Do you remember this silly song about the purple people eater? All he wanted to do was eat purple people and join a rock and roll band. He didn’t ask for permission, and he didn’t apologize for his desires.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a people pleaser. I tend to speak softly, smile a lot and am very polite. I have through the years learned to put my own needs in front of others, but in many given moments I have to fight the urge to ‘make people happy.’
I don’t know why some are more naturally givers and others takers. But if you are more of a giving sort of person than a taking kind, like me, you need to remember that you can only give to others so long before you run out of stuff to give. Learning to take requires developing an inner balance. My natural tendency is still to always put others needs ahead of my own, and it probably always will be, but knowing, just knowing that you don’t have to please people just because you have a tendency to want to do so, doesn’t make it right.
People pleasing is not a trait I like in myself. Sure, I get labeled as ‘kind,’ ‘nice,’ or ‘compassionate,’ but truly I could also be labeled ‘sucker.’ It’s not that I think takers are any better – I just think there’s a kind of selfishness in always putting others first. Putting others first doesn’t sound selfish, but I think people pleasers tend to put others first to avoid discord, drama, anger, and other negative emotions – that many of us are people pleasers because it is safer. I also think takers inherently know that’s what pleasers are doing, and are able to manipulate us easier.
The simple answer is to be someone who both gives and takes. For years now I have been trying to be balanced on this but find it difficult. If I say no and someone pushes me, I cave in but am resentful of it. Pleasers and takers alike need to learn boundaries. In the long run, it’s better to be both a balanced person, and not try too hard to please/give or take. In reality, we need to give and take to ourselves, and add other people once we’ve figured this out.
These are just thoughts and are not fully reasoned out. Comments or thoughts would be appreciated!