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Why you should stop being a people pleaser

Lifestyle
 A sad young man. (Courtesy)

In the complex and interesting web of different personalities, individuals who consistently prioritise the needs and desires of others over their own may find themselves unwittingly engaging in patterns of self-sabotage.

These individuals commonly referred to as "people pleasers", exhibit distinctive characteristics and behaviours that, while initially stemming from a well-intentioned desire to maintain harmony, can lead to detrimental consequences for their well-being.

People pleasers often possess an acute fear of rejection or disapproval which drives their relentless pursuit of meeting others’ expectations. This fear, rooted in a deep-seated need for external validation, becomes a driving force behind their behaviours, compelling them to go to great lengths to ensure the comfort and satisfaction of those around them.

A characteristic of people pleasers is an excessive concern for the opinions of others. This preoccupation with external validation can result in a habitual neglect of their own needs, desires and boundaries. The desire to avoid conflict or disappointing others becomes so ingrained that they sacrifice their authenticity and genuine self-expression in the process.

Moreover, people pleasers exhibit an over-commitment to helping and supporting others often at the expense of their own time, energy and well-being. This chronic self-neglect can lead to feelings of burnout, resentment and an overwhelming sense of emptiness as the pursuit of external validation fails to provide the inner fulfilment they seek.

The fear of saying ‘’no’’ is another hallmark trait of people pleasers. This reluctance stems from an underlying anxiety about disappointing others or being perceived as uncooperative.

Consequently, they find themselves entangled in a web of commitments and obligations, stretching their capacities thin and compromising their ability to prioritise themselves.

By suppressing their own needs and desires, they inadvertently hinder the development of authentic, reciprocal relationships as others may sense a lack of authenticity or may grow weary of interactions characterised by a one-sided exchange.

Additionally, people pleasers may develop a pervasive fear of confrontation, avoiding assertiveness for fear of causing discomfort or conflict. This aversion to healthy confrontation can lead to the accumulation of unaddressed grievances, fostering resentment and perpetuating a cycle of passive-aggressive behaviour.

Overcoming the self-sabotaging tendencies associated with people-pleasing requires a comprehensive and introspective approach. Developing assertiveness skills, establishing clear personal boundaries and cultivating self-awareness are key components of the healing process.

Seeking support from mental health professionals can also provide valuable insights and strategies to help break the patterns of self-sabotage and foster a more balanced and authentic way of relating to oneself and others.

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