There’s a significant difference between being kind and being a people-pleaser.
The difference lies in the motivation. People-pleasing tends to be about seeking approval and avoiding conflict, often at the expense of your own comfort or needs.
Being kind, meanwhile, is all about empathy and consideration for others, without sacrificing your own self-respect.
If you want to be respected in life, it’s crucial to ditch people-pleasing behaviors. And I’m here to tell you that there are certain behaviors you need to say goodbye to if you want to command respect.
Below is a guide to identifying and eliminating those 9 people-pleasing behaviors that may be holding you back.
1) Always saying yes
One common trait of a people-pleaser is the inability to say no.
At times, we all feel the push to agree to requests, especially when we fear disappointing others. But the cost can be high. You might find yourself overwhelmed with commitments, stressed out, and unable to meet your own needs.
The truth is, saying yes to everything is not a sign of kindness or flexibility. Instead, it’s a clear signal that you value others’ needs more than your own.
And guess what? That’s not a recipe for respect.
Being able to set boundaries and say no when necessary is a key aspect of self-respect. And when you respect yourself, others are more likely to follow suit.
2) Apologizing excessively
I used to be an over-apologizer. If someone bumped into me, I’d be the one saying sorry. If a meeting I was part of ran over time, I’d apologize, even if I wasn’t leading it.
But then I realized something crucial. Constantly apologizing for things that weren’t my fault was giving others the impression that I was always in the wrong. It was as if I was constantly taking the blame, and it wasn’t doing my self-respect any favors.
Apologizing when you’ve done something wrong is one thing. But excessive, unnecessary apologies can make you appear weak and unsure. It’s like you’re subconsciously telling others that you’re not confident or assertive.
Since then, I’ve been working on catching myself before I apologize needlessly, and it’s made a noticeable difference in how people perceive and respect me.
3) Avoiding confrontation at all costs
Did you know that the fear of confrontation, also known as conflict avoidance, can actually lead to increased stress and anxiety? It’s true.
Rather than resolving issues, avoiding them can cause them to fester and grow, leading to even more problems down the line.
Many people-pleasers shy away from confrontations because they fear damaging relationships.
But here’s the thing: confrontation is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be a healthy way to express your feelings and stand up for what you believe in.
Avoiding confrontation at all costs might keep the peace in the short term, but it’s likely to erode respect over time. People will start to realize that they can walk all over you because you’re unlikely to stand up for yourself.
So next time you find yourself in a situation where your values are being challenged, don’t shy away. Stand your ground and express your feelings respectfully.
You might be surprised at how much respect this can earn you.
4) Seeking validation from others
We all like to feel appreciated and valued. However, when your self-worth is tied to the approval of others, you’re bound to run into problems.
People-pleasers often fall into the trap of seeking constant validation from those around them. They measure their worth based on what others think of them, which is a slippery slope to losing self-respect.
Here’s the thing: respect comes from within. If you don’t respect yourself, it’s hard for others to do so.
And constantly seeking validation from others can send the message that you’re not confident in your own worth.
Overcommitment is a common trap that many people-pleasers fall into. It often comes from the desire to make everyone happy, but the end result is usually the opposite.
When you take on too many responsibilities, you spread yourself thin and risk burning out. Not only does this harm your physical and mental health, but it can also impact the quality of your work and relationships.
Moreover, constantly overcommitting sends a message to others that your time is not valuable. If you’re always available for every request or favor, people may start to take advantage of your goodwill.
To earn respect, it’s important to manage your commitments wisely. Learn to prioritize and say no when necessary.
After all, respecting your own time is a clear sign of self-respect, and others are likely to follow suit.
6) Hiding your true feelings
For the longest time, I was a master at concealing my true feelings. I’d plaster on a smile, even when I was feeling anything but happy. I thought that by doing so, I was being strong and preventing others from worrying about me.
But I soon realized that by hiding my true feelings, I was doing myself a disservice. I was bottling up my emotions, which only led to more stress and anxiety.
More importantly, I was not being authentic. And authenticity is key to earning respect.
People appreciate honesty and vulnerability. It shows them that you’re human, just like them.
So don’t be afraid to show your true feelings. It’s okay to not be okay sometimes. By showing your authentic self, you’re likely to garner more respect from those around you.
7) Trying to fit in
In the quest to be liked and accepted, many people-pleasers try to fit in by copying others, even if it means compromising their own identity. They may adopt others’ opinions, hobbies, or dressing styles, hoping to gain approval.
But here’s the catch: true respect is earned when you are genuine and true to yourself. People respect those who have the courage to be themselves, even if it means standing out from the crowd.
Trying to fit in by being someone you’re not, sends a signal that you don’t value your own uniqueness.
And if you don’t value it, why should others?
8) Letting others disrespect you
The most important thing to remember, and perhaps the hardest to practice, is never allowing others to disrespect you. As a people-pleaser, it’s easy to excuse or overlook mistreatment in an effort to keep the peace.
But here’s the harsh reality: if you don’t stand up against disrespect, you’re essentially giving others permission to continue treating you poorly.
This not only erodes your self-respect but also sends a clear message to others that they can treat you the same way.
Standing up against disrespect isn’t about being confrontational or aggressive. It’s about asserting your worth and setting boundaries for how you expect to be treated.
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.
Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.
With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.
Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.
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