“Be happy. Be yourself. If others don’t like it, let them be. Happiness is a choice. Life isn’t about pleasing everybody.” Unknown
Does your self -esteem depend on the opinion of others?
Have you become so absorbed in others that you ignore your own needs and desires, living a life that depends on the reaction and judgement of other people? Is your mood, their mood? If so, you may be a people pleaser!
Often caring people have difficulty finding the middle ground between apathy on one end and victimhood on the other. You want to be a good person and we are taught to not be selfish. But maybe, like others, you have gone too far! As in most things there needs to be a balance.
Some signs you may be a dependent people pleaser:
- Unhealthy caretaking.
The type of caretaking referred to here is not healthy caring for someone or helping someone out or providing care for a loved one! Instead people pleasing folks actually feel responsible for others actions, feelings, choices and well-being. They try to anticipate everyone’s needs and often wonder why others don’t do the same for them.
To minimize trouble and relieve tension caused by others’ negligence the overly dependent people pleaser may take on the home and social responsibilities of this person. Think about the grandparent who is providing all of the financial and childcare responsibilities for the family of an adult child, who isn’t up to the task. This grandparent is spending their retirement nest egg and working harder than they had planned at this stage in life.
- Low self-esteem.
Overly dependent individuals help others in order to feel valuable in their relationships. After all, who would like them otherwise? They tend to blame themselves for anything that goes wrong in the relationship.
Do you ignore, minimize and rationalize problems saying “things will get better when…”??? Do you hope not talking about the problem will make it go away?
- Fear of anger.
Dependent individuals often are afraid of anger- their own and others’. They avoid conflict at almost all costs!
- Health problems.
The stress of bearing this burden of responsibility often causes multiple health problems.
If any of these signs speak to you, what can you do about it? These are not easy patterns to change and the reaction of others to these changes can be intense! Don’t expect too much from yourself at first. Remember to take baby steps.
- Fulfill your needs first.
You might start with something very small like delaying a response to a demanding text. Even if you believe in the concept of service to others, if you do not exercise good self-care you will not be able to help anyone for long.
- Become more self –reliant.
Tackle something new on your own. Show yourself that you can be successful and handle things.
- Recognize your own true worth.
Start living for pleasure rather than obligation, duty, or what others think of you. Have gratitude and appreciation for yourself and life. If that feels like too big of a leap, then just look for one thing you find good in yourself. Something really and truly wonderful. You may discover that will lead to one more thing, and then another.
- Keep company w/positive people.
The people around you affect your life – either positively or negatively. Negative people sap your energy and creativity with their constant putdowns, complaints and self –defeating thoughts. Instead, seek out positive people who inspire and support you to reach your maximum potential.Before reacting in your usual way, take a breath! Ask yourself if this is best course of action for yourself OR the other person.
- When you say “no”, don’t defend yourself or over explain.
A simple “I’m sorry but I am unable to help with that”, will do.
So, let this be the year you begin to get in the driver’s seat of your own life! It will be scary to step outside your comfort zone, but in the end you will have a life that is YOUR best life; less stressful, more joyful and fulfilling.