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PERSONAL: WHY I DECIDED TO BECOME A PHOTOGRAPHER
November 8, 2022
If you’re reading this, I think you may consider yourself to be a people-pleaser
Maybe it’s because you genuinely care about other people and their feelings, or perhaps it’s because that’s how you were raised.
Either way: It’s an admirable quality — most of the time.
But if your desire to please people is unhealthy and self-sabotaging, it can be problematic for your health (mental and otherwise) and relationships in general. So let’s talk about what healthy people-pleasing looks like versus what doesn’t work so well when it comes to pleasing others all the time.
The truth is that it can be harmful in relationships. It’s important to remember that being considerate and kind is good; being selfless for the sake of being selfless is only sometimes great.
You should do what feels right for you at any given time, even if it means putting your needs first. If someone asks you to do something and you don’t want to, say no!
This person may still be mad at first (it’s human nature), but if they love you and care about your well-being, they will likely understand why you declined the request.
The people-pleasing mindset is self-sabotaging because it makes you feel bad about yourself.
People-pleasing, in this sense, means doing things for other people that aren’t good for your well-being. When we do this—by giving in to someone else’s demands or ignoring our own needs—we are harming ourselves.
When we don’t set boundaries and honor our needs, we’re telling ourselves that we’re not important enough to take care of ourselves first. And when that becomes a habit, it can lead us to feel like failures who aren’t good enough or deserving of happiness.
This is much worse than just feeling frustrated when someone doesn’t respect your boundaries; it can make you feel resentful toward others because they got something from you that wasn’t freely given or earned (and rightfully so).
You may have learned to be a people-pleaser in childhood.
For example, you may have been raised by parents who were critical and demanding, or you may have had highly judgmental teachers. In either case, your primary concern was not pleasing yourself but rather pleasing the people in charge of your life (your parents or teachers).
Taking this a step further: If you grew up trying to please others at all costs, breaking free from unhealthy people-pleasing as an adult could be challenging. Even if your childhood wasn’t perfect, I believe we can all identify with the idea that we want our parents or guardians to love us unconditionally—and this desire often leads us into doing things that aren’t necessarily healthy for us so long as they are in line with what other people want from us.
It can be challenging to say no to your loved ones. It’s downright impossible for some people. They are so desperate to please others that they forget their own needs and wants, eventually burning out from the stress that results.
I’m not a therapist (although my friends would agree that I should be), but even still, this is something we all need reminding of every once in a while: You can’t please everyone all the time!
If you’re doing everything your partner asks or needs without being able to express what you want and need, your relationship will suffer as a result.
We’ve all been there before — maybe even right now — where someone asks us for something but doesn’t understand why we have to say no. The words “No” or “That’s not possible” aren’t easy for anyone; however, learning how to say them with confidence will help keep the balance between giving too much and keeping yourself healthy enough so that you don’t burn out from overextending yourself or potentially end up resenting someone else because they took advantage of your kindness toward them
You can’t control other people’s feelings, but you can hold your own.
It’s easy to feel like you’re responsible for the emotions of others, especially when you’re in a relationship and want to be close to the person. But taking on that responsibility is an impossible task—when we try it, we may feel overwhelmed, guilty, or angry with ourselves if things don’t go as well as planned.
If someone else has a bad day at work or feels sad about something that happened in their life, it’s not your fault (unless they tell you it is). You didn’t do anything wrong, and their feelings aren’t your responsibility—they’re theirs alone! It doesn’t mean anything about YOU.
This is a lesson that I’m sure you’ve learned before, but it bears repeating: You don’t have to please everyone all the time. If something makes you happy, there’s no need to explain yourself or apologize for it—it’s your life!
I do plenty of things in my day-to-day life that may not make sense to others, but they make me happy, so I do them anyway. If someone has a problem with this, then we’re probably not going to get along as friends always.
If you’ve found yourself struggling to keep up with the people-pleasing mentality, consider taking a step back and looking at the roots of your behavior. It’s okay to tell people that you can’t do something they ask of you — even if they’re disappointed or upset by it.
You don’t have to be everyone’s best friend all the time! And when someone asks for your attention and time — make sure it’s because you want them around rather than out of obligation.
After all: no one is worth sacrificing your happiness over.
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