Written by Amy Beecham
If you’ve identified some people-pleasing tendencies that you’d rather not possess, follow these five steps.
Being the go-to person in the lives of your loved ones can feel like a rewarding experience. But constantly making yourself available to others can take a deep emotional toll. Often, we can fall into patterns of people-pleasing without even realising it, andbegin to neglect our own needs.
As Dr Jenn Anders, aka The Anxiety Doctor on Instagram explains, this is often learned during childhood as a coping mechanism, and it can be hard to break the habit.
“If you are a people pleaser, you are probably familiar with wearing a facade of niceness,” writes Dr Anders. “However, this pattern of niceness ultimately hurts you, in the form of not being true to who you really are. Consciously or not, people-pleasing behaviours fundamentally shape your interactions with the world.”
However, Dr Anders stresses that the behaviours are possible to unlearn, and shares the critical lessons and mantras that she believes can help if you are trying to recover from your people-pleasing tendencies.
“You do not need to explain your boundaries, you know no one an explanation”
When we set boundaries, we can often be painted as a villain, but it’s important to remember that not everyone can and should have access to us. There’s a big difference between being a good friend and wanting to be seen as ‘nice’ 24/7, no matter the personal cost.
“It’s OK if not everyone likes you, you can’t make everyone happy”
Altering your behaviour to become more palatable to others is a classic indication of people-pleasing, and people pleasers need validation from others to feel good about themselves. But it’s important to try and avoid going to extremes to earn praise from others because, at the end of the day, you really can’t please everyone, no matter how hard you might try.
“Nothing is personal. People project their lived experiences onto others”
The stress from constant people pleasing can make it hard to enjoy situations. So if you do end up upsetting someone, remove your emotions from the situation. Learning not to take every small criticism of your behaviour personally will do you a world of good in the long run.
“You will be a more empathetic and forgiving person when you meet your needs first”
The saying is true: you can’t pour from an empty cup. Make sure that you spend the same time and energy checking in on your friends and family as you do with yourself. A body scan is a very simple technique designed to help you relax that will allow you to be present, in your body and emotions.
“It is not your job to fix people. Their happiness and wellbeing do not depend on you”
We’re naturally inclined to want to help the people we love when they’re struggling. While it’s fine to offer support when you can, your only responsibility is your own mental wellbeing.
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