People Pleasing Is A Curse

Hi, my name is Jeff, and I am a recovering people pleaser. 

I always thought that I alone was 100% responsible for everyone else’s happiness in the world. Growing up, I felt I had to win in sports, not upset anyone, follow all rules, felt responsible for everyone else's feelings, and do exactly what I was told, or I was a horrible person. There was no gray area in my mind. 

A glaring example of this was when I worked at the Olympic committee helping athletes that were struggling with eating disorders. I did not enjoy my time there because of the politics and they operated on a completely different belief system than me. This caused many fights with the coaches for how they dealt with the athletes. I felt completely powerless, depressed, and beat down. 

The worst part of it was that I continued to work there only because I wanted to be able to tell people, “hey, look at me, I’m cool, I work at the Olympic Committee.”   I stayed longer than I should have because I was worried about what everyone would think if I quit. 

So, you've heard my story. How about yours? Are you a people pleaser?  

Here are a few questions that you can ask yourself to identify if you are a people pleaser or not:


  1. Do you care if someone doesn’t like you?
  2. Do you replay conversations after they occur and beat yourself up for saying something stupid?
  3. Do you struggle to say “No”?
  4. Do you have a hard time making decisions?
  5. Do you struggle with setting boundaries?
  6. Do you hold your feelings in because you don’t want to hurt the other person?  
  7. Do you often feel used and taken advantage of? 
  8. Do you give and give and feel like others don’t give back to you?   

People-pleasing is a curse. It causes anxiety, depression, unnecessary guilt, irrational thinking, and a lack of assertiveness. Not a good combination for our mental health and long-term personal success. I'll talk about how to overcome this curse in Part 2.

I was able to turn my curse into a blessing. It is the main reason I am a counselor today. Doctor “heal thyself” definitely shaped my path. In helping others overcome their curse, I overcame mine.


Thanks for reading!

Jeff Miner, LPC, M.Ed. 

Owner/Founder of Triumph Performance Institute

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