There is a commonly used word called (听话) in Chinese. This word’s literal meaning is “listen to words,” but it translates to “obedient.” Chinese parents would say this word to their kids to make them obedient. I heard a lot of this word when I was growing up, and I am sure there is something similar in different cultures. This word is almost like a magic spell; it makes kids feel guilty if they don’t do whatever parents asked to do. I was a very 听话 (obedient) child, and my mom would even brag about it to others. It is a very positive thing for parents to have a 听话 (obedient) child, but the side effect is that I become a people pleaser. It is very soul crashing to lose yourself along the obedient way of life. And pleasing others is almost equal to forgetting about yourself. How could a person be happy and live a fulfilled life when one’s goal is to please others?
One sign of being a people pleaser is that I am terrible at saying no. Avoid saying no and avoiding disagreeing with others to get myself out of conflicts and disappointments. I feel more responsible for other’s feelings, and my thought process is that I can heal myself but not others. I would rather say yes to people and agree with them to make them happy, and I can just let go of my unhappiness. However, things don’t work that way. I am escaping and choosing the easy way out by avoiding myself. And people might be happy at the moment, but they surely sense my unwillingness one way or another. Also, the most important thing is that people don’t take me seriously when I don’t hold my ground. I lose my identity when I swallow my words and give in. To stop being a people pleaser doesn’t mean that I am going to disagree with others about everything now, I don’t want to be afraid of speaking my mind and being honest!
Another sign of being a people pleaser is that I need praises to feel good about yourself. I mean we all do, praises are like sugar that we are addicted to. But, when we rely on others’ approval way too much, others’ words can hurt us and change us in ways we can never imagine. The voice that matters the most is the voice in our heads. The things we tell ourselves will affect the way we present ourselves. My favorite singer said you need to take all the positive and negative words the same weight. Umm… Let that sink in a little. It makes me imagine this: My heart is on a swing. People’s words can push me as hard as possible, and my heart would swing without my control. If we can weight all the positive and the negative words the same, our hearts will be steady no matter how hard the words blow. So, I will hop off the swing, sit on the ground, and take back the control of my heart and please myself first.
If you are a parent, please allow your children to make mistakes and be themselves. If you are in a relationship, please let your significant other to make their own decisions and be wrong. If you are a friend, please don’t get mad when your friend says no or I don’t agree. And if you are a people pleaser like me, don’t be afraid and speak out. Till next time, my friends.