Does this sound familiar?
You push aside your own needs to accommodate the needs of literally everyone else before your own.
You fear if you stop accommodating or pleasing others, they’ll reject, punish, or abandon you.
You feel you need another person to give you approval at all times. As if your ‘usefulness’ validates you.
You feel like this validation is always just within your grasp, or about to slip through your fingers. Because you’re always relying on someone else to give you what you need.
I know this feeling. All too well.
Because I used to be a people-pleaser myself.
Until I figured out why I felt the need to please at the expense of my own well-being.
And it completely changed my life.
People-pleasers usually feel the need to please others because of insecurities, and fear of rejection. They generally have a deep need to be liked and approved of.
As a please-pleaser, you might feel if you put your own needs first, people will abandon you. So you do whatever it takes to make other people happy. Because you believe your happiness and well-being depend on your approval.
You may also:
Being kind is a good thing. But going too far to please others can leave you feeling depleted, stressed out, and anxious. This constant self-sacrificing can lead to patterns of self-neglect.
It becomes a problem when you sacrifice your own well-being for someone else.
And one of the worst parts is — you usually end up relying on them to fulfill your emotional need to feel needed, wanted, and loved.
And without it?
You feel empty.
The need to please and dependence on others to meet your emotional needs often relates back to childhood. Maybe you’ve experienced painful, difficult, or traumatic relationships that created this coping mechanism with a need to please. You feel you need to be as agreeable as possible to avoid making others angry or upset.
Perhaps your mom or dad’s love was conditional on your behavior. Maybe you had to earn your parent’s love and affection, or they were emotionally unavailable altogether.
Because of this, you may experience a constant search for external validation. You may worry that others won’t like you if you’re not going above and beyond to make them happy.
You may feel like this validation from others means that you’re important. That you matter. You don’t look for validation from within — because you’re looking for it from everyone and everywhere else.
You might not even realize you’re doing this. You might not even know what it is that you want or need because you’re so busy meeting everyone else’s needs that you forgot you even had your own.
Emotional support is a wonderful part of relationships. It’s such a nice feeling when you’re having a stressful day and you have someone who will listen, comfort you, and make you feel seen, heard, and validated.
Support is huge.
It becomes an issue when you rely on someone else to meet all of your emotional needs — all of the time. And not meeting any of those needs on your own.
Complete reliance on this other person can take a toll on your well-being and relationship. There needs to be a balance between accepting loving support from another and being able to meet those needs on your own.
To be everything to someone else is too much pressure. And always relying on someone else to give you what you need to feel whole? You’ll always be afraid to lose this. You’ll hold onto it so tightly you won’t have room to breathe.
Can you imagine anything more exhausting?
And the thing is — when you’re totally reliant on your partner or someone else in your life for validation and emotional support, you miss out on discovering all the wonderful ways that you can offer this love and support to yourself.
And no one can take that away from you.
How to begin this journey of re-discovering yourself? To understand your needs and how to meet them?
Increasing your self-awareness and getting to know yourself better can help you rely more on yourself to meet your own needs. It can help you identify what your emotional patterns are, discover what your own needs are, and give you an opportunity to meet those needs.
You can do this by:
When it comes to identifying and breaking harmful patterns — and working on providing yourself your own emotional support — working with a trusted coach can be really helpful.
A coach can also help you:
And it doesn’t need to feel daunting. Start simple. Try simply focusing on what’s enjoyable to you.
What feels GOOD to you?
Spend time with friends and family. Explore your own interests. Practice self-care. Find a community of like-minded people.
Take note of how things make you feel, and what it is that brings you joy.
And give that joy to yourself.
For most of my life, I shape-shifted and bent myself into a million different perspectives to make sure that everyone around me was ok and happy.
I very often considered others’ feelings and well-being before I did my own. I wanted everything to be smooth, copesetic, and easy. I’d take everything to heart and felt like I was always trying to prove myself and my goodness to others.
Guess where this left me?
Unfulfilled, always looking outside of myself for the things I needed, and downright empty.
After starting the journey of inquiry to find exactly when and where this way of being was formed and through inner child nurturing and healing practices, I realized that these tendencies were deep reflections of my childhood.
Many of you here know that my father struggled with alcoholism his entire adult life. I grew up in a home with a parent that struggled with addiction.
As a little girl, I yearned for love, compassion, and understanding from my father. However, his capacity to provide that was extremely limited because of his addiction. He was often not around, and when he was he was either intoxicated, seeking out his next buzz, or coming down off of a long string of days that left him angry, hostile, and irritated.
As children we are very egocentric, thinking that EVERYTHING is about us — that’s just the way our brains develop. So every time my Dad was gone or came home angry, I made it mean that there was something that I did, or didn’t do that made this happen.
I made it mean that something was inherently wrong with me.
Therefore, I tried my hardest to ‘earn’ his affection and love.
I made good grades, I played the sports he loved watching, and I would even try and join him to feed the livestock and farm — things I didn’t actually care for. Anything to make him SEE me.
But it never worked.
He was always seeing and interacting with life through the lens of his addiction
I carried these tendencies over into every relationship in my life until I became highly aware that these habitual ways of reacting to others were no longer serving me as a human.
Through nurturing inner child work I was able to uncover the source of these choices and begin to make new, healthier decisions for myself.
It allowed me to realize that the love and affection that I had been looking for OUT THERE had always been IN HERE.
I was the only one that could provide what was missing.
I was the one I was looking for.
If it hadn’t been for the powerful experience of reconnecting with that innocent little version of myself I might have continued these toxic patterns for far too long.
Inner child work doesn’t have to feel scary or frightening.
It’s often the key that unlocks the door to the greatest happiness you could ever imagine in your life.
As a transformational life coach, my life’s purpose is to help YOU find these things within yourself. To help you make the necessary shifts in your life so that you can become the happiest version of yourself.
If you’d like to book a complimentary clarity call with me, you can do so here.
Curious about inner child work and what it can do for you? Sign up for my next REchilding workshop here.