Do you end up confusing people pleasing with kindness?

An individual with a “people-pleasing” behaviour disposition has a great desire to win over others, even at their own price. They might think that their opinions don’t matter or their needs and goals will change how they act around others. 

“People pleaser” is neither a psychologically measurable personality attribute nor a medical diagnosis. Instead, it is a common expression that refers to a range of actions, such as approving of errands that one does not have time for.

This differs from qualities like generosity, kindness, or altruism. A person with people-pleasing inclinations will find it challenging to say no. Even though people can make a balanced and deliberate decision to do favours for others. They might consent to actions they do not wish to take or cannot perform.

What are people pleasing?

There is no clinical definition for the word “people pleaser” because it is not a medical term. In general, it refers to someone who continually makes an effort to appease others, frequently at the expense of their own needs or goals.

Most people, especially those in intimate relationships, want to feel appreciated and cherished. Given that people are social beings that desire to fit in, this is natural.  As a result, a lot of people occasionally change how they act to facilitate interactions with others.

Another characteristic shared by all people is altruism, or the desire to assist others. This may occasionally entail some self-sacrifice, such as contributing resources like time, money, or energy to a cause.

These actions differ from people-pleasing in that the latter is more difficult to put an end to. Someone who has a tremendous desire to please may believe they must be what other people want them to be. They might hide their true feelings or accept too many favours.

After pleasing someone, a person could feel happy for a while, but this feeling is fleeting. They might have to keep working so that people can love or value them. They ultimately suffer as a result of having less mental resources to take care of themselves.

Signs and symptoms of people pleasing

There are several ways that the desire to please others might appear. One may find it difficult to refuse requests, frequently accept extra work even when they are too busy, or frequently overcommit to plans, duties, or initiatives. They may also refrain from speaking out for their own needs. For example, by claiming to be okay when they are not. To avoid causing conflict, they refrain from expressing their honest opinions or disagreeing with others. They try to accept things they do not like.

A person with these inclinations could also feel under pressure to always be pleasant, upbeat, or sociable out of fear of upsetting others or defending themselves. Due to the responsibilities they have accepted, they could feel overwhelmed. They may also become frustrated with the fact that they seldom manage to have time for themselves, that others’ needs and wishes come before their own, and with the fact that others take advantage of them.

Causes of people pleasing

People pleasing is simply a term used to describe this group of people. It is not a medical diagnosis therefore people may describe it in dissident ways. Some of the causes that may lead to people-pleasing behaviour are such as, people with low self-esteem, who believe they are less valuable than others, could believe their wants are unimportant. They might be fewer self-advocates or less conscious of their needs. If they are unable to assist others, they might also believe that they are meaningless.

Another reason is anxiety, some people may try to appease others out of a fear of offending, being rejected, or fitting in. For instance, a person with social anxiety may believe they must comply with their friends’ wishes in order to win over others’ favour. It might be a covert effort to influence how others perceive you. Confrontation avoidance is another cause where people who feel they must avoid confrontation or are frightened of it may utilise people-pleasing methods to prevent conflicts.

In the same way that a person’s family, community, or country’s culture may affect how they view their obligation towards others and themselves, culture and socialisation can also contribute to such behaviour. Some might discover, for instance, that total altruism is a virtue or that the demands of the group come before those of the individual.

Another factor is inequality, which in some cases might strengthen the notion that some individuals are meant to look out for others. The notion that women are inherently more maternal and compassionate than men is promoted, for instance, by benevolent sexism. Women in heterosexual relationships may feel that they should put their spouse first after internalising these concepts.

Other causes include personality disorders, chronic mental health issues that can sometimes result in people-pleasing. For instance, someone with dependent personality disorder (DPD) may feel too dependent on other people for support and acceptance in various areas of their lives. For instance, they might require the opinions of others in order to decide on something as straightforward as what to dress.

What study says?

According to recent studies, there are other coping mechanisms for traumatic situations like abuse besides fighting, running away, or freezing. Additionally, some people might “fawn,” which is an extreme variation of people-pleasing. It entails attempting to win the love and respect of those they fear in order to survive.

Constant people-pleasing can leave a person drained and feeling tired. It is a way of disrespecting oneself by constantly neglecting your own needs and wants. In order to practice self-love and self care a person needs to identify their own needs and wants first, fulfil them and then tend to others. A person who people pleases may also end up being unsure of their own identity and feel lost in life. You should learn to say ‘no’ when something is not convenient for you in order to create boundaries.

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