Do You Discard Your Own Needs In Order To Please Others?

I’m an enormous people pleaser. And yet I didn’t realise until last week, that I am planning my entire wedding around what will satisfy the tastes of every one of my different guests. As last weeks’ events came to a head, I had to force myself to stop and think, “Is this actually what I want or am I just doing what will make everyone else happy? Do I recognise the difference?” Making people happy makes me happy, so how can I break this pattern and truly know what would satisfy me, away from others’ judgments?

I really dislike that I have this need to appeal to everyone’s expectations of me. It feeds my anxiety like miracle grow to a weed. Usually this habit is self-contained purely due to the small number of people coming together at one time. Keeping just one or two people happy is easy.

But Plan a wedding and you either have to learn that there is no way of organising something that appeals to everyone’s tastes; that inevitably there’ll be disappointments, raised eyebrows and the ‘well I wouldn’t have done it that way’ comments, or you will make yourself ill in trying to achieve the impossible ‘perfect’ wedding.

Like with all my emotions, I wanted to try to understand why I feel or behave in this way.

I have spoken before about my constant need for perfection in order to feel successful, and I think this links up in big way to my people pleasing nature. People’s reactions to me reflect the success or failure of whatever it is I have presented. It is feedback, and I use it as a barometer to how I am doing. If my wedding is perfect, if I am perfect, then that means there can be nothing to criticise. And surely it then follows that I have achieved perfection i.e. success.

If I am completely honest with myself, the thought of people being dissatisfied, or that I will be thought of in a negative way, heightens my anxiety. It is the worst thing about myself because my rational brain knows, that those who matter don’t care, and those who care don’t matter. 

But I don’t think it is as simple as that.

It seems that I strongly identify with how I make others feel, not with how they make me feel. When I make the people around me happy, I give myself permission to be happy also – I have succeeded. If they are disappointed, then I see that as failure and a need to try harder. But is there more to this than first thought?

From the day we are born, we are told by our parents that our successes, be it walking, talking or using the potty for the first time, ‘makes them feel happy’. We learn very early on that making our parents and others happy is what we should strive for.

I wonder; is there room in our society for imperfection and for that to be good enough so long as we’re happy? Do our parents, our teachers and our peers, somehow put pressure on us to satisfy their expectations of us, instead of looking at just achieving the goals we have set for ourselves?

How can we stop a lifetime of conditioning?

12 thoughts on “Do You Discard Your Own Needs In Order To Please Others?

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  5. Yes to both questions. First, I think this ideal of perfectionism is actually quite dangerous because it makes us want to become something that we’re not. Nobody is perfect, no exception. We’re all human, after all. Just be yourself and don’t worry so much about what others think or expect from you.

    Secondly, there’s no doubt that the people we encounter in our lives have a strong influence on how we conduct our daily existence, especially our close/loved ones such as family and friends. So, it’s fairly reasonable that we want to fulfill their expectations of ourselves. Still, I think this needs to be balanced out by going after what you want as well, otherwise you start living a life that isn’t yours.

    Just my 2 cents, hugs 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely agree. But knowing something and acting on that knowledge are two different things. I absolutely know that there is no such thing as perfection or pleasing everyone, just as I know my anxiety isn’t a reflection of the truth. And yet I find myself still behaving in ways I know don’t serve me. But knowledge and acceptance of ones faults is the first step to improving. If I thought I was perfect, I’d have much more serious problems haha. Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You can never please everyone. I have the same problem you have but I decided that I don’t really need others approval for my wedding. I do what I want because, in the end. Isn’t it your perfect day? That one day you get to be selfish because it’s all about YOU? You should be happy on that day and everyone will probably suck it up anyway because every woman wants her own perfect wedding.. No?

    Liked by 1 person

    • SO true. Think I just needed a bit or a reminder after last week. We can get so caught up in all the drama that people bring to us. I’m back to just being excited 🙂

      Thank you for reading xx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for sharing. That is an important point. Ego can come as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
    I recently read a wonderful book written by a former people-pleaser:
    Dying to Be Me , by Anita Moorjani. About her near-death experience and her subsequent miraculous healing from cancer. She was able to stop being a people-pleaser when she realized her own magnificence. Some of her talks are on youtube.
    Here is a 20 min TEDx talk by her:

    Liked by 1 person

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