Why Please People?

I used to be a people pleaser.

I’m afraid of what people would say and think about me. I don’t want to say NO from their requests. It makes me feel guilty. I don’t want to hurt feelings. I want peace.

But after recovering from depression last year — it’s a long story — I realized that pleasing people wasn’t leading me to the life I wanted to live. So I have two choices:

  1. Continue being a people pleaser.
  2. Stop it and start living the life I want to live.

My choice, of course, was to stop pleasing people and start living the life I wanted for myself.

It wasn’t easy. The transformation was damn hard. Some of my friends said I’ve changed.

Shouldn’t I value our friendship? Why did I hurt their feelings? Saying NO was like pushing them away — NO to drinking, NO to trivial conversations, NO to anything that doesn’t have real value. Sorry, but no.

If I say yes, that means I’m just doing it to please them, make them happy, and not hurt their feelings. If I say yes, that means I’m doing things that don’t make me feel happy. And if I say yes, that means I lied to myself.

If you’re lying to yourself, you’re not being you. And not being you is the real failure in life.

Renowned poet Ralph Waldo Emerson echoed a similar perspective:

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

Making others happy is great. But if it doesn’t make you feel good, if it doesn’t teach good things to people, and if it doesn’t better yourself and others, then it’s pointless. You’re just pleasing them.

Do it not because you want to please people, but because you know it’s the right thing to do. 

Say no if you don’t want it.

Say yes if you have to.

Do it for the right reasons.