Are you a people pleaser? Do you have a fear of letting people down? Well, you’re not alone in that area, but there are ways you can improve.

Should we care about what other people think? Well, sometimes we should. But the truth is, we can never please all of the people all of the time. This is just impossible.

However, there are those who have a horrible fear of disappointing others. They want to be liked and accepted, and when they fail it’s almost unbearable. Is this you?

Do you have an unhealthy fear of letting people down?

Yes, we should strive to be the best of who we are, but we are going to make mistakes. We are also going to make choices that make some people angry with us.

I’ve learned this during my adult life, and it wasn’t an easy lesson. I hated letting people down. But the thing is, it couldn’t be 100% avoided, and this is true for everyone. Are you that person – are you an obsessive people pleaser? Here are a few indicators that might help you see the truth.

1. A desire to be liked

If you addressed the real person inside, would you say you had a strong need to be liked? Is this a need to be liked by everyone, and devastation if just one of them disliked you? If so, you are struggling with letting people down.

You want to be accepted and needed by everyone. You also don’t like these people seeing your imperfections because that could lead to some sort of distaste for you. This is not healthy and striving to make everyone approve of you will lead to mountains of stress.

2. Too much apologizing

People pleasers will say they are sorry for things they didn’t even do. What’s more, they will apologize over and over again, as if their apologies will ensure that no one turns against them.

If you’re saying sorry even when something is obviously not your fault, you’re desperately trying not to be seen as a failure. And there may not even be anyone that thinks this way. It’s just part of what’s been ingrained into your character. But it can be changed. That’s the good news.

3. Being untrue to yourself

First of all, it’s not normal to agree to everything that someone says or offers to you. Sometimes, it’s the right choice to say ‘no’. I’ve seen so many people say yes when they really didn’t feel like doing things or agreeing to things they really hate. The look on their faces usually reveals the truth.

Do you find yourself doing things or agreeing with things you rather not do? If so, you have a fear of letting people down, but you are being untrue to yourself, which is much worse. This behavior can eat away at your physical and mental health. So, it has to stop, and you must be true to yourself.

4. Overburdened by others

Lately, has your life been a series of doing this and that for everyone else? Are you taking care of a sick relative? Are you helping a friend move? Are you babysitting other people’s children? Even worse, are you doing all these things in one small period of time?

If so, you could be overloaded with other people’s needs and neglecting your own. This is one of the most noticeable signs that you are afraid of disappointing people. This is also a sure way to shorten your lifespan.

It’s something serious to think about, and something you might want to put a stop to as soon as possible. Helping people is good, but when this charity turns into self-destruction, you’re better off letting people dislike you.

5. Compromising your core beliefs

I didn’t learn the importance of standards, beliefs, morals, and such until my mid-forties. I know, that’s kind of late. But, when I did, I realized that most people don’t care about your boundaries as much as you do. Listen carefully.

You absolutely have to discover your core beliefs and hold onto them as tightly as you can. Now, I’m not saying compromise is bad. No, it’s great.

But if your standards and morals are being compromised just to please someone else, that’s where you draw the line. That’s where you just let them hate you and be done with it. Are you selling yourself to please others?

6. Copying others

I’ve watched young men and women change who they are to fit the person they love. I’ve even seen this happen between friends who have that fear of letting people down. For instance, if you hate football, please don’t pretend you love it just to win the approval of someone else.

Copying others and the things they like shows that you fear letting people down. Why is this? Because you believe that people will like you better if you are more like them.

In the end, this is not true, and eventually, the truth of what you really like and don’t like will be revealed making things much worse. I’ve done it, trust me.

Go ahead, disappoint them

Yes, I said it, and I mean it. You go ahead and fail sometimes if things need to change. You have to eliminate the fear of letting people down, and this might be what it takes. Yes, you may lose friends, and you may lose marriages. But, in the long run, you’ve been true to yourself and that’s what matters.

I will leave you with a few ideas to embark upon these improvements. If you try these practical ideas, you might find yourself holding your head a little higher and caring a little less about the opinion of others.

Here are a few ways to make those changes:

Know yourself

The first thing you should do is get to know yourself. I mean really understand what you like and what you don’t like apart from anyone else, even your closest family members. Don’t base any part of you on anyone else. This is how you know where to draw boundary lines.

Set those boundaries

If you’re confused about some boundary lines, use this rule of thumb: don’t let your kindness be seen as weakness. When you feel like someone is taking advantage of you, step back and reaffirm those boundaries.

Stand firm

Don’t take things that other people say or do too seriously. Sometimes, people get angry just because they know you will fold and give in to what they want. At times, you will have to ignore this, and brush it off.

Don’t assume things

Never assume your ‘no’ response will disappoint someone anyway. There are some normal people, after all, that understand that ‘no’ is a perfectly okay answer sometimes. Try to remember this and try it out more often too.

I’m not saying it will be easy to make changes in the ways you’ve conditioned yourself with the fear of letting people down, but if someone really loves you, letting them down sometimes should be okay.

All the others who pretend to be a friend or loved one, can either learn to accept your truths or not. It’s just that simple. I’m rooting for you.

References:

  1. https://www.jmu.edu
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com

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the power of misfits

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