“Say no to everything, so you can say yes to the one thing.”
― Richie Norton
One of the bad habits I have that I can’t seem to shake off no matter what I do is that of trying to win other people’s approval. I’ve tried to get rid of this habit for a long time now and no matter how much I try to remind myself to say “No” and put my happiness above others when the situation calls for it, I still end up in the wrong end of the bed.
We all want to please people for a variety of reasons. It can be because of recognition, peer pressure, or most of the time, it’s because we don’t want to be criticized. We want everyone to like us and in doing so, we try to please them by putting their joy above ours even if sometimes, we already feel miserable deep inside.
I used to work for a boss who I tried to please by always volunteering to do something that’s not supposed to be my responsibility. I wanted so much to be promoted and recognized so I did whatever my boss said and I never said “No” even if I was feeling overwhelmed with all the things I have in my plate. I stayed up late, even brought work home in some instances if only to prove that I was worthy.
Come year-end, guess what? I was not promoted. I was so disappointed because I thought I won my boss over by being proactive.
We all have a people pleaser in all of us and if you are not aware, here are some clear signs that you are becoming one:
1. Over-Apologizing – I understand that as a person raised to have good values, we always try our best to not step on anyone’s toes or offend someone but there are circumstances when we do so rather unintentionally. It can be because of a bad joke or an insensitive remark and most of the time, a simple apology is all it takes. However, some of us can’t seem to just let that go and continuously apologize even in passing even if the other person already forgave us.
I know because I was this person once upon a time. I can’t seem to get rid of the guilt even if the other person has already moved on and it’s all because I don’t want that person to think or speak ill of me.
2. Fear of Offending Someone – this is almost similar to the first sign but I don’t know if it’s just me but have you ever felt so paranoid that you might have offended somebody? It’s like you said something you think was harmless but then you realize that someone who was listening may have been offended by what you said. This isn’t bad at all but if you always feel this way every time, you’re probably a people pleaser.
3. Fear of Trying Something New – one of the possible signs of being a people pleaser is that of staying in your comfort zone. Why? Because of your fear of the unknown. You feel reluctant to try something new because of the possibility of failing and in doing so, you are afraid of what people will say about you if and when you fail.
4. Fear of Failure – being a perfectionist says a lot about a person. Apart from having great attention to detail, it can also mean that you are afraid of failure because you don’t want people to look at you any lesser and because failure makes you look weak or inferior. You believe people expects highly of you and one wrong move can spell your doom.
This is the reason I’m thankful for my parents because I didn’t feel any pressure that I had to live up to a certain expectation. They just let me be who I am which is how I am with my kids now.
5. You Let People Go Beyond Your Boundariess – another sign of being a people pleaser is if you are letting people go beyond your boundaries. Boundaries are keys to happiness, By having personal boundaries, you are making people aware how far you can tolerate their actions. If you don’t set personal boundaries, people will run over you and take advantage of you. Not to mention, disrespect you.
Being nice is admirable. But being too nice will make you miserable. You need to learn to say “No” and be able to tell people if they’re going beyond your personal space.
6. You’re Trying to be Someone You’re Not – I am a dignified nerd and I am certainly proud of being one. I don’t go out for drinks or go bar-hopping at night. I’m a home buddy and my only out-door sport is basketball.
You can be somebody else but the most important thing is that you are proud of who you are. Don’t try to pretend you are someone else just to please people. Don’t give in to peer pressure. If you are new in the company and your new colleagues enjoy gambling on weekends, you don’t have to come with them if you’re not into gambling.
You can’t expect to live a happy, fulfilling life is you trying to please everyone. You have to own your life and live it the way you want to and not how others want you to for in the end, your happiness and success are all in your hands and not other people’s.
Are you a people pleaser? Are you becoming one based on the signs mentioned?
I would love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment or feedback below.
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