Being agreeable is generally considered a positive trait. However, it can reach a point when agreeableness becomes people-pleasing and starts to have negative consequences on our lives. A people-pleaser is “a person who has an emotional need to please others, often at the expense of his or her own needs or desires.”
Some common signs of people-pleasing include:
Agreeing with others only to appease
People-pleasers will often agree with others even though, on the inside, they feel differently. This is because people-pleasers often have an intense fear of rejection that can stem from thinking that if they express disagreement with others, they will not be liked or accepted. The problem with always agreeing with others is that we lose sight of our own values, beliefs, and opinions. We end up paying very little attention to our own thoughts while simultaneously trying to control the perceptions of others. By doing this repeatedly, we reinforce to ourselves and others that our opinions and views don’t matter.
Being unable to say no
Setting boundaries is vital to maintain balance in our lives. People-pleasers feel that saying no to others would put them at risk of being rejected or ostracized. Consequently, they end up saying yes to everything, even when what they agree to may not be their responsibility. By always saying yes, we are sacrificing our well-being and setting ourselves up for burnout in the long term. We are also reinforcing to ourselves that the needs of others are more important than our own.
While apologizing can go a long way toward mending relationships, by always saying, “I’m sorry,” we reinforce the belief that we are constantly making mistakes and those around us are not. By accepting blame for problems we had no part in, we lose our ability to think objectively about the drivers that contributed to our current issues.
People-pleasing is a behavior that can easily be rationalized and seen as selfless, a giver, or kind. Although selflessness and service to others are virtues, people-pleasing is different because it involves avoiding uncomfortable emotions and self-neglect. Voicing our thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and opinions can be intimidating, so starting with those you feel most comfortable with encourages you and provides a safe space is best.
Take the first step towards reclaiming your authenticity and well-being today. Our experienced therapists offer a safe space to explore and address people-pleasing tendencies, helping you build healthier boundaries, boost self-confidence, and live a more fulfilling life. Contact Optimum Joy to start your transformational journey towards a genuine and balanced life.
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