A common thread among clients who come to me for self-empowerment counseling is “Why do people use me?” And they groan, “Why me?” And they whine, “I’ll never get what I want because of _____.” I tell them to fill in that blank with, “because I allow myself to be a victim.” People don’t make […]
George Bernard Shaw said, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.”
Having DMS (DoorMat Syndrome) made me a People Pleaser who catered to others, with little reciprocation. People Pleasers don’t turn down requests or assert their needs. Do you want to stop one-way favors but don’t know how? It hurts to give and give and feel used. Been there, done that! I want you to understand the syndrome so you can watch for signs and break old habits. Once you understand why you’ve been a People Pleaser, use my tools to get your needs met nicely by slowly transitioning into a Nice Girl on Top. If I can do it, anyone can! Here are some common reasons for people pleasing:
* Buying Into Sexual Stereotypes: Like me, many girls get more emphasis on marriage and kids than on developing a life/career. Many aren’t taught to value their abilities. My client Heidi told me that no one ever told her she did a good job. Girls are often treated as more fragile, which decreases self-confidence. Boys are seen as more competent. Needing a man to feel complete implies you’re not whole. They’re also taught that they must fix situations and if the can’Stereotypes imply that pleasing everyone and keeping your mouth shut is best. It takes soul-searching and consciousness to accept you’re entitled to be happy on your own. Letitia is fighting old messages. My client Gina told me “Growing up I always pleased everyone, except me of course. I wanted to learn to fix things but Dad only taught my brothers. They had more freedom. I was warned about getting hurt if I tried new things and felt incapable. In college I took a woodworking class and didn’t saw off my arm as dad feared. I became darn good but was pushed into nursing. I’m still longing to pursue carpentry but after years of being told I’m not capable, it’s hard to find the confidence.”
*“I Like Being Nice”: Some of us simply enjoy being nice. Being liked feels good. But those who enjoy helping people don’t protect themselves from getting taken advantage of. It creates a false sense of being liked . Do you want to be liked for what you do or for who you are? Redefine “nice!” Nice does NOT mean doing favors indiscriminately or always being agreeable. If you’re self –empwoered you can still be kind to others and themselves too. People Pleasers don’t set limits on how much to give—and call it nice. Hello! That’s not nice! It’s buying friends with favors. Set boundaries on how much you give and be kind to others. Be kind to others and yourself as well.
• An Unhappy Childhood: Being a People Pleaser in an unloving home can score points. Sometimes kids are physically or mentally abused and pleasing earns better treatment. It can keep an abusive parent calm. A protective pattern of pleasing everyone can continue into adulthood. Habits can be broken!
• A Happy Childhood: Strangely enough, a nurturing upbringing can set you up to be a DoorMat. Seeing people through the rose-colored glasses of a happy childhood creates a naive attitude that keeps your guard down in the outside world. My loving parents, friends and neighbors helped each other—I lived in a cocoon of love and caring. I gave a lot but received too. Leaving home was a shock! After an ideal world of nice, I was unprepared for people taking without reciprocation and had no tools to protect myself. It took years to adjust how much I thought I should be giving.
• Fear of Loneliness: Some People Pleasers go the distance to do favors or pay tabs to avoid being alone. I thought food tasted better with company and treated whoever joined me for dinner in a restaurant! Being uncomfortable with your own company leads to buying friends with favors, etc. But it hurts to wonder if they’d be there without perks. I liked having lots of friends and made sure to please everyone. People only called to confirm a favor. I wondered if anyone would notice if I disappeared, except for losing my services. I was appalled that nobody called if I didn’t call and knew I’d always been alone. That got me stop being DoorMat.
* I’m Not Worthy! Low self-esteem sets you up to get taken advantage. But if you don’t like yourself, why should others like you? Childhood criticism or a focus on your imperfections creates a tendency to put your needs aside to pursue approval. You can discover your worthiness. Read my free book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways!
* Feeling Fat (AKA not being thin enough): Body image is a HUGE self-empowerment buster. Many girls believe that if they’re not thin, they’re fat. I was a tall child. It made me feel big, which translated into fat. Looking at photos, I was never fat. But I tried harder to please since my value felt less than the small, popular girls. Body perception gets distorted as a child, and continues into adulthood, with comparisons to airbrushed women and hating yourself for not being perfect. You can fix the distorted mirror you may see yourself in.
If you relate to any of these, think about it and try to let go o fand resolve old memories that keep you stuck needing to please. You’re not a child anymore! It’s time to empower yourself!
Join The Self-Love Movement™! Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Commitment—“I commit to do my best to do something loving for myself, however big or small, for the next 31 days.” and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at http://howdoiloveme.com. Read my 2014 31 Days of Self-Love Posts HERE. Join the Self-Love Movement™! on Facebook. Watch the video made with Hoobastank’s song–The reason–that illustrates the power of self-love.