People Pleasing: Is it worth it?

Often times we find ourselves in a situation where we are asked this particular question: Am I doing the right thing for this person? Whether it is that dinner commitment we made weeks ago or the promise we made to help someone with a specific project; this question or others like it are formed. It’s good to be that helpful friend or family member. Yet, can it be taken too far?

This is something that I struggle with in my own life, I am never sure if I am finding the right balance between helping everyone, those who need it the most, or even myself. Often times, it can be exhausting to try to make everyone happy. One of the biggest roughest spots of being a people pleaser is that guilt tends to be an emotion that overruns or control their life. If one person feels even the slightest discomfort, a people pleaser tends to think it is their fault and they are to blame. Eventually, it can even make a people pleaser feel immensely guilty for no reason at all. This is an extremely tiring way to live.

The truth is we cannot make everyone happy all the time. Sometimes, we have to prioritize who we can help and who can’t help. This includes ourselves who might need the helping. Stretching yourself thin amongst for everyone takes it toll and eventually will make everything feel empty and lonely on the inside. So what is the best way to overcome people pleasing?

The answer is being assertive. Being assertive does not mean that you are telling others off or being too aggressive. It is defined as taking a position and sticking with it, being able to speak coherently about what you want or how you can prioritize your goals. This means being able to take the initiative of defining how you can be a best asset to yourself and those you are seeking to help. If you end up spreading yourself too thin, you are not going to be of any help to everyone and your attention will be in a different direction rather than in the present moment. So remember, next time you feel overwhelmed with trying to help too many individuals: prioritize, assert your needs, and take the initiative to meet your needs as well.

Written By: Jasper Gates, M.A., LPC Intern