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People-pleasing and the avoidance of being perceived as “selfish” can be destructive to self-esteem. And guess what? There’s still a pandemic happening all around us. We can’t afford to be people-pleasers anymore. 

In many ways, society sends us double messages when it comes to taking care of ourselves.  On one hand we are taught to look out for self, to take care of ourselves, to tend to our needs.  We are taught to make ourselves as important as we make others; to go after what we want, and to fight for what we want. 

Yet, if we fight too hard for ourselves, we are seen as selfish. Being branded the BIG “S” word is a fate worse than death, especially for women. Therefore, we view “selfish” as a bad word, and sometimes we’ll do anything to not be perceived in that way.

This is a truism for both men and women, although it appears more aptly applied to women.  Women, as a group, are trained to be available to everyone except themselves.They make themselves available to their spouses, their children, their parents, their friends, their in-laws, the neighbor dog, but rarely to themselves. Women will go out of their way not to be perceived as selfish and often become sick, overweight, angry, resentful, and addicted in the process.  

The price we pay to be a people-pleaser is high, and chips away at our self-respect. At what point do we learn that charity begins at home? Self-esteem comes from having the courage to make tough choices, even if they’re unpopular. Continual people-pleasing can become destructive to your health! The best thing that you can do for others it to take care of yourself. You certainly cannot give something that you do not have.

Not sure if you’re a people pleaser? Here are 10 signs that you are!Until next time, I’m Francine D. Ward, helping you help others by respecting yourself.


Francine D. Ward
Attorney-At-Law, Author, Speaker

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