In today’s world, it is not uncommon for one to hear about how they shouldn’t be a people pleaser. This may have been something one has come through reading books on self development, or they may have heard about it after reading articles online, for instance.
But if this wasn’t the case, it may have been something that they have heard from the people they know. Nevertheless, one may find they have the same outlook, and this could then be a sign that they are not a people pleaser.
The Right Outlook
When one thinks about being one, they may think about how it wouldn’t be possible for them to live their own life. And that they would always need to neglect their own needs in order to fulfil other people’s needs.
If one was to reflect on their own life, they may find that they have been this way for as long as they can remember. At the same time, there may have been a time in their life where they were a people pleaser.
Through experiencing life in this way, one is going to be only too aware of what it is like to always focus on other peoples needs. This is likely to mean that they experienced a lot of pain during this time.
However, this is not to say that other people always realised that they were ignoring their needs. The reason for this is that one may have come across as though they had it all together, and this would have stopped a lot of people from seeing what was taking place.
For example, one may have been in a position where they had a very successful career, and this may have meant that certain people saw them as an example to follow. Along with this, one may have acted as though they were doing something they enjoyed.
But while this is how they came across to others, it may have been a different story when they were by themselves. Yet if this wasn’t the case, it may have been because they avoided their true feelings, and this could have meant that they had a number of escapes.
Still, regardless of what was taking place in their life, they were able to step back and to see that they were on the wrong track. This is not to say that this happened overnight, but it is something that did happen.
And although part of them may have been in a place of resistance, another part of them was no longer prepared to experience life in the same way. During this time, they may have had people who supported them, as well as people who didn’t.
One may have thought about how even though they would probably lose a few people, it was something that was worth doing. They may have come to this conclusion through thinking about how it wasn’t possible for them to be themselves.
It was then a case of putting other people happiness first, or putting their own happiness first. Based on this, it wouldn’t have been possible for them to avoid loss; it was more about what they were prepared to lose in order to live a fulfilling life.
And in order for them to get from where they were to where they are, they may have reached out for support. This could have been provided through the books that they read, or they may have worked with another person, for instance.
What this comes down to is that there is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ approach, and this is because there can be a number of reason as to why someone would behave in a certain way. This is partly why self-understanding is so important, as it will give one the chance to find out what approach they need to take.
A Way of Life
However, even though one could agree with the outlook above, it doesn’t mean that they are able to pay attention to their own needs. On one hand, they will have the need to fulfil their own needs, and on the other hand, they will feel the need to always fulfil other people needs.
And the part of them that is the strongest is going to be the part that always feels the need to please other people. As a result of this, one could feel as though they have no control over their life, and they may find that they are used to feeling like a victim.
Therefore, no matter how they come across to other people, it is not going to be possible for them to live their own life. Their life is not only going to be an expression of how other people want it to be; it will also be an expression of how they think other people want it to be.
One could find that there are moments in their life where they don’t even know what their needs are. In fact, this could be something that they have become accustomed to, and this is to be expected; especially as they are so concerned with other people’s needs.
Now, if one was to reach out for support with this, they may be told that they need to look into what is taking place in their mind. They could come across information that goes into how they will need to change what they believe, and they may hear about how it will be important for them to work on their ‘self-esteem’, among other things.
Through taking this approach, one may find that their need for approval gradually begins to diminish. Yet at the same time, they may find that even though they have worked on their mind; they still don’t feel comfortable putting their needs first.
If this is the case, the reason why one doesn’t feel comfortable putting their needs first could be because they are boundaryless. Through feeling so exposed, it is going to be normal for one to feel that it is not safe for them to live their own life.
When one has boundaries, it will allow them to feel safe in their body, and as a result, putting their needs first won’t be seen as something that would put their survival at risk. This is because boundaries not only give one the ability to say yes as no; they also allow them to feel safe enough to express their true-self.
If one doesn’t have boundaries, it can be due to what took place during their childhood years. During this time, they may have been abused and/or neglected, and they may have been around people who got too close to them.
Through being treated in this way, it wouldn’t have been possible for them to develop boundaries. From a young age, they would have learned that their survival rests on putting other people’s needs first.
If this is something that one can relate to, it will be important for them to reach out for support, and this can be provided by a therapist and/or a support group. During this time, one may be grieving unmet childhood needs and dealing with trauma.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.