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Alright, sensitive souls. We need to have a conversation about one thing that we often do that is not very healthy for us. That is being a people pleaser! We all have the basic need to be loved, to be accepted, and to be safe. It is genetically a part of who we are. But starting in the earliest years of our life, we begin to go through social conditioning. We’re taught how to act and even how to think and who to be. We are taught that in order to earn the approval of others, we need to be, do and act in ways that are comfortable for them. And since there is a whole lot of emphasis placed on the importance of that approval, many of us wind up becoming a people pleaser. We disregard what is best for ourselves to make others feel better.
If you are an empath or energy sensitive you may take people-pleasing to a whole new level. When you feel the emotions of others, you can feel their displeasure and discomfort. And you actually feel it as if it is your own! Because of this, there will always be the tendency to do things in a way that is not upsetting to others…even if it means that you are putting your own needs last.
10 signs you are a people pleaser
You need others to like you
The truth is that as an empath, you can feel how others feel about you. And when someone doesn’t like you it feels overwhelmingly crappy because you feel it so strongly. We don’t really question whether or not someone is actually good for us and deserves a place in our life. And that’s true of both friends and romantic partners. We really just don’t want to feel the yucky feeling of someone not liking us. This tends to lead to people-pleasing because we are trying to make others feel comfortable so that we don’t have to feel their bad feelings towards us. Learning to connect with our inner guidance to see if someone should be allowed in our life is an important way to overcome that unhealthy need.
You apologize a lot
Do you say the words “I’m sorry” a lot, even for things you have nothing to do with? This is a common problem, particularly for energy-sensitive women. We empaths are the peace keepers and so we tend to use that phrase often when interacting with others. It is important to apologize when we truly have done something wrong. But apologizing compulsively can be problematic both in personal relationships as well as at work. When you are afraid of doing something wrong, it can be natural to jump in to offer an apology, even when there is nothing to apologize for. The good news is that with awareness of this habit, you can begin swapping out better phrases and cut down on apologizing when not necessary.
You’re a giver
The givers are those who are always doing for others. They give gifts for no reason. They will make sure others are well fed. And they are always eager to help when others need it. Being a healthy giver is one thing. But energy sensitives often tend to take it to the extreme. For them, giving can become unhealthy.
Signs that you have become an unhealthy giver:
- You struggle to receive in return
- Your needs come last because you’re taking care of everyone else
- You’re emotionally exhausted
- Others tend to use you
- You start to feel resentful
There needs to be a balance of giving and receiving that happens. Receiving can be uncomfortable at first, but you can learn healthier patterns with practice. It can also be uncomfortable to begin putting your needs first. But as you do, you will find that you actually have more energy to be able to help others. As an energy-sensitive, learning to put your needs first is extremely important. You must take care of yourself or you will wind up with chronic illness.
It’s hard for you to say no
It doesn’t matter how much you already have on your plate. When you are a people pleaser, you struggle to say no when people ask you to do something. It doesn’t even matter if it’s something you really don’t want to do, or if you don’t have the time. You find yourself saying yes…and then living with big regrets and lots of overwhelm. Let’s face it, we hate feeling when someone else is disappointed. And we can REALLY feel it. So we put our needs last and agree to things we don’t want to do because it feels better than having to experience someone else’s disappointment.
Eventually, however, we can become so overwhelmed that it impacts our health due to chronic stress. Learning to say no can be a challenge. But with practice, it does get easier. If someone asks for your help or asks you to come to an event, I recommend telling them that you need to check your schedule. There is a greater amount of pressure to say yes when you are physically speaking to someone. Telling them that you need to check your schedule allows you a moment to breathe, to relieve that face-to-face pressure. It gives you time to make a better decision for yourself. You can then respond to them via a text message or email, which also limits the amount of disappointment you feel from them if you decide to say no.
People often take advantage of you
There are some people who prey on the givers and people pleasers. These people constantly ask for your help, but rarely even offer to reciprocate. They are willing to vent all of their problems to you (and drain your energy). But they rarely have time to listen when you need a listening ear. They always seem to be around when they need a favor. And they never seem to have an appreciation for the things you do for them. They ask for more and more, no matter how tired you may be or how much you have going on. If you do finally say no to them, they don’t respond in healthy ways. They either become distant or they talk to others about you behind your back.
Say no often enough and they’ll disappear altogether. These people are bottom feeders. Unfortunately, they are drawn to people pleasers and energy sensitives like a moth to a flame! These users will drain your energy…and they don’t seem to care! It’s easy to not see a person’s intentions early on, but looking for the warning signs so that you can start saying “no” sooner can help prevent you from allowing people like this to drain your energy.
You don’t have any free time
If you find that you never seem to have enough down time to decompress and that you always have a plate full of things that have to get done, you may be a people pleaser. When you struggle to say no, it will always end in a busy schedule that leads to overwhelm. And that is no good when you are energy sensitive! Being busy doesn’t allow you the time you need to recover from absorbing the energy of the world around you.
As empaths and highly sensitive people, we require plenty of quiet time alone to recharge. When we don’t get that, we can find ourselves getting too stressed and eventually get sick. It can take a while to find out what balance of activity and quiet time will work best for you. But if you currently find that your schedule is too full now, it may be time to take a look at everything you are currently involved in and begin restructuring your schedule to find a better balance.
Your stress level is high
It goes without saying that if you are constantly saying yes to people and things and find that your schedule is very busy you are probably experiencing a whole lot of stress! Your sensitive nervous system needs time in solitude to help calm it down. You must have that time without excessive external stimulation. Without that time, your nervous system becomes increasingly overwhelmed. And you become more and more stressed. Stress is the number one contributor to all chronic illnesses. So it is vitally important to begin listening to your body and taking time for self-care when you find yourself feeling stressed.
Arguments and confrontation upset you
As an energy-sensitive person, it is common for arguments and confrontation to be upsetting. That energy is so strong and so uncomfortable that it can feel painful to us. So we often do anything possible to avoid confrontation and arguments. That can lead us to being a people pleaser. In avoiding confrontation, we often disregard our own needs. And we prefer to not speak up for ourselves as long as we don’t rock the boat.
You struggle with low self-esteem
This is actually a common problem for energy-sensitives generally. We have been told our whole lives that we are too sensitive. The world has made us believe that there is something wrong with us because of that sensitivity. And so we spend our lives feeling as if we aren’t good enough. Many of us fall into the pattern of being the “nice girl” or “nice guy”, always saying yes and not causing problems. We rarely speak up for ourselves, because we usually lack self-love so we don’t feel like we deserve the best that life has to offer.
You regularly do things because it’s expected of you, not because you want to
Do you ever stop to think about the things you do and participate in every day. There are some things that light up your soul. But there are a lot of things you may be doing regularly that really don’t align with who you really are. But you do those things because that is what others “expect” you to do. Family members, friends, and colleagues often have expectations of you. For example, your family holds political views that support one party, and they expect you to hold the same views. And yet, you’ve found that you aren’t interested in supporting any political party. But you find yourself following the party that your family does because it’s expected of you.
Here’s another example. Your spouse or partner always expects you to fix dinner every night. But your schedule is busy and you hate cooking. And yet you wind up cooking nightly because that is what is expected. You may find that there are a lot of things you actually do because of the expectations of others. Things that you really don’t want to do. You do not have to do things that don’t align with who you really are. It’s important for you to find your own voice and walk your own journey, even if others don’t understand.
Being a people pleaser ultimately doesn’t serve you. It is an unhealthy pattern of behaviors that will drain your energy and harm your health. The good news is that when you begin to recognize the patterns you can start to change them! It will take a little work to overcome these bad behavior habits. But once you do, you will feel less stressed and live a better life. It all starts with learning to love yourself and to start becoming an energy snob!