Do you believe that you can make others happy? Surely you can. But do you believe you should, or must? If you believe deeply in your heart that you're obliged to make other people happy, solve their problems, know their discomforts better than they do, and feel the need to fix them, these can be signs that you aim to please more than is probably healthy for you.
People-pleasing is a behavior that often starts at a young age. If it goes through to adulthood and never gets corrected, it can allow people, especially those who have the best intention to help others, to be taken advantage of by less considerate individuals. Because of this tendency, putting others' needs before their own can be detrimental to a person's wellbeing.
We are all very different individuals with different needs and backgrounds. You will rarely always be on the same page as everyone else in your life. Putting others' needs and demands before your own all the time will inevitably lead to a heap of compromise and frustration. This is how people-pleasing can become a hindrance to caring for ourselves.
Many Empaths Are People-Pleasers
People-pleasing is very common amongst empaths. Empaths are people who are naturally wired to feel more intensely, to the extent that they may absorb anything from their surroundings. They are not only very sensitive to others' feelings, but could go as far as feeling responsible for their needs and feelings, and may feel obliged to fix their problems as well.
Being extra-sensitive, many empaths can lack essential filters that most people have. These filters are there to protect and support us and our wellbeing throughout life. But for empaths, this is simply not a dominant feature that they easily access.
Empaths are naturally inclined to help others and are known to be nurturers. This can be one of their stellar qualities, but it can also go on to become an unhealthy trait that needs correction or at least balancing if they want to be more effective. From it stems the need to please people relentlessly and prioritize others' needs above their own all the time. Extreme people-pleasing can hold an empath back, but they can still learn to change their unconscious behavior for the better.
Imposter Syndrome Amongst Empaths
Another common thread amongst empaths is a distinct fear of success. Many empaths, especially those who haven't come to realize and appreciate their qualities, fear success as if they inherently do not believe they are capable of achieving it, or of replicating multiple successes in the future. There could be deep feelings of unworthiness behind all these fears.
When empaths fail to establish a strong sense of belief in themselves, they may feel guilt or unworthiness when recognized for their success. They fear being exposed that they genuinely lack the ability to succeed (even if this is only their own belief, and not the truth or how others see them).
Many empaths believe that their success is a result of faking their way through. They tend to deny success because they may lack belief in themselves or their worth.
Here are some of the ways empaths can best overcome their people-pleasing behaviors and imposter syndrome tendencies:
Acknowledge the Habit
Correcting people-pleasing behaviors and imposter syndrome tendencies start with becoming more self-aware of how you act. As it is more often a pattern and behavior that's deeply ingrained amongst empaths, awareness is the first step to changing them into something better.
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Practice the Pause
Whenever you feel the need to act in people-pleasing ways that do not really make you feel genuinely good about yourself, refrain from acting too soon and practice the pause. In that space between stimulus and response, you are free to consciously choose. Choose to act more authentically than you're normally accustomed to.
Reframe Your Mindset
How we normally respond to everything around us has everything to do with how our beliefs have been formed. By correcting our beliefs and changing our mindset, we can become more effective in dealing with circumstances, events, and people and changing our related behaviors.
Establish Your Boundaries
One of the most important lessons any empath can discover about themselves is establishing boundaries and limits. Rather than thinking of boundaries as limitations and seeing them negatively, think of them as essential to your growth, to protect yourself, and to help yourself be more effective in what you do.
Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone
It really may take time and much sacrifice before we see any real progress in our personal development. But acknowledging your uniqueness as an empath entails the need to empower yourself and go beyond your comfort zone. Your current ‘safe' mindset may have been defined by many limiting thoughts and beliefs, a lack of confidence, and a little disregard for your own wellbeing.
You can rise above your own mind's limitations, touch more lives and be able to do so much more if you overcome the need to please everyone around you. This will be made much easier the minute you start to believe you are worthy and so very capable of success, just like everyone else.