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One common trap that causes people to suffer from poor self esteem is the need to please people.
When you were a child growing up you probably sought the approval of your parents and chances are when you did something they didn’t like they got angry with you and maybe you got into trouble. That’s where this all starts. Many people spend their lives trying to please people and make this their main aim in life.
This way of living causes a lot of problems for you. Why?
Firstly, by trying to please other people you may ignore your own wishes and this will make you feel like a victim. You need to have a balance between your own wishes and those of others. When this balance tips over so you feel like your whole life is controlled by your need to please everybody the result is not only stress and unhappiness but low self esteem.
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If you suffer from this problem and want to break free then you need to do several things.
The first thing you must do is ask yourself why you are trying so hard to be liked by everyone else. Let me ask you this – do you think it is even possible for everyone to like you? How difficult is it to keep everyone happy?
Pleasing others means you start to forget how to say no. If you try you’ll feel guilty. Maybe you believe that a good person thinks of others more than themselves. Well, yes up to a point. If you want to be a saint then go ahead but remember that you can have a balance where you continue to think of others but give your own wishes and desires higher priority.
Self esteem means valuing yourself and that means being a friend to YOU. Weigh up your own needs against those of others and understand that you simply cannot please everybody.
Pleasing others all the time can give you a victim mentality and that is no good for you or for others. If you believe you are a victim then even though you try you will do things for others and feel resentful and this will give you low self esteem. Stop feeling like a victim and learn to say no. Put your own needs first, that is not selfish because if you do not look after yourself you can’t be a good partner, wife, husband , parent or whatever. Learning to say no and to stand up for yourself will boost your self confidence too.
Now many people pleasers try this and go to the extreme so be careful. Don’t become the opposite and ignore others completely as this kind of reaction is just as bad. You are looking for a balance.
How to stop trying to please others
Here are some suggestions:
- Know yourself – this is the first step towards self-awareness. When you know your own wishes and goals then you can decide to make it a priority to doing what you want to do in your life and restore balance so that you put your needs forward.
- If you have been looking for the approval of others and spent your time trying to please everybody but yourelf you need to do one very important thing. You need to look for your own approval. What is more important, what others think of you or what you think of yourself?
- Become your own friend. You need to start taking care of you. The first and most important step towards becoming your own best friend is self acceptance. Be happy with who you really are and then you can learn to like that person.
- Set your own boundaries and stick to them. You decide what your priorities are. What do you want to give your time to? You have the right to decide and you have the right to say no to others. Create your boundaries so that you allow yourself time to fulfil your needs and allow that balance between saying no and helping others to develop. There is no need to feel guilty about these boundaries as they are necessary.
So stop playing the victim and no matter what your past has contributed to your need to please people, you can change. Your new attitude will bring more happiness, confidence and self esteem into your life and you’ll be a more balanced person.
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Website Author and Editor Bio
Karl Perera is a fully qualified Life Coach (DipLC), Teacher (MA) and author of Self Esteem Secrets. He has taught at various universities including Durham, Leicester and Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge. He has run More-SelfEsteem.com since 1997 and is an expert in Self Esteem and Self Confidence.