Pleasers – people who are too nice for their own good – are at an increased risk of depression. While altruism and philanthropy are without doubt much required virtues, self-sacrificing people often feel victimized. This is because when they continuously abdicate or renounce their personal goals and interests for others, all the while ignoring the little voice at the back of their head cautioning them to take time and be steady before acquiescing to the demands of others, it is natural to feel emotionally exhausted and drained. The little voice, the conscience keeper, plays an important role in balancing between the innate desire to remain in the comfort zone and avoid the chance of displeasing others by saying a “no.”
In an increasingly competitive world, renouncing one’s personal goals is not a virtue. People who willingly sacrifice themselves at the altar of other people’s interests, run the risk of being taken as an object of mirth by their very own people. Sometimes, they might end up infuriating others for their excessive sweetness. Due to their proclivity to please everyone, people-pleasing personalities find themselves torn between conflicting decisions, which can lead to increased stress, anxiety and depression.
Signs of a people-pleasing personality
A people pleaser may have the following traits:
- They struggle to say no, regardless of the consequences. Wake them up midnight and they would be willing to forgo sleep to attend to a drunk friend’s call.
- They are the typical fly on the wall kind of personality. Nobody asks for their opinions, or questions them about their choices, as it is well-known that they would agree to whatever others say. Over a period of time, it becomes depressing as the person feels being used.
- People pleasers crave for approval. They are needy. They feel depressed when they are criticized for their actions or lack of decision-making skills.
- They scrutinize themselves closely and spend realms of thought figuring if they have hurt someone intentionally or unintentionally.
- Most people pleasers are afraid of negative emotions.
- People pleaser’s desire to be liked by people borders on the neurotic.
Learning to let go of the habit
Most people pleasers behind the closed doors are terribly lonely and depressed. They feel undervalued and victimized as friends and family they have helped with their sacrifices trod them underfoot. Soon, because of the accumulated anger and self-neglect they go through, they undergo emotional burnout, from which they either emerge vindictive and with no care for anybody else in future. They might further fall into the pit of depression.
It is necessary to let go of the people-pleasing habit as soon as possible. One could also seek the help of a psychiatrist and learn self-coping skills, such as:
- How to take risks and say no
- How to give importance to self without letting anyone else take advantage of their good behavior
- How to be assertive without sounding rude
- How to express without suppressing emotions
Seeking help for depression
As humans, it is not possible for one to be bright, sunny and pleasing all day and at all times. Everyone gets stressed out at some point. But every person is responsible for his/her own happiness. It’s important to inculcate feelings of self-worth and self-love along with living with a generous heart that helps everyone. Depression is a serious mental disorder and needs to be treated at the earliest with the right intervention and at the right time. Delaying the matters may prove to be disastrous.