triage of low self-esteem, a severe lack of boundaries and decreased self-worth.

Essentially, it is perfectly acceptable for you to stand up for what you believe in as long as you do it respectfully.

Having your own opinions and values means that you are an equal person and that you are not afraid of asserting your beliefs, whether that be with your co-workers, partner, friends or family.

5. Stop neglecting your needs to do things for other people

Stop neglecting your needs to do things for other people - Centres for Health and Healing

It can feel good to do things for the people we love, but the desire to be helpful often becomes an addiction to people-pleasing.

Studies show that certain personality types tend to be people-pleasers, such as codependents or empaths.

People who veer toward codependency often neglect their physical and emotional needs while bending over backwards for others.

The above can profoundly affect a person’s overall well-being, and the people-pleaser will often end up feeling hurt and used by the people around them.

Essentially, when we neglect our needs and wants by putting other people first, our entire life is likely to be affected.

6. Stop worrying about how other people see you

Stop worrying about how others see you - Centres for Health and Healing

An excellent way to identify people-pleasing behaviour is to understand that it is a misguided attempt to earn love by being helpful, needed, or obedient.

However, one way to weed out toxic people from our lives is to set healthy boundaries and see who sticks around.

Much like anything in life, there is a reaction for every action, and many of your family and friends may wonder what happened to the ”old you” once you start incorporating healthy boundaries and stop people-pleasing.

At this point, it may be helpful for people-pleasers to get curious about how others react to them setting boundaries.

Do people respect your need for space and privacy? Do they accept your ”no” gracefully, or do they become angry and defensive?

The above questions are vital for the people – pleaser in recovery to ask themselves.

7. Stop fearing that turning other people down means that you are selfish

Stop fearing that turning other people down means that you are selfish - Centres for Health and Healing

Many people, especially those with social anxiety, often worry to an exponential degree about how others perceive them.

In an attempt to avoid social rejection, people-pleasers often give up their free time and energy to do favors for others or accept social invitations when they would much rather be doing something else.

Inherently, at the heart of people-pleasing is fear.

People – pleasers tend to fear what others might think of them if they disagree with a particular opinion or say no to a specific request.

Humans are geared toward altruism, and saying ”no” to someone we care about often feels counter-intuitive, even selfish.

However, it’s not fair or realistic for people to overextend themselves to the point of utter exhaustion.

It’s imperative to drive the point home that self-care is not selfish; it is an authentic way to show up for the people we love with energy, passion and enthusiasm.

Advice diagnosis or treatment

If you struggle with setting healthy boundaries with the people in your life, perhaps it’s time to speak to a mental health professional who can offer guidance and support.

Occasionally, people-pleasing behaviours result from an underlying mental health condition that may need to be addressed through treatment.

Self-love comes in the form of saying ”yes” to ourselves first and foremost.

As Joseph Fleming once rightfully quoted, ”you can’t pour from an empty cup”

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