Before we describe how to be more self-assured, we need to define what a “people pleaser” is and what it means to be “codependent.” They aren’t the same. Although all codependent people are people pleasers. Not all people pleasers are codependent. Thus, being a people pleaser doesn’t have to necessarily be a bad thing.
What is a people pleaser?
A people pleaser is basically someone that is kind and considerate towards others. They are often the person you would naturally think to ask for help, because you know it is in their nature to do so. And studies have shown that acting in such an altruistic way can actually be good for you. It makes you feel happy because it releases endorphins in the brain. Our tendency to be depressed can be reduced, because we stop thinking about ourselves and think about others instead. It can also lower our blood pressure and help us find a bigger purpose in life.
But as with everything in life, it is a little more complex. Being a people pleaser can actually be bad if we start to neglect our own happiness. Or if we start to devalue our own self-worth.
If we start being “nice” just for the sake of it and start agreeing with people who have views we don’t actually agree with, that is not good. We risk becoming a chameleon and losing our own precious unique identity. If we keep saying “yes” when we are asked to help, even if we don’t have time or enough energy, that is also not good. We have to still maintain some boundaries in our lives and be able to say “no” if we have to. Otherwise, we risk becoming a slave to other people.
What is a codependent person?
Codependency is when you suppress your own needs in order to meet the needs of others – on a regular basis. This term was originally used for the long-suffering partners of people suffering from alcoholism or drug abuse. But it has since been broadened to include anyone who puts someone else’s needs above their own.
This doesn’t mean that we should never help someone in need. Of course not. It just means that we should still maintain a balance and also take care of ourselves. So we can still be a people pleaser to some extent – just not a codependent one.
How can you be codependent no more?
If you are being taxed by someone who clearly needs help, you should be able to ask others to relieve you when necessary. And if someone is just pretending to need you, you shouldn’t let yourself be a doormat. It isn’t good for you to let them do that. And it isn’t good for them either. They need to learn to be more independent and self-sufficient. A little tough love can sometimes help.
Codependent relationships aren’t bound by gender. A man can be codependent on a woman and woman can be codependent on a man.
If you are starting to feel overwhelmed or resentful or trapped, it could be a sign that you are in a codependent relationship. Journaling may help. Writing a list of activities that make you happy is a good idea. And then doing some of those activities on a regular basis. Talking to a therapist can also help. So you may like to set up an appointment to discuss it.