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Confessions of a People Pleaser

Posted by Alexandra Van Rijn on

Written by Alyssa Friedman

Saying “no” has never been an easy task for me.

I take pride in the fact that I am dependable and a person people can turn to for help, so turning people away and not being there for them is unthinkable. Although, this routes from my fear of not being good enough, and feeling like I need to stick to the expectations people have of me. While being helpful is not a bad thing, I know that spreading myself too thin and taking on more than I can handle in order to benefit others is contributing to my anxiety. My worries about being perfect in other people’s eyes have taken a toll on my mental health, and in recognizing this, I can make a change. Being a people pleaser is a trap because of how good it feels to know that I helped someone, but what comes along with that is all that I gave up in order to put someone else’s needs before my own. 

A lesson I learned the hard way through my struggle of trying to please everyone is something I’ve heard over and over again but never took seriously, “You can’t please everyone.” No matter how much I try, think over, and plan out, there will be people that just aren’t content. Accepting that was one of the hardest pills to swallow, because if it were up to me everyone would like me. All of the energy I put into making myself perfect in someone else’s eyes was put to waste; I could have used that energy in loving myself for everything that I am. 

In my acts of people pleasing, I find myself most often saying “yes” to avoid conflict.

I have never been in an argument with anyone, and I know that I take every step to avoid it by pleasing them. I don’t challenge other’s opinions even when I don’t agree with them, because my fear of making them upset or think less of me prevents me from having a voice. I am letting their expectations of me control my thoughts and actions, and in the midst of it all I can’t help but question whether people like me because of how much I am willing to do for them, or if they like me for who I am. 

When it comes down to it, making sacrifices for other people isn’t just being dependable, it is putting their needs before your own.

Doing this on a consistent basis is saying to yourself that their feelings are more important than your own. Your life is for you to live for yourself, not to live in someone else’s best interest. Learning to politely say “no” is essential in seeking happiness, because loving yourself for all that you are is more important than loving yourself for all that you can do. You will get nowhere trying to please everyone along the way, so instead I work towards doing what is best for me, even if that means losing people along the way.


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