Men and women have different life experiences. Although common gender dichotomies are much more a reflection of social programming than biological nature, they exist in many aspects of life. One clear example is the differential experiences men and women have with respect to people-pleasing. But regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman, you’re apt to suffer from some of the known pitfalls of people pleasing.
People pleasing is a learned behavior that can be unlearned, but only with a conscious effort and purposeful action. However, rewiring the habit of dedicating time, energy, and resources to meeting other peoples’ needs may be more difficult for women, who tend to receive positive feedback for this type of behavior.
What is People Pleasing?
People pleasers have deep-seeded emotional needs to please others at the expense of their own happiness. Although being generous and helpful makes us feel happy, people pleasing behavior is not general benevolence. Rather, people pleasing is exhibited by a behavioral pattern characterized by compliance and conformity.
People pleasing behavior is not an expression of goodwill; it comes from a longing to feel secure. It is a symptom of a generalized fear of abandonment, which usually comes from the relationship we have with our parents and low self-esteem.
Often, those of us with lowered self-regard feel the need to receive others’ approval to feel good about ourselves. We may even experience a fear of social discord or ostracism if we don’t behave in a manner that appeases others. When this rises to a general inability to experience personal validation, people pleasers find that they need others to confirm their value or worth just to feel good about themselves.
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