People-pleasing is a bad habit, not a weakness. Underneath the problematic behavior of people-pleasing is a deep well of insatiable unconditional love, willingness to give, and compassion for others. These are not weakness but unique personality traits, special to what makes you who you are. The pattern of people-pleasing, however, is misguided. What is special and wonderful about you has inhibited those parts from being used in a healthy way. Your endless compassion for others, for examples, inhibits your ability to show compassion to yourself.
Apply Mindfulness to Discover your Points of ‘Weakness’
Use tools of mindfulness to discover your points of vulnerability when it comes to people-pleasing. Where is it that you find you need to please people the most? Are you seeking their validation or their approval? The moraware you become of people pleasing on the surface, the more aware you can become of what is beneath the surface. Often, people-pleasing has roots in childhood struggles of being accepted, loved, and acknowledged.
Set Healthy and Firm Boundaries
Feeling like you have an abundance of time and energy to give often inspires you to give more than you have. Recovering from people-pleasing first and foremost must include setting healthy boundaries of time and giving so that you are able to give to yourself. Before saying yes to someone’s request, take a mindful pause to look at your schedule and see if you actually have the ability to commit. Before saying yes after that step, check in with yourself to see if it feels right. Why do you feel you want to give in this way? What will the effect be on you if you say yes?
Make Time for Self-Care
When you are too busy taking care of and pleasing other people you don’t make time to give to yourself. Often you find yourself tired and exhausted, frazzled and flustered. You don’t eat regularly, or bathe regularly because your schedule is full with the needs of others. Counteract this by putting yourself in your schedule- a date you simply cannot break.
People-pleasing can lead to trouble in recovery if it is not confronted. The pain of needing validation and approval can lead to relapse and ongoing addiction. Castle Craig offers Scotland’s premiere residential treatment programme for drug and alcohol addiction. Our model has been proven with over 10,000 patients for more than 25 years. Call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line: 0808 256 7958. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | August 16, 2017