You realize that you have a finite amount of time on this green and blue rock rotating around the sun at 30 km/sec and you choose to spend it making people smile. You try your best not to disappoint, say no or be negative in any way, but this has led you down a road of submissiveness and complacency. You get passed over for promotions, get relegated to the most menial of task and always pay for coffee. Your next epiphany is that you are an over-eager people-pleaser and you want to change it, but can you?
You bend the truth, but only to keep egos unbent
A prime characteristic of the people-pleaser in their natural environment is using the truth with slight discretion. You don’t flat out lie to manipulate but to avoid hurting people and their feelings. Say a co-worker, friend or random by-passer asks you to evaluate their work. You analyze it and although you do have constructive feedback the tendency to say their product is amazing, impressive, stunning, life-changing or profound, is too strong. Sure their writing sounds like the drunken ramblings of a less than sane street preacher, but you just can’t bring yourself to tell them to dial back the crazy and read a few grammar books.
Is it pathological?
It kind of is actually. The brain has a very intricate reward system in place. Well, I take that back it’s not that intricate, if you do something you like or pleases you, the brain releases a cocktail of feel good hormones into your bloodstream. When a smoker lights a cigarette, or a drinker takes a sip the brain secretly and unknowingly to its owner, makes them feel good through chemical supplementation. Funny enough you get addicted to that feel good hormone cocktail to the point where your brain will rewire itself to only release the hormones in correlation to a specific action. So if you get high off of people pleasing your brain might have made you that way.
There’s actually a name for the disorder
It’s called ‘caretaker personality disorder’ and it is a coping mechanism for the high anxiety associated with conflict and rejection. The problem is that there is an automatic response to repress anger and other negative emotions and turn them into guilt.
Can you break this cycle?
Absolutely, just like any addict can kick their poison of choice be it cigarettes, alcohol or pickle juice so can you. But you came to this article to see how you can kick the habit right? Ok, don’t be so pushy…actually go ahead and be pushy, that will help you be more assertive. You need to ease yourself into it though, don’t go and change from Polly People Pleaser to full on Simon Cowell devil critic straight away. Wasn’t Polly People Pleaser a movie….oh never mind I remembered what type of movie it was, and I swear I haven’t watched it.
There is a way to stop
Assertiveness is one of the most effective ways to stop people pleasing. You don’t have to be combative just ask for what you want, learn to say ‘no’ and stand up for things you are passionate about. If your tendencies are too strong to hush with assertiveness, it might be a good idea to seek professional help, extraditing the deeper emotional reasons behind your behavior.
See Also: Tony Montana’s Guide to Success
Are you a people pleaser or a reformed people pleaser? Then let me know in the comment section below.