Too many of us live our lives as if they are not our own. Instead of pursuing our goals with passion and determination we stay on the sidelines of life. There are many reasons why we do this including fear, procrastination and not having specific knowledge to move forward. Sometimes, it boils down to being a “people pleaser.”
There are several reasons why we feel the need to seek the approval of others. Acceptance and approval are primal needs that go back to when we were very young. If our parents or caregivers did not fulfill their role sufficiently in terms of meeting our needs when we were young, some of us may grow up with low self esteem or a challenged self concept. This in turn may translate into the need to excessively please people in order to feel accepted or to gain approval.
If you are putting other people’s needs and wants above your own and relegating your dreams and goals to the “someday” pile, I encourage you to rethink this strategy. It is good to help people whenever you can. In fact, being of service and helping people is what life is truly all about. It is our relationships and contributions in the end that really matter. If you are constantly putting other peoples needs and wants before your own this can become problematic and can lead to both stress overload and burnout.
If we are honest with ourselves, sometimes we are more interested in having people like us than in pursuing our goals and dreams. If you continually people please by responding to other people’s needs and wants before your own, you may start to feel resentful in that you are not being true to yourself. This is detrimental because your dreams can be put on the back burner. For example, instead of continuing to write your book, you are continuously at the beck and call of a friend or family member who always seems to be in some sort of financial or relationship crisis. Maybe it’s time that you tell him or her that they need to seek some type of assistance from a professional who can help them with these issues instead of always relying on you.
All of us are living on borrowed time. It therefore becomes paramount that you make your needs and desires a priority. Not next year, next month or next week. Now! Now is the perfect time to revisit some of your goals and dreams that you have been neglecting and start pursuing them with a renewed tenacity. Look at the areas in your life that are either emotionally, physically or energetically draining you or distracting you from your goals. Develop a plan to either eliminate them or minimize them. While the word YES is a powerful word, so is the word NO. If you tend to people please learn to employ the word NO more often, when it comes to people or projects that drain your energy and have no value to you. If this is a challenge for you consider taking an assertiveness skills or negotiation skills course so that you can say no authentically and powerfully while respecting the other person.
Share your insights into what strategies you have used to overcome “people pleasing” tendencies.
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