Updated: Apr 24, 2021
When I was in college I tried to imitate everybody around me. I tried to fit in so that I will be liked by all. I tried to wear clothes that were in trend. I tried to look like the popular girls. It was very difficult for me to say No for any kind of request made to me. But there was a point where all of this was not making me happy. It was paradoxical because I thought copying and imitating others would make me happy but in reality it made me sad. I felt like a fake and hated wearing the facade everyday to please everyone so that I will be popular. The reason we try to please everyone is because it's in our DNA to belong in a group. Our ancestors, during our Hunter-Gatherer stage, worked in groups. This ensured their survival in life threatening situations like a deadly attack from a predator, famine, floods, earthquakes etc. So to be in the group, you needed to fit in. Everyone should accept you and like you if they were to include you in the group. If you tried to differ, you might have been outcasted by the group or would have been killed. Thus, longing for acceptance from everybody resulted in today's people pleasing behavior. Everyone is guilty of it. And it hampers our quality of life and relationships. Today this need to fit in is not essential as there are no such life threatening situations on a daily basis as there were in the past. So here are the ways you can put a Stop to your need to please eveybody:
1. Become aware
It is important to be aware and accept that you are a people pleaser. Many of us live in denial for the fear of facing the truth. If you feel misused, taken advantage of or are treated like a doormat, or you are the only one who gives in a relationship, you always do things to make others happy, you are highly image conscious, you feel like a fake from inside, you try to fit in groups whose members you personally hate from the bottom of the heart but are hanging out with them because they are popular etc; you definitely are a people pleaser. It is important to accept it. Unless you accept that there is a wound in your skin, you won't put ointment to heal it. That is why acceptance is the first step towards change.
2. Learn to say No and make boundaries
Do you find it difficult to say No? Helping people is good but not to a point where you are treated like a doormat. If people take advantage of your helpful nature, you need to know that you might be a people pleaser and have not clearly stated your boundaries. This doesn't make you a selfish person. It is important to care for your energy. Unless you care for yourself , how are you supposed to help and take care of others. You should give till the time the other person is treating you with respect and is not misusing you in anyway.
3. Be yourself
You are enough. You are perfect just as you are. You are the unique soul that Universe has manifested to experience this World. So why waste time copying others. Be authentic and genuine and you will feel less need to please people. When you are authentic and original, only those people will remain in your life who like the real you. So why waste time accumulating fake friends and relations by being fake. When we are not our authentic selves, we try to please everyone to like our fake selves. But when we are genuine, no effort is required to make people love us. Only those people will like you who love the real You and that is all you need.
4. Don't avoid arguments
I am guilty of this. I usually tried to avoid getting into arguments for the fear of not being liked by the person I am arguing with. I didn't want to look bad. But arguments if done within limits can be healthy and sometimes essential for the growth of the relationship. Arguments are essential at times for a change required on your current situation. So don't avoid them to please the other person, don't give in to demands that you don't want to do. Talk it out in a healthy manner and achieve a win win situation for both parties.
5. Heal your childhood trauma
Many of us become people pleaser, because we lack Self Love. Our upleasant childhood experiences either from family, friends or society can make us crave for love and validation from outside which takes the form of people pleasing. Heal this trauma by listening to affirmations on self love everyday. Read this https://www.mindsutra.in/post/10-ways-to-start-loving-yourself-the-way-you-deserve-to-be-loved-1 to increase your self love. Let go of the childhood trauma with Love and forgiveness to the ones who caused you trauma. What you experienced then is not what you will experience in future also.
I hope this article has provided ways you can stop being a people pleaser and live a life where you are the real you and do things that bring you Joy rather than do things to make people love you. What are your ways to stop being a people pleaser? Comment below and share your knowledge!