Why Do We Need People to Like Us?
Do you ever get caught in the “people pleasing” trap?
You turn yourself inside out in order to make someone happy or like you?
This behavior feels terrible: there’s no guarantee we’ll even succeed, and we’re left feeling hollow, fake, or desperate. It can feel compulsive and like we’re powerless to stop seeking positive attention.
If you’re ready to change, first understand why you do this.
Our brains are hard-wired to seek approval because centuries ago we lived in tribes and to be cast out of the tribe meant certain death. We needed remain within the group at all costs.
Now obviously you won’t die if someone doesn’t like you, but your brain still operates from primitive programming that perceives approval as a life-or-death situation.
Consider the relationships where you might feel compelled to people-please. Despite the urge to make them “happy,” sit with the question “what will happen if I don’t say yes this time?” They may not like it, so?
You can learn to allow other people to have their own reactions. You won’t die.
But, you will have to learn how to tolerate the discomfort of not being “liked” or “appreciated”. Because your brain focus on the “reward” of feeling “liked,” it will feel like withdrawal from a drug when you stop.
But nothing has gone wrong here. You’re simply unhooking from the need to feel good based on others’ reactions towards you.
And you will have your own self-respect and a lot less resentment towards those people you’ve been trying to please. When you stop this behavior you will create relationships that affirm your true self and not your false, people-pleasing self.
And the reward of being true to yourself is priceless.