I would define a people-pleasing as someone who is doing something for others in pursuit of a certain, desired outcome.
There is an expectation of a particular result ahead of time. And the result that the people-pleaser is going for, is always a positive feeling.
In other words, the people-pleaser pleases in order to feel good.
Let me explain this a little further. We have a well-intentioned belief that if we do something nice, kind, helpful for someone else, then we will make that person happy. If we make that person happy they will likely be nice, kind and helpful to us.
If we make them happy, then they will make us happy.
And if we become really skilled at making someone happy by being nice, kind and helpful, then we may experience receiving even more from them. Not only will they make us happy – we may also get the other person to like us, make us feel appreciated, loved, secure and taken care of. They might also even agree with us, stand up for us, support us, need us and approve of us.
Wow. That feels amazing. The people-pleaser figures out that making other people happy means that not only do they get to feel good, they get all these other positive emotions and experiences as well.
But what happens when the people-pleaser doesn’t get the outcome that they were expecting?
It can be very difficult to deal with. People-pleasers think that they can expect a certain outcome (happiness, kindness, helpfulness) from the person that they are trying to please and when they don’t get it, it can so hard to understand. Many people-pleasers will think that something is wrong with them. They might have thoughts like this.
I didn’t help them enough
It just wasn’t good enough
It wasn’t what they wanted
I have let them down
I am not good enough
They don’t like me
They don’t appreciate me
These kinds of thoughts can be very painful for people pleasers to think and often create feelings of insecurity, self-doubt, worry, anxiousness, and regret.
Negative emotions like this can be hard to handle and may push people-pleasers to try even harder to make others happy, even trying to anticipate and manage other people’s needs, at all costs.
This is the negative ugly cycle of people pleasing.
As people-pleasers attempt to create happiness in others, they can lose perspective and connection to their own happiness. Their own needs become secondary.
Resentment builds. Anger surfaces. It gets ugly.
The people-pleaser feels miserable.
And breaking the cycle seems impossible.
Except it isn’t.
So many of us find ourselves in situations like this because we believe that we are the ones responsible for creating the feelings in other people.
But, that is not the way it really works and here is why that is such good news for you.
Everyone creates their own feelings from the thoughts they think. We are each 100% responsible for what we feel. No one can make us feel anything. Feelings are created from thoughts, not from other people and events.
So how is that good news?
First, we get to think whatever we want. As human beings, we can think about our thoughts. Which means that we can notice them, see the effect of them and CHANGE THEM. Thoughts are fluid. Thoughts are only opinions and impressions of the world around us in that moment. And we always have the option to think whatever we want.
Yes, we can change our thinking anytime we want. And changing our thinking changes our feelings. Our feelings are our own responsibility.
Feeling miserable comes from thinking thoughts that make us miserable.
Feeling happy comes from thinking thoughts that make us feel happy.
The second reason this is such good news is that it means that other people do not need to change in order for us to feel better. Other people do not need to be happy for us to be happy. We have the capability of choosing the emotions we want to feel, regardless of what is happening around us.
This is incredibly liberating, especially if you are a people-pleaser who is struggling to manage your own emotions because you believe that you have to create happiness in others to feel good.
You do not – that is not your job. That responsibility belongs to them.
You can create your own happiness and any other emotion that you want to feel, anytime you want. I recommend that you focus on self-pleasing first. Figure out your emotional needs and give that to yourself. Then go out into the world and do amazing, caring, helpful and kind things for others – without any attachment to the outcome. Knowing that you have taken care of yourself ahead of time.
If you want to learn more strategies for who to kick a people-pleasing habit for good, join my upcoming FREE CLASS “6 Reasons Why People-Pleasing Hurts More Than It Helps. How to break the habit that keeps you from having everything you really want!”
For class details and to reserve your seat – CLICK this LINK