Abraham Janssens

We can say that wanting to be approved of—and loved—is as natural as wanting food and shelter. However it's when we try to please everyone that it becomes a problem. The people-pleaser dreads disapproval. Pleasing everyone seems to be the answer, the safe way to inoculate against conflict and confrontation in relationships, whether family, friends, or work. So we fail to speak up, fail to say what's on our mind, fail to allow ourselves to be the real person we are. Instead we become the go-to person: The one who will always change their plans at a moment's notice, the one who will always take on more work and stay late, the one who will always say yes and never says no.

Trying to please other people we may ignore your own wishes and this will make us feel like a victim. If someone believes is a victim then, even though this person will do things for others, he or she will feel resentful and this will give low self esteem.

Here are 6 suggestions on how to stop trying to please others:

  1. Know yourself. When you know your own wishes and goals then you can decide to make it a priority. Awareness also includes an evolving understanding of the experiences that led to the behavior in the first place. Understand where it comes from. Working with a therapist to process these experiences can be enormously helpful in beginning the healing process.
  2. Become your own friend. You need to start taking care of you. Self-love, involves accepting where you are in your life and who you are — flaws and all. Through self-care, we cultivate self-esteem.
  3. Take a break from social media. Some studies have showed, each time we receive a "like" or other pseudo response of approval on social media, we experience a spike in dopamine. This causes us to keep chasing the next “like” as the next "high", much like an addiction.
  4. It’s important to be with people who are supportive of us for who we are, not what we can do, have done, or who we know. This helps us start detangling our self-worth from external outcomes, such as winning the approval of others.
  5. Set clear boundaries — and follow through. We all have physical or emotional limits and because of these limits, we have to set boundaries. Letting someone step over your boundaries without voicing your frustrations can lead you to bottle up this negative feeling about a person.
  6. Recognize your achievements and when you’ve been successful. Many people-pleasers tend to focus on what went wrong. Since a lack of confidence can cause your people-pleasing ways, keep a file with positive and praising emails, cards or anything else, that can prove to you that you did well.

Imagine how much time we lose each moment we squash our authentic selves in an effort to be liked. If we base our inherent worth on the fleeting opinions of others, we cheat ourselves of the power with which we were born — the power to shape our experiences and embrace life and our brief time here with compassion — not only for others, but also for ourselves.

Embrace the cliché and love yourself. It’s highly doubtful that you will regret it. 

Pablo Munoz