While trying to please others can be something everyone does from time to time, for others, it is the focus of their lives.
What this person wants from life as whole or what they want to do from moment to moment is then secondary. The needs and wants of others are far more important than their own wants and needs.
And perhaps this person has completely lost touch with their own needs, wants and desires, through becoming consumed by what others want.
A Way Of Life
To the observer, this kind of behaviour is can seem ridiculous and as something that wastes a lot of time and energy. It is clear that the people pleaser is neglecting their own needs, happiness and fulfilment, in order to help other people achieve these things.
And yet to the people pleaser themselves, this is probably something that feels normal and therefore the right thing to do. It could be that they have always been this way and have never even considered that there could be another way.
Or it could be that although they always put others first, it is not necessarily something that they consciously chose to do. And that it is something they feel they have to do and have no choice.
On the surface, a people pleaser can seem to be a door mat and as having no back bone. And they can also be seen as model citizens and as examples of how to be. As they can be kind, keen to help and have no difficulty in getting along with other people.
However, appearances can often be deceptive and belie what is actually going on within.
The Forgotten Self
So while it can depend on how aware the people pleaser is, as to how they feel about pleasing others, it is going to lead to the same consequences. And that is that, their own self is being forgotten about.
One may feel a sense of anger, rage and frustration through not taking care of themselves. This could also alternate between one feeling as though they are being responsible and that it would be selfish to put themselves first.
That fact that a people pleaser always looks to put the needs of others before their own, can create the illusion that what they do has no personal benefit or gain. And that they are selfless individuals, unlike people who put themselves first.
But, the primary reason that these people are putting others first is because of what it is doing for them. And not because of what it is doing for others.
At a deeper level, they have learnt that it is only safe to put others first and that it is not safe to put themselves first.
The ego mind will have formed certain associations around taking care of their own needs and wants. And when it comes to people pleasers, these are unlikely to be empowering of healthy.
So if they were to put themselves first, it could lead to the following associations being triggered:
· That one would be rejected
· That one would be abandoned
· That it wouldn’t be safe
· That one would end up alone
· That one wouldn’t survive
· That one would become isolated
And as fears such as these exist, it will be a real challenge for them to look after their own needs.
What has happened in their adult years and their childhood years will make a difference here. However, the primary influencer is likely to be the childhood years. At this age, one is dependent on their caregivers for survival and so it is vital that they do as they say.
Now, some caregivers will be more accepting of a Childs needs than others. And how accepting they are, will go a long way to defining whether the child will grow up to be a people pleaser or not.
If the child is allowed to have its own needs, without experiencing a loss of love, acceptance and approval, then it will form associations that it is safe to have needs.
But if the child experiences a withdrawal of love, approval and acceptance when it comes to its own needs, then it will form associations that it’s not safe to have them. In this case, the child will probably only be loved when they are taking care of their caregivers needs.
These early experiences can then create an adult that doesn’t feel safe to have needs. And then the only way to feel safe is to look after other people’s needs, thereby recreating these early experiences.
If they put themselves first it will lead to fear and of not feeling safe. Although years have gone by, to the ego mind, this is what feels familiar and therefore safe. And as long as these associations exist, it will cause one to attract people and situations that reflect the past or to interpret the present in the same way.
If one is constantly neglecting their own needs in order to help another, it is unlikely to lead to a fulfilling life. Through being there for oneself, it will be a lot easier to assist others.
The assistance of a therapist, healer or a coach can enable one to accept their needs and wants as normal and acceptable and not as something to be fearful of.
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.