When I was a younger woman, I wanted everyone to like me.
I was motivated by the positive reinforcement I received when making others happy, and I felt my worthiness was connected to pleasing.
Disappointing people, making them angry, or going against what other’s deemed acceptable was deeply uncomfortable for me. So I tried hard not to do those things.
In addition, I had a very low tolerance for conflict. I would often acquiesce to the wishes of the other person when it came to making a decision or choice — even if I didn’t agree. I would act against my own desires rather than provoke a conflict.
It took years for me to break free from people pleasing. Eventually the pain of diminishing myself became greater than the pain of disappointing others or encountering conflict. I began to feel resentful and empty. I knew I had to change. As I grew in self-confidence, I no longer felt drawn to the need to please or inhibited by the fear of conflict.
People pleasing can be addictive. You become addicted to the approval and good feelings that come from making people happy and comfortable, as you tend to their needs over your own. You ultimately crave this acceptance in order to feel validated and worthy. You keep giving and giving to get your fix of approval and self-esteem. (more…)