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Mental Stress of Being a People Pleaser

No matter how hard it may be... it’s OKAY to say no!!!

Photo by: Jon Tyson

My biggest strength is also my biggest downfall. I pride myself on my empathy and ability to share my heart with others, but I’ve developed the unfortunate habit of becoming a people pleaser, aka, someone who goes too far out of their way to make others happy.

I've struggled with this for years and I can firmly say being a people pleaser SUCKS. I've spent all this time worrying about doing whatever people ask of me, I neglected my own needs.

And the toll it took on my mental health? Huge.

I got anxiety every time I said no

I know this may sound ridiculous, but every time I told one of my friends I couldn’t help them with something, I would freak out thinking they wouldn’t like me anymore. It could’ve been the stupidest thing too一like driving them across campus because they didn’t want to walk.

I thought I had to drop everything to help someone, no matter what was going on in my own life, and it seemed as though the word “no” wasn’t in my vocabulary. It didn’t matter how much money I spent, time I wasted, or sleep I lost—I put pleasing others above everything.

People weren’t out right TELLING me that I couldn’t say no, but there was a great deal of guilt tripping. If I stood up for myself, I would receive comments like,”awww Soph no please I really need you,” or, “Soph we’re supposed to be best friends!” I felt like someone that existed to please others, instead of being my own person.

I was a fucking door mat, and people walked right over me.

I wasn’t just anxious, I was losing sleep

I can’t count the number of times they’ve called me in the middle of the night asking me to come pick them up. Whether it was a fight with their boyfriend, roommate problems, or mental stress, I was the first person they called to get them out of the college environment for a while.

It wasn’t just being a part time chauffeur that caused me to lose sleep, my whole cycle of people pleasing caused me to go to bed EXTREMELY STRESSED. By the time I would finally get home, I was mentally—and physically—exhausted. That pent of stress and mental strain forced my anxiety to spiral, which in turn kept me from sleeping.