Being a “People Pleaser” and How It Is Affecting Your Health

You may be asking yourself “How could being a “People Pleaser” affect your health?” Take Shannon for example; Shannon is a 35-year-old mother and wife. She works full time, finishes her work quickly and efficiently to make her boss happy, then often stays late to help her co-workers finish their work. After leaving work, she picks up her young children from daycare and continues home where she picks up the house and does the laundry. At this point, her husband has come home, who along with the kids, is hungry. Shannon quickly gets something ready for dinner or orders take out, then continues with the household chores. After the kids are in bed, she preps their clothes and lunches for the next day, maybe even her husbands. Morning comes, and Shannon will wake up at 5 am to get everyone ready for the day and out the door. Shannon is overweight and cannot make time for herself to go to the gym because she has committed herself to other people’s needs. Shannon is a “people pleaser.”

A “people pleaser” is someone who has a difficult time saying no to someone. They will go out of your way to help other people and are always there for their friends and family. At first, this sounds like an accommodating person, however, being a “people pleaser” can significantly affect your mental and physical health.

Are you a “People Pleaser?”

Have you ever put someone else’s needs before your own? Maybe you didn’t even realize you out their needs before your own. Often people do not believe they are a “people pleaser;” however, many people-pleaser attributes are much more common than you may think. Most people likely assume the signs of a “people pleaser” are obvious, but you might be surprised to find that without realizing it you are secretly a “people pleaser.”

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you apologize even when something might not have been your fault?
  2. Do you adjust your behavior to fit into various social groups?
  3. Do you need praise to feel as though you have a done a good job?
  4. Do you actively agree with others to avoid a conflict?
  5. Do you feel responsible for other peoples’ feelings?
  6. Do you feel uncomfortable if someone is angry at you?
  7. Do you hide your emotions from others when you are hurt?
  8. Do you find yourself unable to say no to others?

If you answered yes to some or all these questions, there is a possibility that you may be a “people pleaser.”

What are the Side Effects of Being a “People Pleaser”

Not all the side effects of being a “people pleaser” are negative. It can be fulfilling to go out of your way to do things for your loved ones, and there will be times at work when you will go out of your way to please people, such as new clients or your boss. As a “people pleaser,” you become great at resolving conflicts, and building connects in your personal and professional life, but what are the unseen side effects?

People are usually quick to catch on if you are never capable of saying no, which will lead to being taken advantage of. Some people will take advantage of your willingness to keep them happy and use you as often as they can. This applies to colleagues and family members. As much as you would like to be available all the time for your spouse and/or children this is not always the best idea. All your time ends up revolving around other people.

By putting your own needs on the back burner, you may begin to resent the very people you are striving to please which can lead to passive-aggressive behavior. The self-neglect will cause stress, depression, and anxiety, threatening your mental health.

Your mental health is not the only thing that will have a negative impact. Whether your struggle with your weight, depression or addiction you need time to yourself to maintain your physical health. It may be going to an AA meeting, your therapist/doctor, or just spending an hour at the gym.

How to Make Time for Yourself

You may now be wondering what you can do to make time for yourself. There are three things you can do to start making time for yourself. First, realize that you do have a choice and practice saying no. Saying no can be hard and you may find yourself feeling guilty, therefore practicing is a must!

The next time someone asks you for a favor ask yourself, “Is their need more important than your own?” You may know that their need is not more important, but the idea of saying no and upsetting your friend or family member seems upsetting. Take a deep breath and say no with conviction. The first no will be the hardest, but you need to remember the benefits of taking care of your own needs.

Lastly, you do not need to explain your decision. People often feel they need to defend their decision and explain why they have said no. By explaining your reasoning, you are giving the other person power to convince you that your needs can be taken care of another time. “You can go to the gym tomorrow; one day won’t hurt you.” By keeping your reasoning to yourself, you are taking away their ability to convince you that their needs are more important than your own.

Being a “people pleaser” is a hard habit to break, but at the end of the day you will feel more accomplished by taking care of yourself, and it will free up your time to say “yes” to the people you actually want to help instead of feeling obligated to help.

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