“I do not know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” (Plato)
How often do we try to please other people, because we want to have our peace, want to avoid arguments and discussions, or are seeking for love and appreciation? Although we should already know better, we fall back into these old and probably acquired patterns of behaviour from time to time.
The wish for well-being and harmony informs the nature of women to a large extent, and this is why we do our utmost so that others thrive and feel as comfortable as possible. Cost what it may! To this end, we frequently restrain ourselves, suppress our needs, bite our tongue, and take responsibility for other people and situations that do not really concern us.
You are probably already on the way towards shedding this pattern of behaviour, or you have already discarded it and left it behind you.
But, to be on the safe side, ask yourself the following questions from time to time:
- Do I sometimes say YES, when I actually want to say NO?
- Do I sometimes catch myself trying to impress other people?
- Do I not want others to regard me as egotistical?
- Do I like to avoid conflicts?
- Do I allow my behaviour to be guided by other people’s opinions?
- Is it easier for me to agree with someone rather than pressing my own point?
- Do I feel responsible for other people’s well-being?
- Do I assume responsibility for other adults?
- Do I try to make sad or glum people happy?
- Do I strive for the praise and appreciation of the people close to me?
- Do I sometimes forget to draw the line?
It is easier than you might think to walk into the trying-to-please-everybody-trap and be caught in it. After all, sometimes it is very difficult to recognise the fine line between autonomy and heteronomy. But as soon as you have realised why to want to please everybody, you can easily recognise your behaviour and steer it into another direction.
This is how you can free yourself from the trap:
- Take enough time to consider before you say YES or NO.
- Learn to bear feelings connected with disagreements or conflicts.
- Do not feel responsible for everything and everyone.
- Do not lose sight of your values.
- Do not always take the same line as other people.
- Have the courage to stand by your opinion and needs.
- Learn to distinguish self-love from egotism.
- Do not think about what others might say about you.
- Remain true to yourself.
- Draw your boundaries, even though others might not like them.
- Do not allow yourself to be manipulated by others.
Even though it is not always easy to discard acquired or adopted patterns of behaviour. It is worth it!