Do you secretly believe that if you keep everyone around you happy the world is a more pleasant or perhaps even a safer place?
Do you believe that you should never show any negative feelings, always trying your best to be enthusiastic and happy?
Do you put other people’s needs before your own even if they don’t expect you to do so?
Do you make it your life’s mission to make sure you avoid conflict with others?
Do you find it difficult to say no to other people’s demands?
Do you often feel exhausted and want to be alone?
Does it seem like you have to do all of the running around in relationships?
Do you pretend to be OK when others hurt you?
Are you a bit of a cameleon, morphing into a different person around others just to fit in?
Do you think you have to be nice at all costs?
Do you feel responsible for other people’s feelings?
These types of behaviours often stem from a lack of self-worth and without a sense of self-worth we are unlikely to believe that our feelings and needs are as important as others and will therefore put everyone else before ourselves.
If we don’t value ourselves we will find it difficult to implement the boundaries that we all need to keep us safe and this can lead us to feel very vulnerable when faced with conflict. It’s little wonder then that we will do anything we can to avoid confrontation mistakenly believing that “nice=safe”.
As a people pleaser you may mistakenly believe that if you are always happy, upbeat and looking after other people’s needs, when you need something back, others will be there for you, but here;s the thing, other people aren’t living their lives using your rule book and when they let you down by not meeting your implicit expectations not only will it sting but more often than not it will feed into your belief that you aren’t as worthy as others, after all how could anyone be horrible to a nice person right so clearly you aren’t nice enough!
If you’ve had enough of putting yourself last all of the time perhaps it’s time to break this habitual behaviour and to challenge the thought process that it stems from. Counselling could help you do just that and I’m here to help.
Michelle Brown dip.couns.MBACP is a counsellor based in Tunbridge Wells.