Ignoring your own needs is not the way to build healthy relationships.
This is a response to Meeting New People Will Expand Your Knowledge And Experience!
If you're a recovering people pleaser like me, you probably struggle to maintain healthy relationships. People pleasers are notoriously prone to codependency- a condition that severely hampers one's ability to have mutually beneficial relationships. When a people pleaser meets someone they like, we naturally want to, well, please them. But that behavior isn't as generous as it might sound.
The thing about people pleasing is it's inherently selfish. I say that as someone who's struggled with the behavior for years, so I don't mean it as an insult. It's selfish in the dictionary definition sense of the word- being "seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage." Contrary to popular opinion, this kind of selfishness isn't borne of an inflated ego, but a deflated one.
People-pleasers have low self-esteem. That's the reason they try so hard to make others happy- they want to be liked, and they think that their natural personality isn't going to achieve that for them. They feel ashamed of who they are, but still crave close connection. So, they cater to others' every need. They overextend themselves in the name of love, friendship, or family.
Yes, these gestures start from a place of love, but over time the goal of a people-pleaser morphs into self-protection. They want to secure the love and dependency of the objects of their affection by being the only person who can meet their needs. By constantly going above and beyond for their loved one's, the people-pleaser expects appreciation, loyalty, and love in return.
The problem is: love can't be earned. In their efforts to prove themselves worthy of devotion, people-pleasers are often disappointed. They might think they know their loved ones inside and out, and can anticipate their every need and reaction, but at the end of the day, they're playing a game that only they know the rules to. Others don't know that they're expected to return the people-pleaser's service with loyalty and affection. So, naturally, they don't always react the way the people-pleaser wants.
This leads to resentment against the person the people-pleaser is trying so hard to please. They might become disillusioned or quietly sulky. They don't understand why they aren't good enough to earn their loved one's adoration.
The truth is that being "good enough," is neither here nor there when it comes to a healthy relationship. There's no objective measure of goodness that makes someone worthy of having their time and attention reciprocated. Chasing after some ideal of the perfect friend, partner, or child is a pointless pursuit. It's not guaranteed to give you what you want. Most of the time, you'll only wind up exhausted and let down.
My advice to fellow recovering people-pleasers is this: when engaging in relationships, act according to your morals, not what you want others to do for you. If you enjoy being generous to your friends, do it. But don't act generous as a way to get them to like you the best out of all their other friends, or expect equal generosity in return.
It can be an intoxicating fantasy to believe we're able to influence what people think of us- that we can somehow earn the love and loyalty of others through nothing but our own actions. But it's also a dangerous lie that's serving no one- not your loved ones, and especially not you.