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  • Jacqueline Green

People pleasing reframed as self abandonment.


Do you ever find yourself going above and beyond to ensure everyone around you is happy, or at ease, even if it means sacrificing your own well-being? If so, you might be a people pleaser - a role many adopt from childhood.



Growing up, you may have been taught to prioritise the feelings of others, often at the expense of your own. Whether it was keeping the peace in your family dynamics or protecting your loved ones from an uncomfortable truth, these behaviours can linger into adulthood, leading to a cycle of self-abandonment and mental health struggles.


From a young age, you may have learned that maintaining harmony at home was paramount. You tiptoed around sensitive topics, suppressed your own emotions to avoid conflict, and put your family's needs before your own. While these behaviours may have seemed necessary at the time, they can lay the groundwork for lifelong patterns of people-pleasing. The desire to ease others' discomfort becomes deeply ingrained, leading you to prioritise external validation over your own internal needs.


As adults, the patterns established in childhood often persist, manifesting in various aspects of our lives. You may find yourself saying yes when you want to say no, afraid of disappointing others or rocking the boat. You suppress your own desires and opinions, afraid of confrontation or rejection. The constant need to keep everyone happy can leave you feeling drained, anxious, and disconnected from your authentic self. And here's the thing - although it once felt necessary, these behaviour cycles may no longer serve you.


One of the most significant consequences of people-pleasing is self-abandonment. You prioritise the needs and desires of others to such an extent that you neglect your own well-being. Your own emotions take a backseat as you become hyper-focused on meeting the expectations of those around us. Or maybe, they have now become your own expectations. Over time, this can lead to a profound sense of emptiness and disconnection from yourself.

Moreover, the habit of people-pleasing can hinder your ability to establish healthy boundaries. You become so accustomed to putting others first that you struggle to assert our own needs and desires. This can lead to resentment, burnout, and a pervasive sense of dissatisfaction in your relationships and personal lives.


Breaking free from the cycle of people-pleasing requires courage and self-awareness. It involves learning to prioritise your own needs and values, even if it means facing discomfort or disapproval from others. Sitting in this discomfort is a difficult but necessary movement. Counselling can be a valuable tool in this journey, providing a safe space to explore your patterns, challenge limiting beliefs, and cultivate self-compassion.


If this sounds like you, then you have the opportunity to redefine your relationship with yourself and others. By practicing self-care, setting boundaries, and honouring your own authenticity, you can gradually release the grip of people-pleasing - or self abandonment - and reclaim your mental and emotional well-being.


Jacques



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