I have worked with many clients who experience frustration and even resentment upon realizing they have been pleasers all their lives. It may have begun when, as children, they realized that life was more pleasant when you did what others wanted you to do.
This pattern can persist into adulthood, particularly for those who are very sensitive or have low self-esteem. The sensitive one cannot tolerate the thought of an angry or hurt reaction coming their way. They will go to great lengths to avoid conflict or even disagreement.
For one with low self-esteem, it has to do with approval. They do not want others to disapprove of them (they do that well enough to themselves). To avoid risking the disapproval of another, they will go out of their way to anticipate the needs or wishes of others, and will act upon those without even being asked.
Over time, the pleaser gets out of touch with what he or she really needs for the self. The approval or good opinion of others has superceded fulfilling one’s own wants and needs. The pleaser will often express the view that it is “selfish” to put one’s own needs ahead of those of others.
The truth is that there must be a healthy balance. If we are not in tune with ourselves and do not honor what we know we need, health and wellbeing will ultimately be affected. Depression or anxiety may result, as well as physical ailments.
If you notice there is a discrepancy between what you think and feel inside, and what you say and do on the outside, it is time to take stock and correct the imbalance. Harmony comes when there is alignment between our inner and outer worlds .
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