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Do you think I am a good person?

People pleasers and the incessant need to be liked.

 

Despite its inevitability, I absolutely cannot stand someone thinking I’m not a good person. Well, strongly dislike. More often than not. I’ve learned to let it go in a number of situations, but it still rears its ugly head from time to time – and did so again recently. It can be quite stressful and completely ruin your mood – and with thanks to the internet, many more people might start forming this poor judgement and/or you might get isolated within an existing group, thus exacerbating the stress.

 

Now, I wouldn’t describe myself as a people-pleaser (yeah, that’s what they all say), but many people-pleasers are unaware of what they are doing and why. It’s not uncommon for a people-pleaser to not even know what they want or what their own needs involve. Ergo, how can you put yourself first when you don’t even know what to put there? It’s also not uncommon for people-pleasers to suffer self-worth issues; their self-worth is tied up in doing things for others, it makes them feel important, however, they lack self-awareness and self-regard, and have a strong need for adulation and praise.

 

The need to feel accepted and liked, the need for praise to feel good, the never-ending approval and validation seeking leads people to some horrific places which may not be immediately evident especially from the outside looking in. I don’t want to be seen as selfish, I want to be seen as a good person. I don’t want to feel rejected or abandoned or uncared for or unloved. I find being disapproved of or dismissed to be a really uncomfortable experience. I can get quite anxious or worried when someone is angry or displeased with me, and can go to great lengths to avoid conflict because I’m not a fan of conflict, in part because of my agreeable personality type.

 

However, it’s important to remember that conflict avoided is conflict multiplied, so it’s imperative to deal with problems at their source and when they occur. If I don’t, I can feel the resentment build up, possibly some unexpressed anger as well, and this can lead to passive aggressiveness or withdrawal (the latter especially for me) rather than letting people know what’s up.

 

Sometimes people-pleasers have a history of poor treatment, and the hope for better treatment is to people-please. There is this notion that fear of failing to please people will lead to negative consequences. During my childhood bullying days, I would hope that if I did the right thing (or kept quiet) then I’d be left alone. However, regularly, this wasn’t the case, but I continued to try and please them in order to be spared. I would be worrying about what they thought of me and what they’d do next to the extent I was pleasing them out of fear rather than any benevolence. So, you can end up doing a lot of what you think other people want you to do. This is probably true, at least in part, of my cricketing years as well (minus the fear). I was trying to please people I was never going to win over, but one has a tendency to justify such behaviour when they align with good qualities e.g. attending all trainings and events, arriving early and staying late, always helping out.

 

I feel responsible for the happiness of others, and I do my darndest to make people laugh. Part of this is because I know how shit life can get, but there are times when I do it because people like you for it and it increases the likelihood they’ll keep interacting with you. The worst part of it can come in the form of blaming yourself because you couldn’t make a person you care about happy, and excessive self-blame is a hallmark characteristic of the people-pleaser. Regularly I’ll park my own feelings to aid others, but I’m not the type to just agree with people to make them feel better nor repeatedly apologise especially for something I haven’t done.

 

People have a tendency to confuse kindness with people-pleasing. You can be kind yet with boundaries. You can be kind and yet still say no. You can be kind and yet assertive with your own needs and self-regard. Is your kindness being reciprocated? The people-pleaser sacrifices themself sometimes to the point where others do not notice and/or take advantage – the narcissist will happily take advantage of the people-pleaser, and social media etc rewards a lot of narcissism!

 

WHAT TO DO / OVERCOMING PEOPLE-PLEASING

 

Here are some quickfire points and questions for you (and me) to ponder:

 

  • How do you feel when saying “yes” and “no” to things?

  • Assertiveness and confidence

  • Learn how to say no (boundary setting)

  • Learn how to express your own opinion and put forward your emotions

  • Examine your intentions

  • Examine where you spend most of your time and energy (thoughts/feelings – you or others)

  • Wait to be asked for help rather than giving it so readily (or insisting on it)

  • Ask others to help you

  • I’ll repeat – don’t mistake kindness for people-pleasing

 

I know I am a good person. It can just get to me at times. As stupid as it sounds, I don’t know why more people don’t like me. Not in any narcissistic sense, but I tick a lot of boxes on what people usually say they look for in people, and yet the reality is to the contrary. Looking in the wrong places, I guess. For such a caring person, I find this “not caring what people think” malarky somewhat more difficult in practice.

 

Like I say frequently, it’s usually not large, broadscale changes that are needed, but smaller, everyday modifications. I genuinely don’t think I’m a people-pleaser, I mean, I generally don’t do what I don’t want to do, but maybe I’m a tad too attentive and sensitive to the needs and emotions of others – which was probably necessary when I was becoming a clinical psychologist, but maybe not so much anymore. Too much self-sacrifice can leave one feeling empty. At the end of the day whose life are you living?

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2 commentaires


Look in the mirror, like what you see and live your own life, your own way and don't give a shit (Mrs Malarky) what others think because at the end of the day love, that is all that matters!! As you age, you will learn that if you can count True Friends or genuine family on one hand then, indeed, you are a lucky person. Friendship and relationships should be based on genuine kindness but in this modern world most people have forgotten this sadly.


As I am no "people pleaser", nor have I ever been or will.........I can live with myself, my values, my morals and my views quite happily and simply.........a priceless life in my view, especially in…


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Martyn Foster
Martyn Foster
24 févr.
En réponse à

In numerous ways, mum, you have given me strength over the years and set an example of resolve and resilience.


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