You’ve always considered yourself a caring person, which seemed like a good thing.  You’ve gone out of your way to show up for anyone by doing everything from helping financially to squeezing in time to chat with a hurting friend, even when you’re exhausted.  Maybe you’ve also shown up to work while you’re sick because you’re afraid of disappointing someone or letting the team down. Our Atlanta counselors work with plenty of people who struggle with this.

You may have stayed in relationships longer than you wanted to because you felt like they needed you.  You probably are able to anticipate the needs of everyone around you…and yet, you have trouble identifying your own.

There’s nothing wrong with loving people well or wanting to help people who need it. However, this ceases being “helping” and turns into “people-pleasing” when you continuously burn through reserves you don’t have, or find yourself turning into a pretzel rather than saying no to something you don’t want to do or have the energy for.

Our Atlanta counselors work with many clients who are burned out but feel guilty for needing to pull back the pleasing behavior.  Check out these reasons to shift out of people-pleasing and into taking care of your needs.

Losing Yourself

Caring about others shifts into people-pleasing when you have trouble naming your desires, dreams, and boundaries but can easily identify the desires, dreams, and boundaries of others.  In fact, people-pleasing is frequently tied with codependency.  It is unhealthy when you’re afraid to disagree, or have trouble discerning what your opinions or wants are. 

Being a good friend or a charitable person happens when you can say “yes” to the things you have space for and “no” to the things you don’t have space for.  People-pleasing involves feeling anxiety or guilt for saying “no” to a request.  You may even fear a changing of the relationship.

You deserve to live according to your needs and values.  An Atlanta counselor can help you rediscover what those are and how to align your actions with the values in a healthy way.

Earn Love/Attention

People-pleasing can often be bred or programmed when we are children.  You may have learned that you got positive attention for doing extra chores or not disappointing anyone.  Perhaps you were taught that “good” people give all of themselves.  Or maybe you were “invisible” as a child unless you performed well or did good deeds.  

However, healthy relationships are not transactional.  You don’t have to earn love or attention. It can be really hard to be in a healthy relationship dynamic after functioning in a different mindset. So, if you have trouble adjusting, be patient with yourself.

Base Worth On Other’s Happiness

When you are a people-pleaser, you can start to base your worth on the happiness of those around you.  You may have been taught that if someone is upset with you or feels like you’re not doing enough, then you have failed or you are worthless.  These beliefs sometimes begin when emotionally immature parents or caregivers make you feel responsible for their happiness.

When the happiness of others is your motivator, then you don’t have a relationship.  You have a hostage situation. You deserve to know that you are worthy and valuable just as you are. You are enough, just as you are.  You are not less worthy of love if you don’t have the time to talk with a friend or pick someone up from the airport. 

If you’ve resonated with any of these experiences listed, our Atlanta counselors are here to help.  Changing the way you interact in relationships is hard, and we want to encourage you to give yourself patience and compassion.  All change, even healthy change, involves loss and it’s ok to grieve that as you learn to view yourself differently. Please don’t wait to get the help you deserve.  Reach out today.