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People Pleasers…. What does it mean to be a people-pleaser?


    Why, when and how this ‘need to please’ started in you…

    Some people are just lovely, they are really nice. Whatever the circumstance, they are always cheerful, pleasant and agreeable.

    For some people-pleaser types, always trying really hard to be considerate, kind and cooperative, they often go out of their way to make others feel happy and avoid any type of confrontation. Whilst it is lovely to be a kind, caring compassionate person, some people have lost track of their own needs and sense of self. They have what feels like a compulsive behaviour causing them drop everything when they are asked to do something for someone else. For some they have an underlying feeling that they have to please, no matter what. They hope that others will treat them with the same care and consideration, often to find this is not the case and they become disappointed.

    In my practice I’ve worked with many People-Pleasers. As one client mentioned, she felt that she was not important, she regularly believed in putting others above herself, she felt addicted to pleasing others over her own wishes. She often found herself doing a lot for other people, when it comes to what she wanted and her priorities, ‘what I want and need, well, it’s not important, it can wait’.

    It’s as if people-pleasers want to put themselves and their needs first, but when it comes to it, anything they want to do or need to do just gets forgotten the moment that someone else wants something from them.

    “if the issue was with another person and somebody asked me for a favour,
    I would drop all my stuff to help them. I feel it is important to react as fast as possible to help others.”

    – As stated by a recent client


    What exactly are People-Pleasers?

    Some of the following may be familiar to you, do you;

          • struggle to say ‘no’, find it so hard to ‘have a voice’ and speak up?
          • do anything to avoid arguments, disagreements and shouting?
          • need approval from others as if it’s an addiction?
          • always put yourself in other’s shoes and rarely show the same level of respect to yourself?

    Most likely you know someone like this, or is this you? 
    If this is the case you may find that you are also a people-pleaser.

    “People who are prone to anxiety are nearly always people-pleasers who fear
    conflict and negative feelings like anger.

    When you feel upset, you sweep your problems under the rug because you don’t

    want to upset anyone. You do this so quickly and automatically that

    you’re not even aware you’re doing it.”

    Dr David D. Burns

    Genuine people-pleasers want everybody to feel happy and be nice, just like them. They go out of their way to try to make this happen. Everyone else is more important than they are. Feeling that they need to agree and say yes to whatever is asked, is just the way it is. This need is almost an addiction, often they do this without even thinking about what they are doing and agreeing to. This automatically gives them a sense of purpose, they are ‘doing something’.

    All the time this is going on, that sense of purpose, sense of self is being eroded, chipped away. Leaving that person feeling aggrieved and hard done by; unless, they receive acknowledgement from others. Seemingly selfless acts, can provoke deep seated repressed feelings if not acknowledged by the other person.


    Why do certain people, people-please?

    People-pleasing is very common, we all want and need to hear that we are liked and appreciated by others, those in school, in the office and our family and friends. We can all succumb to peer pressure every now and again, we want to feel part of the gang, we want to feel accepted.

    Wanting to be accepted is very different to needing to please and doing whatever is asked no matter what. If we are bought up by very demanding and criticising parents, the child will often feel vulnerable and scared and grow up with a fear of not being safe. If the child feels that love is only given to them because they do whatever the parent demanded, that child can feel for the rest of their adult life desperate to do anything to please, desperate to do anything to get back what they feel they never hadto get that unconditional love and acceptance from the parent.

    “A child needs love, like roses need rain, if the love is withheld from a child, the child’s
    mental condition suffers dramatically.

    Brian Tracy”

    As soon as a person realises that this lack of love from childhood is the reason for their desperate need to people-please, and it is the specific reason why they always put others first, it can be life changing. Once known, this knowledge can never be unknown. They can continue to be kind to others, however it is now their choice, rather than a need.

    Look back into your past experiences, can you pinpoint an event, or a conversation where your life changed?

    Did something happen that made you realise that love was only given, on condition that you;

        • were ‘good’?
        • behaved as ‘a perfect child’
        • did everything as requested?

    Perhaps you were told off or embarrassed by a parent in front of others because you didn’t do what was asked?

    Maybe you were shamed because a parent or adult didn’t have time to understand what and why you did or didn’t do something. Perhaps that feeling of shame and dread has remained within you since the event, when you were 5 or 6 years old? All these years later without you realising, every day you walk around with this feeling of shame and dread in the back of your mind;

    How can I be any good? How can I get things right…? If I do everything that mummy or daddy expect, only then will I know I’m safe.”

    This child is left feeling: “I’m no good as I am, I’m of no worth, the only thing I can do, is to do exactly as I’m told. Then I may be loved.”

    It’s really no surprise to find that these children grow up for the rest of their life feeling that they must look for acceptance and love from others. They simply don’t have it within themselves. At a very young age children tend to believe what is said to them by a parent as a FACT.

    Do you need help accessing exactly what is causing your ‘need to please’ otherWe can all think back to our childhood whenever we like in our conscious ‘thinking’ mind.However, some key memories and events were so painful for us, so upsetting we can have buried these feelings deep inside.s

    Worried little boy

    Find the Key and root cause

    When we probe what is buried deep inside, in our inner subconscious mind, we really find the key, the true root cause of why we still walk around every day with that deep-seated feeling. That need for love and or acceptance from others and fear of rejection if it is not given.

    Using Hypnosis, we access the subconscious ‘feeling’ mind quickly and effectively. We identify and question what happened, what events have caused the person to feel that they need to gain approval and affection from others. Using hypnosis to find all of the reasons why you keep holding on to the hurt and emotion, unless identified, that negative feeling will still be there, still keep coming back until it has been acknowledged and dealt with… it really is essential to understand and release yourself from all those negative past feelings.

    If you feel that your specific issue is buried deep in your subconscious, too painful and too difficult to access…

    …then work with an RTT Hypnotherapist (like me!) to help you understand, question and release yourself from the pain and hurt. Become free and released from the need to gain approval and acceptance by learning to love and respect yourself!

    As one client told me;

    “Thank you, Joanna.
    Before the session I just felt that I had no choice, I must do what others ask immediately. Thanks to Joanna, I was able to see how and why my past events affected me for so long. It’s so clear now.

    Now I stop and think, what do I want? I give myself time, people see I have changed. I am not a new person, I’ve not changed who I am, instead now I respect myself, I get more respect from others. I love my life now; I feel calm and in control of me and what I do. I have self-worth. I feel free, it’s all good!”

    Elsie London

    If you have identified with some of the points above and would like help looking into how you can become free and released from a ‘need to please’ other people, please contact me, request a free chat using the button below.

    What’s next?

    Please feel free to contact me if you are finding it hard to say ‘no’ to others. 

    Just press the button below to arrange a free, no obligation 30 minutes chat

    Look after yourself, Joanna x

    Related articles:
    How do you stop thinking you’re not good enough?

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