Others or yourself? People pleasing is a challenge for many people. People pleasers are often overwhelmed by the demands on their time. They will do anything and everything for you. They are often the first to volunteer and never say no when asked for help. They are the nicest people at work or school or in a family.
Often however, they are not very happy. They rarely have time for themselves and do not set good boundaries. They can suffer from anxiety and depression. When people pleasers go to therapy they are unhappy about their life and may not be able to identify what is causing the problem.
Are you a people pleaser?
- Do you fear rejection if you say no or set good personal boundaries with others?
- Do you worry that someone you care about will leave if you say no?
- Do you feel responsible for the way others feel?
- Do you fail to take care of yourself in order to meet the needs of others? eg. eating, exercise, relaxation and play
- Do you feel resentment towards others because you can’t express your needs?
- Do you have trouble communicating your feelings resulting in passive-aggressive behaviour?
- Do you apologize for things you haven’t done?
- Do you need recognition for things in order to feel good about yourself?
If you have answered yes to some or all of these then people pleasing may be an issue for you.
Ready for change?
Start by setting small boundaries for yourself. It is okay to say no, or that you would like to think about something before committing to it. Every time you do this it will feel uncomfortable and others may not know how to react. This is new behaviour for you and them. It will take time, but you will begin to feel more confident about setting boundaries. Go ahead, give it a try.
If taking small steps (like those mentioned above) seems overwhelming then please reach out for help. Annette Poechman is a Master’s Level trained therapist and counsellor with significant experience with people pleasers of all ages. Annette will help you change your life and the way you think about yourself one small step at a time. Annette is based in Hamilton and welcomes clients from all over Ontario.
Listening. Guiding. Caring.