MANILA, Philippines – I’m willing to bet that you know at least one person in your inner circle of friends who is a true-blue people-pleaser. What do I mean by this? Here are some examples:
She may be your smart cousin who offers to do your book report (and your thesis paper and even your taxes) just so you’d sing praises about her.
Or he may be your rich office buddy who treats everyone (your boss, your colleagues, and your building’s janitor) just so he’d feel good about himself.
She may even be your generous next-door neighbor who always brings you and the other neighbors home-cooked meals just so you’d all like her.
I’m exaggerating here, but you get the point: people-pleasers are serial AWOLs – Addicts Who Obsess about Likes. They’re the real-life equivalent of your Facebook friends who always nag you to like their own profile photos, dinner photos, and wacky shots.
Only, in the case of people-pleasers, it’s more serious as their need for approval is more than just wanting to be liked. It’s more of a consistent thirst to always be respected, to always be approved, and to always be adored by everyone.
How do I know? It’s because I was a people-pleaser myself!
When I was younger, I used to do everyone’s book reports, I used to pay for everyone’s lunch, and I used to bring everyone’s snacks.
I was mind-drained, broke, and stressed. And I wanted all of these frustrations to stop, so I stopped being a people-pleaser altogether. I’ve had enough. I couldn’t give everyone everything that they wanted so I stopped trying.
Sure, I lost a few “friends” here and there, but that was it. Besides, if they only stayed for the free book reports, the free lunch, and the free snacks, they don’t deserve to be called “friends” anyway, right?
My friends, it’s perfectly okay not to please everyone. It’s fine if some people don’t even like you just because you said no to a trivial request. And yes, of course, it’s acceptable to not be liked by everyone.
I’m not saying you should stop caring for everyone here – I’m saying you should stop caring for those who don’t really value you, continue caring for those who really value you, and start caring more for yourself!
If you’re acting out of love and genuinely caring for people, that’s fine.
But if you’re acting out of always wanting to elicit a positive response, then stop. You’re people-pleasing.
Why should you stop being an AWOL? Here are 5 reasons to help you think differently:
1. You have more resources for the activities that really empower you.
When you finally learn to say no to people, you’re making more time for yourself to pursue the things that you’re really passionate about. You’re also putting more energy to do the things you love. And, yes, you’re spending more money as an investment for yourself.
Let’s face it: would you rather spend your resources in treating acquaintances who may or may not appreciate it or would you rather donate them to a non-profit organization?
2. You learn to be more assertive and respected.
Never ever think that people will automatically like you more or respect you more if you always say yes to them. Saying yes every time is just like saying, “Okay, please take all my time from me. I’m here to serve you, master. I exist for you!”
Saying no, on the other hand, commands respect and authority. If you have the power to say no to a trivial request, you’re communicating that you’re secure and comfortable with your choice. It’s like saying, “I don’t need to sacrifice all my time and resources for you. If you don’t respect my decision, then I can’t do anything about that. I’m not responsible for your happiness.”
3. You appreciate the “real people” more.
In life, not everyone will reveal their real selves to you. It’s sad, but the real truth is that some people only tolerate being with you because they want to get something out of the relationship. Some people are heavy manipulators who always expect you to do something for them. Gasp!
When you finally stand your ground and stop pleasing everyone, these fake people will magically stay out of your life and these real people will stay with you. Try it – it works!
4. You become more honest with yourself.
Being a people-pleaser hides the real you in order to conform to everyone’s notion of an ideal person. If you’re with someone who hates money, you pretend to hate money to get their approval. If you’re with someone who gossips, you gossip to get liked. And if you’re with someone who spouts negativity, you become negative in order to receive validation.
Just who are you, really? Who is your real self? What are your real values? Which things do you really prioritize in life? You’ll only learn these things if you stop people-pleasing and start self-valuing instead.
5. You acknowledge that your self-worth is your net worth!
Just as you don’t need external validation to work on your net worth, you don’t need the approval of everyone to develop your self-worth as well.
Yes, our parents, our friends, and our loved ones are there to give us pieces of guidance along the way – but this fact doesn’t mean that we have to consistently please them just so we’d have a secure self-worth.
You can’t ever please everyone every time. You’ll spread yourself thin and beat yourself up in the process!
Other people’s opinions of you are not necessarily true.
Your worth as a person is not dictated by how many Facebook likes you get or by how many Twitter retweets you amass.
Most of all, no one has the right to tell you what you do or what you don’t deserve.
You’re free to think for yourself and to act for yourself.
Your brain and your hands are there – use them for the right reasons. – Rappler.com
Lianne Martha M. Laroya believes in better days. She founded The Wise Living to educate fellow 20-somethings on self development and money management without boring them to girly tears. Hey, she’s going to publish her book this year too! Connect with her on Twitter @MsLianneLaroya!
Young woman with sunflowers photo from Shutterstock