People Pleaser


Hi, everybody. I’m Mike Staver. This is Mondays with Mike, a weekly video series where I answer questions from people just like you.

“I am a people pleaser. This gets me in trouble at home and at work. I am a high performer. I continue to achieve success at work. I find that my making everyone happy behavior builds resentment in me. The same thing happens at home. My significant other insists that I live for me and my needs, but nope, not me. First, is it possible to be both the people pleaser and get my needs met? If so, how?”

Yeah, of course it is. Absolutely. You don’t have to be mean to get your needs met. But I guarantee you this. If you live your entire life only trying to please others and only trying to make others happy, it will build resentment in you. It will build anger in you and the very people that you’re trying to please. You will eventually spew your anger or resentment forward. You can’t help it. Right. It’s like pouring vinegar and baking soda in a bottle and it kind of bubbles up. It’s going to happen. It’s called the Paradox Principle. The paradox principle is two things can be opposite and true at the same time. You can be concerned about pleasing others and helping others and making others feel good, while at the same time maintaining your own boundaries and taking care of yourself as well. It is very difficult to be a people pleaser all the time and not eventually find yourself running out of gas. If the bucket is full, but there’s a hole in the bucket that bucket will eventually run dry.

So how do you do it? You do it very clearly by asserting in small, incremental ways what your needs are. And it might be that you’re going to have to do it on your own when nobody’s watching because you’re probably going to feel bad if you assert your needs. But if your significant other is insisting that you live for you and that your needs are important, that’s a pretty supportive significant other. So work with your significant other to start practicing what that would look like and see what happens.

This is largely a trust issue. If you’ve got people in your life that are saying live your life and do your thing and you won’t do it, there’s a reason for that. So sit down with your significant other or your boss or somebody and say, I’m going to try a couple of experiments. Just stick with me. It’s tough. I empathize with you. But I also know that the end of that story doesn’t end well for you ultimately.

I hope that’s helpful.

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