If you’re a thoughtful person, which I think you are because you’re reading a daily email about mental health, then this is likely something you’ve struggled with–this notion that getting people to like you supersedes other important issues.
It’s a great thought. But it should mainly stay in thought form.
Because you run into issues if you set out to always make people happy. Let’s run through some of these issues.
You forget yourself.
When your aim is to please others, you can sometimes forget that you are a person who also matters. You forget that neglecting your own needs and desires leads to burnout. And I’m not just talking about a sad little fizzle and a pop. I’m referring to a raging fire of a burnout bomb.
If you don’t please yourself first, by taking care of your basic needs, then you will begin to run on empty when the people who need you turn to you for guidance.
But there’s something else that happens when you try to please everyone.
You start to see the world through others’ eyes–and not you own.
This is especially insidious.
You have a unique way of seeing the world. It’s irreplaceable. When you put yourself second to the demands of others, you lose your precious sight.
You start to see the world through others’ eyes. This is because, if you tell yourself that you need to be a people-pleaser, you have to see the world through others’ eyes to know what they want from you.
Don’t confuse this with empathy.
That is an admirable skill in which one person is able to imagine the world through another’s point of view. The big difference between empathy and people-pleasing however is that empathy fosters greater connection and understanding. It energizes both people during the interaction.
People-pleasing is different. It stems from insecurity. When you do something with the hope that someone else will like you or validate you, you cede your power to the other party. Giving up your personal power is a dangerous game to play.
So what’s a good person to do?