Wednesday, November 14, 2012



For the better part of my life I've been a people-pleaser. That's not to say I'll go along with anything, or that I don't have my own values and morals that I follow. It's just to say I have spent my life feeling responsible for the happiness of the people around me. So, I do the things that I think they need me to do. I listen to them bitch and moan. I give them advice – advice that they most often don't take, so that they can continue to bitch and moan, rather than fixing their problems. And, I do this, despite the fact that my efforts to please most often leave me feeling mentally, physically and often emotionally exhausted.

Knowing that I'll feel terrible in the end, I don't know why I chose to continue being the shoulder for people to cry on or the one reliable person they can always turn to. It's just been a role that I've filled for so long that I don't know how to just stand up and say "STOP!" I don't know how to tell people that I just can't take on all of their drama and baggage. If my listening and my advice was helping, that would be one thing. But when people chose to bitch instead of take action, it leaves me feeling incredibly resentful. I resent people for not noticing that I'm going above and beyond for them. And, I resent the fact that I feel I can't ask people to go above and beyond for me.

While thinking about this this morning, I did a quick search on the Google, and this is what I found:

A people-pleaser is one who gives in order to feel valuable, who gains approval by giving to others. Warning signals include: feelings of resentment, a sense of depletion, and a fear that we mustn’t say no. We are scared to show up in any way other than as the giver.

That quote came from a post titled, "My name is Shasta. I'm a recovering people-pleaser." When I read the word recovering, something clicked for me. I had this moment where I thought, "I can recover, too. I don't have to be this person forever." I realized that although some of my resentment is definitely linked to the actions or inactions of the people around me, a lot of it is actually my own fault for feeling the need to be a people-pleaser in the first place.

Anyway, all of this is to say that I had a soul-searching kind of evening last night, and, with a push from Ian, I have decided I need to stop pleasing and doing what I believe is expected of me. I fear that if I don't take this step now, I will forever live with a mountain of weight on my shoulders and mind. So, as of today, I'm going to try to do what is best for my mind, body and soul, instead of attempting to do what is best for everyone else.

"Excuse me, sir, but can you please remove the mountain from my back?"

Are you a people-pleaser? Are you on the path to recovery?


  1. Wow Nicole. what a heart-felt post, thanks for trusting we readers with this honesty. Applauding your resolve - 'hear, hear, right on sister!' ;o)
    Not sure if you were around my blog at the time I wrote about this EXACT same issue - with some epiphanies of my own - so here it is:

    You're great.

    needle and nest design

  2. I too am a people pleaser on the path to recovery. It is so hard sometimes but I'm starting to feel better about it. I'm all down for not going with the norm now or what people think I should do. You only live once right? Good luck to you!!

  3. I'm a recovering people pleaser- I realized that for me, focusing on others was a way of avoiding my own issues. Feel good by "fixing" other people, and avoid my crazy? Double win!! Turns out, not so much. Not that I don't still tend toward people pleasing, but the self-awareness has been immensely helpful. Good luck!

  4. This is totally me. Honestly sometimes I lose control of what comes out of my mouth - once my friend's engagement photographer backed out and I offered to do it, even though I hate doing photography in any structured "official" way (rather than just enjoying myself). I was like NO NO NO even while I was talking, isn't that nuts?

    Anyway, great reminder :) I do think we would be friends in real life, as awkward as that might sound.

  5. First off, wonderful post :)
    I don't know if I would consider myself a people pleaser. At least not to everyone. I have a few people that I go above and beyond for but I usually drop the effort if the person really makes it clear that they don't deserve it. I always try to be nice but I don't think it's something that I must do, especially if they aren't returning it. I can totally respect this need though and definitely see how it could be draining.

  6. Oh, Nicole! I'm a recovering people-pleaser too! I've come a long way though, and you will too! It will get easier :) Judd still gets after me for too many "I'm sorries" and "yessirs", so watch for those!

    Just remember that you need to take care of YOU first! It's hard, but it's necessary. Not only does taking care of yourself first allow you to be better at your people-pleasing activities (when it's appropriate to people-please of course!), but it also shows people that may easily take advantage of your courtesy that you're not a person to walk all over. It's all about balance, and realizing who and what you are and are not responsible for. You will absolutely get the hang of it, you deserve to be happy too! Good luck, my dear!!! xox


  7. Yes, yes, yes! I often feel more valuable and often base my self worth on what I can bring to others. Yes, I will take you here there and everywhere. Oh, you're in the midst of a crisis? No worries, I'll swoop in and save you. Need an all-day therapy sesh? Here I am! I've even taken time off work to help those in need. I'm often looked at as the nurturer and super-nice and bubbly one in our group of friends. But sometimes I feel like I'm doing a disservice to myself.

    Loving, inspiring post! :)