I consider myself a recovering people pleaser.  For years I tried to please others, not realizing selfish motivation was so they would like me or care for me in return.  Now wiser and older, I have learned the problems with caring for and being compassionate for others without first caring for myself.  Compassion fatigue is real.  The power of self compassion is the cure.

People pleasers have compassion for others.  As people pleasers, we may even feel responsible for the whole world. We want to make others’ lives easier and better.  We often do things for others without being asked.  We say yes to ridiculously time consuming or difficult tasks because we do not want to disappoint.  We feel used and disconnected from the very people we tried to please. In the end people pleasers become resentful because that same care for others is not reflected back to them.

What is compassion?

Compassion motivates us to care for others.  Compassion is a good thing. Compassion fatigue comes from helping others at the expense of depleting or even losing a part of ourselves in the process.  We can become so exhausted and used up from taking care of others that we no longer know who we are or what we want.  We have let the wants and needs of others define us and drive us.  We have expected compassion from others instead of being the source or our own self compassion.

People Pleasers lack self-compassion.

People pleasers have outsourced love and compassion instead of being able to give it to themselves. People pleasers neglect to care for themselves, they have compassion for others but not for themselves.  People pleasers have a strong inner critic who constantly tells them that they are not worthy, not good enough.  People pleasers tend to feel less deserving than others.  They don’t feel that they are worth taking a break, worth having fun and treating themselves with the same compassion and care that they show others.  They have learned to settle for a little love instead of realizing that they are worth being loved fully.

The power of self-compassion.

Self-compassion is self-love.  Instead of expecting that the world will take care of us, we realize that we must take care of ourselves.  This can be a shattering paradigm shift to realize that we are the ones responsible for our own self-care.  Yet the principal is very old.  Love thy neighbor as thyself.  We must also love ourselves and take care of ourselves.  Growing up I thought the phrase was love they neighbor better than thyself.  When we first have self-compassion, self-love, we are complete. We are whole.  We are full.  Then we actually have more to give without giving up or losing ourselves.  When we are first compassionate with ourselves, we can actually be more compassionate with others.

How much of a people pleaser are you?