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Why you should not fall into the trap of wanting to please everyone

Why you should not fall into the trap of wanting to please everyone

April 16, 2021

In the day to day it is difficult to reach all the goals that you mark yourself. However, it is even more difficult to make our needs compatible with what others constantly demand of us. That is to say, offer that version of ourselves that others expect .

It is clear that being there to support others is positive, but sometimes, we internalize so much the dynamic of pleasing everyone that we end up sacrificing a good part of our lives in order to make others feel a little more comfortable. Knowing how to establish a balance between what is given and what is received is more complicated than it seems.

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Being there for others does not mean enslaving

A while ago I knew a person who, from a certain point in his life, decided guide your actions through a very clear mission: please others .


This person, whom we will call Tania, did not have strong religious beliefs or, in a conversation, appeared to see herself as a self-sacrificing defender of good. He was a very ordinary person, with little tendency to moralism or to judge people, and had his fears and his concerns. The only difference between Tania and the majority of the population is that, in practice, she acted as if she owed something to everyone. He lived to please his neighbor, and he could not deny it.

So, week after week, Tania gave dozens of reasons to be appreciated by others thanks to those efforts, more mild or more moderate, that made to make people around her a little happier. In exchange for this, missed dozens of opportunities to say no to certain requests and to spend time taking care of yourself, resting or simply, and doing what you would have liked to do at that moment.


In principle, everything seemed something very similar to a simple transaction; After all, it is said that whoever is richer is the one who learns to give what he has without feeling the loss. Seeing the happiness and well-being of those we love also has a positive impact on us. However, what Tania did not notice is that the dynamic of personal relationships she entered was not a matter of profit and loss; those sacrifices he made did not play in his favor ; in fact, they enslaved her even more.

Three months after having formally proposed to always support others in everything and help in any way she could, Tania claimed to be very happy. But a few weeks after the above, he suffered his first anxiety crisis. What had happened?

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The trap of the eternal please others

During the months in which Tania decided to work hard for her friends and family, she learned a culture of effort to which she had remained estranged for most of her life. However, in this process there was another learning that went deeper in his way of thinking, although in a much more subtle and unconscious way. This learning was the habit of interpret any personal desire as an excuse to not strive for the rest .


But that feeling of guilt that is born out of nowhere, that makes some people enter a dynamic of asking for forgiveness to continue existing, becomes, curiously, something we use to evade the most important responsibility: decide what to do with the own life. And it is that, although it seems a lie, always attend to the demands of the rest can become a patch that we put on so we do not have to see our own needs that scare us. In Tania's case, a failed relationship had left her self-esteem so damaged that she did not see herself with the courage to take herself seriously . In such a situation, becoming a workforce to polish the finishes of the lives of others can be a demanding option, but at least it is something simple, something that can be done mechanically.

The worst thing was not that Tania started judging herself in a crueler way for no apparent reason; the worst thing was that the people around her also "got infected" with this idea and began to assume that they deserved to have all the attention and efforts of her friend, daughter, sister or partner, depending on the case.

A small community had formed that, at the same time, asked to be attended individually by a woman who he could not refuse practically anything . The possibility of doing something other than constantly giving in was gone.At first it would have been much easier to get out of that dynamic, but once everyone had internalized these images of Tania as "always helpful Perona", it became a trap that could only come out with the help of therapy.

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Always to content the other is not to please anyone

Sacrificing always for others is a double loss. On the one hand, we lose ourselves, because we treat our own body as if it were a machine that must work until it breaks, and on the other, we lose the capacity to decide if we want to act and how we want to do it; simply, we are forced to always opt for the option that apparently benefits the other , although later we try to make up the situation inventing supposed advantages for us.

But nevertheless, if those people knew what is really happening in our heads , they would prefer that everything return to normal. That nobody had decided to bet everything on the self-sacrifice letter.

And in the long run to bet everything on the need to satisfy the rest is to create a false image of the expectations that others place in us to, from our actions, make those expectations come true little by little.

In the end, whoever acts as if he feels guilty about something is likely to really be blamed for something and, therefore, that we should demand more of him. On the other hand, whoever accustoms himself to always act like a martyr ends up believing original sin, something for which he must pay eternally regardless of whether it really happened or not.

Training assertiveness and learning to respect oneself is the only way to avoid blurring the boundary between acceptable sacrifices and those that are not. The true sacrifices, the most honest, are those that are taken from the freedom that gives power to say "No".


How To Escape the People Pleaser Trap with Rick Warren (April 2021).


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