It can be exhausting work living a life focused on other people’s needs. You’ve probably gotten to the point that it’s getting harder and harder to keep up this nice guy/girl persona, and you just want a break. You may have even started resenting some people in your life because you feel that your efforts to accommodate them have gone unappreciated and unreciprocated.
As a people pleaser, chances are your self-worth has become contingent on satisfying others. You might find yourself consistently stifling your own needs, or becoming a chameleon, in order to gain other’s acceptance. At this point, you’re probably even known by people as the helper, the nice person, the one who will bend over backwards for them. You’re now realizing though that this has become difficult to maintain and you’re ready to start focusing on yourself.
For most, their people pleasing tendencies originated at a young age from family dynamics. You may have had to silence your own needs because you knew that you wouldn’t be listened to, that your needs would not be met, or that you could even be punished for being too demanding. It could also have been the case that you had a parent who was emotionally demanding or unstable, to the point that you had to be hyperaware of their mood. This means you then become very skilled at saying and doing the right things so as to not upset them. There is little room for your own needs if you feel there are consequences for not putting others before you.
IN THERAPY, WE'LL FOCUS ON:
People pleasers have a history of putting others before themselves, so it’s important to see where your tendency to do this came from. There was once a very good, protective reason you developed this habit, so we’ll want to explore that more. Through examining your past, we’ll be able to see what approach will be most helpful for you moving forward.
There is a fear of rejection that accompanies most people pleasers – a feeling that if you aren’t being everything to everyone, then you’ll not be liked or accepted. What keeps this vicious cycle going is that your self-worth is overly focused on external validation. In therapy, we’ll work on you seeing value in who you are as a person, rather than just what you provide for people.
+ Personal Values (understanding yourself better)
You crave to live life for yourself at this point, yet you also might realize that you don’t know what that even looks like since you’ve ignored your needs for so long. We’ll start to explore what things really matter to you. Once you start listening to your own needs and wants in life, it becomes much easier to set boundaries and take care of yourself. Our work together will heavily focus on you understanding yourself better so that you no longer feel trapped into living a life based on other’s expectations. By getting to know who you are at your core – getting to know what things you deeply value in life – you’ll have the ability to approach your interactions with people differently so that you feel fulfilled rather than exhausted or taken advantage of.
Contact me today to see how our work together can help you overcome the obstacles you're facing.
Callye Lawrence | Psychotherapist