Are you a people pleaser? To help you decide, play the adult version of Connect the Dots. Look at your behavior when you are dating or in a relationship. Then connect the dots of your actions. What's the picture of your behavior when the dots are connected? Are you usually looking for validation? Are you an approval suck? Do you consciously or unconsciously, covertly or overtly beg for love? If your answer to any of these questions is a resounding yes, then this column is for you.
Actually the idea for this column and the following quote came from one of you wonderful readers who suggested the topic because it applies to so many "pleaser" people:
"You were taught to chase after people for their approval, to beg for love. If you mentally revise the way these damaging childhood scenarios played out you can succeed at changing the type of man (or woman) you are attracted to. Until you feel lovable you won't seek out men (or women) who can truly love you."
People pleasers are always trying to be the good boys and girls in the hopes that someone will first notice them and then love them. If you are a people pleaser, aren't you always looking for that love, attention, and approval that you didn't feel you received as a child?
Your relationships all seem to have a familiarity to them. You get into relationships that recreate those familiar childhood scenarios. Each time you keep hoping that "this time" the scenario will have a happy ending, but it usually doesn't. The reason is you're looking for love in all the wrong places. Love isn't in chasing after someone else's approval. You don't have to beg to be loved. I know it feels like there's a black hole inside of you and, that because you want to fill it with someone's love, you're willing to do just about anything. But, as you already know, being a people pleaser won't make someone love you. You can try and please people 24/7 but it won't bring you love. It will only wear you out. It gets tiring having to be a dancing bear all the time.
The truth is that dancing, chasing and begging won't get you love. You've already tried that. It hasn't work has it? The love you seek is closer than you know. It's inside. Others will love you, not by you trying to please them all the time, but by you loving you. Once you love you, you make it okay for someone else to love you too. Self-love opens the door to your heart and allows someone to come in. The open door will allow you to attract someone healthy and really loving. You'll no longer be attracted to narcissistic and self-involved partners. You won't have to do all the work and do all the pleasing. The relationship will feel right because it will be about sharing and relating to each other. You won't have to prove who you are because you'll already have proved it to yourself.
Begging, chasing after love, and being an approval suck keeps the door closed. They only strengthen your self-beliefs that you're not good enough to be loved. They reinforce your belief that you're unlovable. And if you feel you're unlovable, then no one can love you, no matter what he or she does. Regardless of what they do or you do, it's never enough, because you don't think you're enough.
People will only treat you the way you treat yourself. When you beg for love and run after someone to try and make them love you, you only show that person that you have no self-love and no self-respect. So if you don't love you, why should that man or woman love you?
As long as you don't love yourself and continue to be a people pleaser, you will attract the same kind of person over and over again in your life. The face may look different, but the characteristics and dynamics will be the same. The way to break the cycle is to give yourself self-love. Love yourself the way you want someone else to love you. Once you begin to please yourself, it will become less important for you to please someone else. Your worth and validation won't be as tied to someone else opinion and validation of you.
Stop being a dancing bear. Stop trying to please anyone and everyone in the hopes that they will like and love you. Like yourself and love yourself first. And throw away the doormat, victim and martyr labels. You don't need them anymore because you're going to start today valuing yourself, loving yourself and realizing that you are lovable.