People Pleasing – Are you a People Pleaser?

Are you a People Pleaser? How to Break Free from the People-Pleasing Trap and Rediscover your Authentic Self

Do you find yourself constantly seeking approval from others? Are you afraid of disappointing people or being seen as selfish? If so, you might be a people pleaser!

What is People Pleasing?

People-pleasing is a common behavior pattern where individuals prioritize others’ needs and opinions over their own. Unfortunately, this is often at the expense of their own well-being, level of comfort, and happiness. In this article, we will explore the root causes, its negative impacts on mental health, and provide actionable strategies to break free from this self-defeating cycle.

Understanding the Root Causes:

People-pleasing can stem from various underlying factors, such as: upbringing, cultural expectations, low self-esteem, fear of rejection, or a need for external validation. Growing up in an environment where your needs were neglected or devalued might have led you to prioritize others’ needs to gain love and acceptance. However, as you mature, it’s crucial to reassess these patterns and nurture a healthier relationship with yourself and others.

The Negative Impacts:

While it may seem noble and selfless to prioritize others, people-pleasing can take a toll on your mental and emotional well-being. Here are some common negative impacts of people-pleasing:

  1. Diminished Self-Worth: Constantly seeking validation from others can erode your self-esteem, as your sense of self-worth becomes dependent on external opinions and praise.
  2. Emotional Exhaustion: People-pleasing often involves overextending yourself, saying “yes” when you really mean “no,” and taking on more responsibilities than you can handle. This leads to chronic stress and burnout.
  3. Suppressed Authenticity: By constantly catering to others’ expectations, you may lose touch with your true desires, passions, and values. Your sense of self can become blurred, and you may feel disconnected from your own needs.

Breaking Free:

  1. Self-Reflection: Begin by reflecting on your own needs, values, and boundaries. Ask yourself, “What truly matters to me? Am I being true to myself?” Becoming aware of your own desires is the first step towards breaking free from the people-pleasing cycle.
  2. Practice Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding. Acknowledge that it’s okay to prioritize your own needs and set boundaries. Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup.
  3. Learn to Say “No”: Practice asserting your needs by saying “no” when necessary. Start small, and gradually increase your comfort level. Remember, saying “no” to others doesn’t make you selfish; it’s an act of self-care and self-respect.
  4. Challenge Your Assumptions: Examine the beliefs that underlie your people-pleasing behavior. Question whether constantly seeking approval is truly necessary or beneficial. Remind yourself that your worth is not contingent upon the opinions of others.
  5. Seek Support: Consider seeking therapy or counseling to explore the deeper roots of your people-pleasing tendencies. A trained therapist can provide guidance, tools, and insights to help you break free from this self-defeating pattern.

Treatment for People Pleasing in Los Angeles, CA and Online:

People-pleasing may have become ingrained in your life, but it doesn’t have to define you. Breaking free from this cycle requires self-reflection, self-compassion, and a commitment to honoring your own needs. Remember, prioritizing yourself is not selfish; it’s an essential step towards building healthier relationships and finding authentic happiness. By embarking on this journey of self-discovery and self-empowerment, you can embrace your true self and live a more fulfilling life.

If you feel that you are struggling from people pleasing, it may be beneficial to seek the help of a professional. You can learn manageable skills and tools to help you recover from people pleasing and find more ease and balance in your life. Please reach out to me if you are interested in a complimentary virtual consultation; you can read more about how I can help here.

Author picture

Hi, I’m Arati Patel, a licensed marriage and family therapist with a passion for helping individuals heal, feel calm, and move towards wholeness. I have specialized interests in working with anxiety, stress, fear, self-doubt, first generation issues, cultural stress, and identity issues. I currently have a private practice in Los Angeles, CA.

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