How to finally stop trying to please everyone

by Vera Dunnwald

Your best friend wants to go to the movies with you and forgot your wallet? No problem, you’ll be happy to pay in the end. Your family wants to come over for dinner, but you really don’t have time? Not bad, somehow it will work – after all, it’s great to finally see everyone again. Your best friend wants to play with you when you don’t feel like it? Somehow you owe it to her after canceling the last few times.

Are you in this – or a similar – situation? Then the probability that you are a “lover of people” is quite high. Someone who always tries to please everyone. If you are not like that yourself, it may be that you have such a “people pleaser” in your immediate vicinity.

Are you a “people’s pleaser”?

It’s hard for you to say “no” to even your closest friends, you apologize, although nothing has happened yet, because it is such a great feeling to make others happy, to please others and to be for others? In some ways, these are overwhelmingly positive qualities one or the other could learn from. After all, all of this can of course make us better as a society.

But there is a problem: what about yourself? Doesn’t that go by the wayside if you only care about others? British psychologist Emma Reed Turrell got to the bottom of this with her new book Self.Satisfied, which is now available. Spoilers in advance: the author herself is “people’s satisfaction”. Or it was “As versatile as a chameleon, I knew how to adapt to any situation and use my art of happiness to give people what they wanted.” However, she quickly noticed that this “do it right for everyone” attitude prevented her from “living an authentic life”. She even fell ill, which she tells about on the first pages of her new work.

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We are actually afraid of “only” losing other people – but we are losing ourselves

Being disinterested and disinterested is a good quality? In itself, yes. It just depends on how much you practice the whole thing – otherwise you will quickly get overwhelmed.

©, Yuri Arcurs

But what exactly is “Pleasant People” all about? Where does it come from and why do we behave this way? Do we really just want to be mindful, considerate, disinterested or kind? A trained psychotherapist also explains this because: In fact, behind it is “the willingness to direct the reactions of others and avoid any discomfort that we may feel dissatisfied with.” Because the main priority of People Pleaser is: I want to please the people. Rejection or disappointment is seen as paralyzing. Better yet: “Being needed is like being loved.”

According to Turrell, we do this because we are afraid of losing people. But “in a vain attempt to please them, we lose ourselves.” However, this problem is not a character defect that makes us less loved beings, but a result of our conditioning. This is how we grew up and socialized, learned to adapt and function. But: “Being liked or needed is worth nothing if we commit ourselves completely. At some point, we all have to decide: whether we want to please others, or whether we want to be authentic people. “

Four different “fun” types

The author distinguishes between four different types of “people who please.” They all “embodied the same problem: the inability to be good enough for who you are.”

  1. Classic “People Pleaser”: They pride themselves on their ability to get things done. They exist to make life easier for others and have successfully replaced self-esteem with self-esteem.
  2. Shade: They spend their lives serving others; all who are in the light and seemingly more important and deserve attention than themselves are getting smaller and the other bigger to be the best number two out of number one.
  3. Sedative: They follow the motto “feel free” and are able to save tense situations and facilitate human cooperation. Are you rocking the boat somehow? For them it is out of the question!
  4. Refusal: They are also “people’s pleasers” – but only in the underground, because they would never define themselves as such. They avoid intimacy in relationships, keep their partners at bay, and hide their weaknesses behind a thick-skinned personality. She always threw her feelings to the farthest corner.

According to Turrell, strict separation is not always possible: “Different combinations of environmental factors lead to different mixes in the rental profiles that can change and evolve over time.” So it may happen that you are not only in one of the profiles, but in several.

But don’t worry: we learn at a young age that we want to please people.

We learn to please others in childhood and childhood

“Even a young child knows he needs this love to survive, and evolution has endowed him with a superpower: the power to please,” explains the author. When your child smiles at you in the future, it’s not because they’re really in a good mood and happy, but because they’ve learned that what they do get a kind response from you.

It continues when we are older and become children: “As children, we learn both from what our parents do and from what they tell us; kids literally absorb recognition. (…) And the more you were praised for being funny or nice, out of your generosity or patience, the more likely you looked for these situations, the more they became part of your identity. ” Does this sound familiar?

We want to please our parents when we are little, “but we are not made to please our parents forever.” At some point in adulthood, “we need to examine past expectations from today’s perspective in order to reflect and re-understand them.” Having a parental voice in your head is not a bad thing per se, as it sets our moral compass in the right direction – but we can’t live with it forever. We must learn to “make choices that are both balanced and appropriate” because “this is the basis of our capacity for self-satisfaction.”

Even if it poses a great challenge to “keeping people happy.” But for anyone who wants to hear it, the author has a few key words: “Not being liked is inconvenient but not life threatening.”

“You changed”

Group of friends sitting in a cafe.

When you say “You’ve changed” – is that really a bad sign?

© Copyrights – Leonardo Patrizi, Photographer: Leonardo Patrizi

Emma Reed Turrell sheds light on friendships and relationships in her book People Pleaser. For example, in the case of friendship, you can just delete people. “Not because they don’t mean anything to us, but because they don’t appreciate us. (…) You can shed your skin and grow beyond friendships. ” Because: An interpersonal relationship – be it friendship or partnership – only works if you can treat each other as equals. “When they say to you,” You’ve changed, “you know that what they’re really saying is,” I don’t like things not going my way anymore. “ If you’ve heard of this before, just remember that “people’s reactions often tell more about their relationship with themselves than they can make a reasonable judgment about us.”

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It’s about being content at work, being a parent, on special occasions – for example, when you’re organizing a Christmas dinner and everything has to be perfect – online, as a woman, and finally about pleasure and masculinity. The psychologist also explains: What do “Pleasant People” really trigger in their counterparts? First of all, it must be said: the desire to please everyone “is a selfish act, adorned with a selfless noose, and a surefire way to irritate people.”

Putting yourself first is good!

If you had thought several times while reading, “Help, the author speaks from my soul,” Self.Satisfied can help you get rid of your inner “people’s pleaser” in the future – without remorse. Because the truth is, this habit “can’t make anyone happy.” To be content with ourselves, we must take responsibility for all our feelings. Indeed, complacency does not mean “me first” – “it just means” me too. “

Being empathetic is a special gift. “But if you want to please everyone, you throw your love and empathy on everyone, even those who will never appreciate it, cannot appreciate it,” said Turrell. And the truth is: we’re good enough. We have always been. “Therefore, for the sake of all of us: be satisfied with yourself.”

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