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How to get over being a people-pleaser, and why you should want to

Being a people-pleaser comes naturally to some people but can be a professional disadvantage. Let’s discuss how to know if you’re over the top about it, and how to fix it.



Internalizing opinions is not a sign of weakness

We live in a society where our self-worth is challenged on a daily basis. Judgement tends to hang around every corner, and if it isn’t invisible to you yet, you’re in a tough spot.

At the end of the day, no one should tell you that the only opinion that matters is your own, because that isn’t true. Friends, family, and even casual acquaintances often postulate or give feedback—intentional or otherwise—that helps us model our behavior when we’re around them. Moreover, hearing other peoples’ takes on literally anything is one of the social conventions that helps us grow and mature as open-minded, world-savvy members of society. Hearing, accepting, and internalizing the opinions of others is not a bad thing, nor is it a sign of weakness.

Yet, you deserve happiness, too

By the same token, you deserve happiness insofar as you deserve fulfillment. When was the last time you did something for yourself? I don’t mean something for someone else that made them say or do something that, in turn, made you feel better about yourself – I mean something SOLELY for your benefit.

When was the last time you were selfish? I don’t mean greedy – I mean selfish, in the way that hurts no one but benefits only you. I’m talking about you doing what you want to do, when you want to do it, in the way that you would if no one else was around.

If you can’t remember the last time you reserved a slot in your own life for yourself, you’re probably a people-pleaser.

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If you identify, you’re a people-pleaser

Again, being a people-pleaser doesn’t make you weak, nor does it make you a fundamentally bad person. However, it doesn’t lead to the happiness that you think it might.

Seeing others benefit from your sacrifices may make you feel like a team player, or like you’re taking a necessary hit. Sometimes, you’ll be right; however, you don’t want people to begin to view you as the person that, when all else fails, can be depended on to make a sacrifice without compromising. Regardless of your motives, that DOES make you weak, at least in others’ eyes.

So, do things for yourself sometimes. Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, not because it will make your boss – or your friend, or your neighbor – happy. Go the extra mile when you want to, and hold back when you feel it’s best.

Your opinion isn’t the only one that matters, but it’s the one that matters most.

More reading

There are endless resources online to help you better understand this personality trait and how to not let it hold you back. Here is more reading for your day:

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Are You a People-Pleaser?

A Simple Guide to Being Yourself Instead of People Pleasing

How I Stopped Being a People Pleaser

Why Being A People-Pleaser Is Bad For You (And How to Stop)

21 Tips to Stop Being a People-Pleaser

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Why You Can’t Be a People Pleaser Without Also Being a Fraud – A Life on Your Terms

How to Stop Being a People Pleaser

Confessions of a People Pleaser | The Fix


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Jack Lloyd has a BA in Creative Writing from Forest Grove's Pacific University; he spends his writing days using his degree to pursue semicolons, freelance writing and editing, oxford commas, and enough coffee to kill a bear. His infatuation with rain is matched only by his dry sense of humor.

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