Yup. I can confidently say I was a people-pleaser.
I struggled a lot with overthinking and I often found myself obsessing over a word someone said that might remotely mean that they disapprove of an action or a decision I took.
My own mind would turn against me. Do you know that feeling when you want to punch the monkey that’s constantly jumping in your brain? Well, I do.
Life became unbearable and more importantly, dealing with people caused me a tremendous amount of stress. One of the worst things you can do to yourself is to link your self-worth to people’s approval.
As human beings, we all prefer to be liked and accepted by everyone, but that can easily develop into an unhealthy need.
Things that make you a people-pleaser
- Not being able to say no and if you do, you feel extremely guilty.
- Before making a decision, instead of asking for advice, you try to seek approval.
- Forcing yourself to smile and be happy around others because you are too afraid to annoy anyone.
- Feeling burnt out and exhausted after interacting with people.
- Neglecting yourself to take care of other’s needs so they can be pleased with you
- Being called “nice” makes you fly over the skies
Do all or any of these points apply to you? If yes, then please continue reading.
As Muslims, everything we do should revolve around pleasing Allah (SWT). We are on this Earth to worship Allah and no one but Him. Therefore, our intention must be pleasing Him even when making others happy.
Imagine filling a water bottle with holes. No matter how hard you try you can never fill it. The same applies to trying to get constant approval from everyone. All your efforts and energy are wasted in vain. Try to find a single human being who is loved by every one.
Even our beloved Prophet (PBUH) had enemies.
Why you should stop being a people-pleaser
1- You will feel more relaxed and calm around people
Being genuinely nice and helpful to others are wonderful traits. However, trying desperately to keep everyone happy will suck every ounce of energy left in you. When you start doing things for the right intention, you won’t even be bothered by the way your actions are perceived.
Helping your mother when you have people over won’t revolve around your family friends expressing what a wonderful daughter your mom has. Instead, you will do it because you want to please Allah (SWT) by helping your mum who you care about.
2- People will not affect your self-worth anymore
You will solely care about whether what you’re doing pleases Allah (SWT) or not. People’s words will have a much weaker effect on you than before, and naturally, you will start to love and respect yourself more.
You won’t be constantly asking yourself “I wonder what they’re thinking about me? I wonder if I should have said what I said differently”.
3- People will respect your boundaries
You will be able to set respectful boundaries to people who impose their opinion on you and make you feel bad for not following it.
You will be able to say, “Thank you for your opinion, but this is my life.”
Please bear in mind, I do not mean people who suggest their opinion in a respectful manner because they want your best interest at heart. I mean the ones who would bully you into changing your mind to follow theirs.
Some personalities will never admit they’re wrong and instead will guilt you into feeling that you are being too harsh on them. If you are a people-pleaser, this trick will work like magic on you.
However, if you set boundaries without having to be desperate for their approval, you are setting yourself free.
4- The right people will like you more
Ironically, the less you care about what people think and focus on Allah (SWT), the more you will realize that the right people are cherishing you because doing things for the right intention makes it more genuine.
قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى إِذَا أَحَبَّ عَبْدًا نَادَى جِبْرِيلَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ أَحَبَّ فُلاَنًا فَأَحِبَّهُ فَيُحِبُّهُ جِبْرِيلُ، ثُمَّ يُنَادِي جِبْرِيلُ فِي السَّمَاءِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ أَحَبَّ فُلاَنًا فَأَحِبُّوهُ، فَيُحِبُّهُ أَهْلُ السَّمَاءِ وَيُوضَعُ لَهُ الْقَبُولُ فِي أَهْلِ الأَرْضِ ”
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “If Allah loves a person, He calls Gabriel, saying, ‘Allah loves so and so, O Gabriel love him’ So Gabriel would love him and then would make an announcement in the Heavens: ‘Allah has loved so and-so therefore you should love him also.’ So all the dwellers of the Heavens would love him, and then he is granted the pleasure of the people on the earth.”
5- You will have your own personality and voice
Caring about what others think naturally makes you avoid anything which might cause any slight discomfort to people around you, making you too afraid to have a voice of your own.
This is specifically important because it can gradually affect your deen. Meaning, at some point you might please a person at the expense of displeasing Allah (SWT).
But isn’t making people happy a part of being a good Muslim?
Pleasing people with the wrong intention and being kind and helpful to others are two completely different things. Helping others in Islam is never about fishing for compliments or impressing anyone. It is purely about taking time to give a hand to someone in need, let it be your family, a friend, or a stranger. Why? Because you want to make a positive difference in their lives.
Islam is a religion of unity. Visiting your neighbor, checking up on a sick person, or going to funerals are all encouraged in our deen.
Step by step you can transform from a people-pleaser to an Allah-pleaser!
Remember always be kind to others for the sake of Allah and your life will change inshAllah.