As a woman, wife and mother, I finally know the difference between pleasing and loving, obeying and respecting. These are important differences we must teach our kids. It has taken me so many years to not be a people pleaser. Do you yearn to please others, especially your children? How about Peer Pressure? Have you ever been pressured by friends into doing what you felt in your heart was wrong? So many of us have been peer pressured into alcoholism, drugs, political strife and/or even pregnancy on the whims of others. In wondering if covert manipulators have inbuilt radar on the weak? Unfortunately, unlike fantasy, it is no fun to be led astray by others. There are many ways, we as adults can pleasure others without hurting ourselves in the process.
Unfortunately, doing more for others will not make others like or love us more. Our valuation of ourselves must come from deep within, not from pleasing others. Did you know, not receiving approval from your parents is a form of emotional abuse? People-pleasers feel they must constantly be performing acts of service to others to gain acceptance. That requires a lot of work, effort, and energy. All for not, most times. We all have been abused or used by others in one form or another, maybe, even starting from childhood. Children who feel unloved and unprotected become people pleasers because they have come to believe they are unworthy of love. They try to please others, give to others, and care for others in a desperate hope that they may make themselves worthy. They grow into adults who never think they are “enough.”
It doesn’t matter what color we are or what gender we are, and/or how old we are. We all become lost and codependent living as people pleasers. On a more personal level, Melody Beattie, a strong black woman, wrote in Codependent No More, “Ever since people first existed, they have been doing all the things we label codependent. They have worried themselves sick about other people. They have tried to help in ways that didn’t help. They have said yes when they meant no. They have tried to make other people see things their way. They have bent over backwards avoiding hurting people’s feelings and, in so doing, have hurt themselves. They have been afraid to trust their feelings. They have believed lies and then felt betrayed. They have wanted to get even and punish others. They have felt so angry they wanted to kill. They have struggled for their rights while other people said they didn’t have any. They have worn sackcloth because they didn’t believe they deserved silk.”
There is not enough time to do only what others want you to do. People pleasing can be a good thing or not. If your pleasing others out of the goodness of your heart, that is a good thing. If you are expecting something in return, it is not a good thing. Goodness is about integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, and moral courage not pay back. Whatever reason we please, we all do it for different reasons. So, if you are wondering how you begin reclaiming your personal rights, check out the following exercises:
Exercises In Reclaiming Your Dignity:
- By stepping back and re-evaluating your own worth.
- By not falling for Peer Pressure
- Taking time to consider what your needs are and what you are willing to do and not willing to do to maintain relationships.
- Try direct conversation with your abuser and give them time to want to change. .
- Protect yourself, your God-given rights and your time.
- Get counseling. Learn coping skills and your legal rights.
- Assert yourself
- If you are a people-pleaser, STOP. It is not in your own best interest to carry others and it is a waste giving UP so much of ourselves with no return shared.
- Say no to check emotional, physical and sexual abuse before the abuser gets too much power over you.
If you go through life feeling as though you are “not enough,” this may be a symptom of wanting to please others. Be aware that people pleasing does make it easier to ignore the red flags of abusive relationships. Hurt people, hurt people is a popular phrase now. We must watch out for those who condition others to continually please them. It is a sad, intrusive habit to take on when pleasing others at your own disadvantage. You don’t have to walk on eggshells to maintain relationships. People pleasing pleases everyone but the pleaser. If you’re tired of fake smiles, remember when abusers wish you the best, they’ll also hate you when you make it solo.
I’m Joyce White, I’m Winged for Art Therapy. We all have true talent. What a shame to waste our lives by not knowing how special we can be. I’ve been slowly and quietly growing and changing into the person I’ve always wanted to be through hard work and persistence. It is my hope my articles at Global Healing Exchange, will help others smile and find their own passion. Oscar Wilde tells us, “The soul is born old but grows young. That is the comedy of life. And the body is born young and grows old. That is life’s tragedy!