Do You Struggle With People Pleasing?

I want to discuss the topic of people pleasing, something very near and dear to my own heart and wounded healer journey.

What does it mean to be a people pleaser?

If you ever hear the term ‘people pleasing’, it usually refers to putting the needs of others at the forefront. People pleasers tend to be more agreeable, kind, and always come to the rescue. In times of trouble, people pleasers have a hard time advocating for themselves. This behavior pattern leads to self-sabotage from constantly neglecting personal needs and desires.

Isn’t being kind and helpful a good thing?

You may think this behavior comes from good and selfless intentions, however, they often are not. At the end of the day, people pleasing is self-serving when someone is trying to please others and hiding their true selves and intentions. I used to struggle with this, and I know that for the clients I work with at SOMA therapy, people pleasing usually comes from a place of needing another person’s validation and acceptance. It’s also usually a survival mechanism learned in childhood when being fully honest or disagreeing with others wasn’t accepted or safe to do.

As a people pleaser, I want to feel good about myself. So I will go out of my way to please those around me and say things that I know they will appreciate. Essentially what you’re doing is saying: I have a deficit in some area and instead of working on it for myself and giving myself validation, I’m going to rely on other people to do that for me.

So when I’m going out of my way to impress somebody, at the end of the day, it’s really not about that person. It’s about me. It’s about my internal need for validation in a specific area that I feel that I’m lacking. And because I’m not working on that part of myself, I’m seeking to get it validated through others.

What if I want to go out of my way to do something nice?

I know that a lot of people won’t love hearing this. Usually, I hear people say: But I just want to be nice to people! Let me be very clear – kindness and being nice to people is amazing. But it has to come from a place of not caring at all about what the receiving party thinks of you.

When you are giving to them, it comes without that expectation that they will give back to you, that they will appreciate it, that they will even say “thank you”. I know by the general rules of kindness it’s nice for somebody to say “thank you” when we do something nice for them, but at the end of the day, if we are giving and trying to be kind, and it’s not coming from a place of needing that kudos or that validation back, we will do it regardless of whether we get those kudos in return or not.

How to get out of a people-pleasing cycle.

My people pleasers out there – I want you to get real about this. I want you to be honest. Are you trying to please people from a place of wanting their validation, or are you genuinely being kind regardless of the outcome? When you genuinely love helping people, it’s not about you, but the receiving party.

When we have filled our own cups, we do not need validation from anybody. We will stop caring so deeply about what people think, we will stop checking in with them to make sure “we are okay”, and we will stop apologizing for things we are not sorry for. Ultimately, we will feel less resentful because our energy won’t be going out into the world trying to please everyone all the time. Our energy will be going into making sure that we’re tuning into our needs, our wants, values, and how we want to manifest those values.

It is not selfish to take care of yourself.

It is not selfish to make sure that you’re checking in with you and it is not selfish to get validation from yourself.

We have to give these positive feelings to ourselves. We have to start being what some might think of as selfish and giving to ourselves, checking in with ourselves, and validating ourselves so that we can actually stop being selfish by trying to get our validation and needs met through other people.

I know this is a tricky thing, as I, myself, am a people pleaser in recovery. I know that in times of stress, I will lean towards people-pleasing and rescuing again, taking on what’s not mine and struggling to be fully honest about what I want and need. As soon as I do, I start to realize, “Wow, this really isn’t about me. It’s really about my anxiety and trying to fill some need in me”. It’s a good check engine light that I need to tune into myself and work on what’s really causing me stress or anxiety.

So I feel for you! I know this is going to take time for you to adjust, and it won’t feel great at first (for most of us, anyway). The strange part is that when we tune into meeting our own needs first, we usually become more giving.

Who is SOMA Therapy?

If you’re looking for a therapist in Wichita, KS – SOMA Therapy is here to serve Wichita’s mental health needs. We offer family, couples, and relationship therapy, psychiatric services, and behavioral medication management. Visit our website to read more information about our SOMA team and schedule a visit.

A woman pleasing another woman with a kind gesture of giving flowers.

Family Therapy Wichita KS

Are you looking for family therapy in Wichita KS? SOMA Therapy has what you need. We have many licensed therapy providers to choose from. Soma believes in hiring “wounded healers.” In other words, our providers can speak freely about their own recovery journey with their clients. In turn, the client and the provider connect on healing their own trauma in a safe, professional and clinically meaningful way. We “practice what we preach” and hope to inspire clients as we are living examples of the healing that can happen.

SOMA specializes in a variety of issues. These issues include chronic depression and anxiety, relationship problems, trauma and integrated mental health. We provide innovative and effective trauma therapy treatments. Our integrated approaches that cannot be found collaboratively in other group practices in Wichita.

Mental Health Wichita KS

If you or a loved one is struggling with any mental health issues in Wichita KS, please contact us today to get a compassionate and thorough intake so we can connect you with the best services possible. Hope is just a phone call away! (316) 201-6047 or contact us here.

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