11 warning signs you’re trying to please everyone at your own expense

If you’re trying to please other people, you’re probably doing so at your own expense. Tell me honestly, how much energy do you have left for yourself after you’re done catering to work and your friends’ and families’ needs?

Not much, right?

But to change things around, you first have to be aware of this issue. That’s why, in this article, we’re exploring the warning signs you’re trying to please everyone at your own expense.

Let’s begin!

1) You find it hard to say “no” even when you’re overwhelmed

If you can’t decline requests, you’re over-committing. This will only add to your stress and exhaustion as you take on more than you can handle. 

If you want to stay mentally and physically happy, you must learn to say “no.” You need to recognize that setting boundaries isn’t selfish but a necessary act of self-care. 

By respecting your limits, you ensure that your efforts are focused on tasks and things that truly matter, preventing burnout and promoting a healthier balance in your life.

But you also can’t keep feeling guilty.

2) You’re feeling guilty when you prioritize yourself

Feeling guilty when prioritizing yourself is another common challenge for people-pleasers. 

Again, taking care of yourself isn’t selfish. Overcoming guilt means understanding that taking care of your own needs allows you to be in a better position to support others. 

To break free from guilt, it’s important to embrace self-compassion and acknowledge your well-being matters as well.

In other words, you need to help yourself first so you can help others. 

3) You’re constantly seeking validation from others

If you’re constantly seeking validation from others, that means you lack self-confidence. 

Relying on external approval results in a cycle of disappointment, as you don’t always receive the validation you crave. 

Instead of prioritizing other people’s opinions, focus on building a strong sense of self-worth. 

Recognize your achievements and value your own opinions, as this is more sustainable and fulfilling in the long run. 

You get to make choices based on your values rather than seeking constant approval from others.

4) You’re ignoring your own needs to fulfill others’ expectations

Are you putting others’ needs ahead of your own? Well, doing this consistently leads to not caring about yourself. 

For example, you always take on extra projects at work, working late into the night to meet deadlines while neglecting your need for rest and personal time.

Or you neglect regular exercise or healthy nutrition because you’re too busy meeting the expectations of others, whether it’s at work or in your personal life.

My guess is you’re doing it out of fear. 

5) You’re fearing rejection or disapproval

We all want people to like us, right? But here’s the thing: not everyone will always agree with what you do or say.

And that’s totally fine! It’s fine.

It’s easy to get caught up in worrying about what others think, but it’s way more important to stick to what you believe in.

Don’t let the fear of criticism stop you from being true to yourself. Trust me, you can’t make everyone happy, and that’s okay. 

Being real and staying true to your values is way more important than trying to please everyone. 

It might take some getting used to, but embracing that is a big step forward. I mean, working overtime sometimes is fine as long as you’re fairly compensated. 

You don’t have to drop all responsibilities. You just need to control them. 

6) You’re overcommitting and spreading yourself too thin

warning signs youre trying to please everyone at your own expense 1 11 warning signs you’re trying to please everyone at your own expense

Overcommitting to please everyone can result in spreading yourself too thin. When you’re juggling so many responsibilities, your effectiveness takes a hit, and stress becomes a constant companion. 

Your 9-to-5 becomes a 24/7, and you find yourself wishing for an extra day in the week just to catch up on your own life.

This over-commitment is a sign you’re trying to please everyone at your own expense. It’s like saying “yes” to every buffet dish – you end up with a plate full of everything but satisfaction.

You need to find that sweet spot where you can help others without losing yourself in the process.

7) You have difficulty expressing your true opinions for fear of disagreement

Have you ever found yourself holding back what you really think just to avoid rocking the boat? 

Maybe you’re at work, and you don’t want to challenge the group’s ideas. Or when talking to friends, you’re afraid to voice your opinion because it might not align with everyone else’s. 

This reluctance to speak up could be a sign that you’re trying to please everyone around you at the expense of your authentic self.

When you’re always holding back to keep things smooth, it can stop you from growing as a person because you’re not allowing yourself to explore your own thoughts and ideas fully.

8) You’re experiencing burnout from excessive people-pleasing

Experiencing burnout from excessive people-pleasing is a clear consequence of consistently ignoring your own needs to fulfill other people’s expectations.

For example, giving money to others regularly, especially when it’s more than you can afford, can wear you out.

The stress of dealing with financial difficulties caused by being too generous can also make you physically and emotionally exhausted.

The burnout is not only evident in the physical toll it takes on your body but also in the emotional exhaustion that comes from suppressing your own needs and desires.

Many times, I have put the needs of others in front of my own dreams so I could focus on helping them. Did it hold me back for years? It did. But was it worth it? Not so much. 

It turns out, people aren’t that grateful for your help. Who knew?

9) You’re feeling responsible for others’ happiness

Putting the responsibility for their happiness on yourself is not only unrealistic but also tiring. 

While helping others is good, understand that everyone is in charge of their own happiness. That’s why you need to encourage people to take control of their emotions and their lives. 

This change in mindset not only makes you less stressed but also creates healthier, more balanced relationships.

They learn how to make themselves content, and you get more time on your hands and less clutter in your mind. 

10) You’re anxious about the opinions of others

Worrying too much about what others think can make it tough for you to make decisions and be yourself. 

It’s crucial to realize that you can’t control how people see you. Instead of letting fear guide what you do, try staying true to who you are. 

For me, this often meant avoiding networking or social events due to the fear of not fitting in or being judged.

But also going along with family traditions or expectations that don’t resonate with me to avoid conflict.

And while I’m completely over the latter, the former is still holding me somewhat back. 

But above all, being authentic helps you connect with people who genuinely like you for you, creating real and meaningful relationships.

11) You’re sacrificing your values to gain approval

When you give up what you believe in just to make others like you, it messes with who you really are.

You need to stick to what you think is right, even if not everyone agrees, right? If you’re always trying to get approval by going against your beliefs, it can make you feel really conflicted inside and like something’s missing.

Instead, find strength in being true to yourself. When you stay honest about what matters to you, you’ll meet like-minded people and be much more content with the interactions you have with others. 

Final thoughts

You know, it’s okay to be you. It’s also OK to spend more time with the people who appreciate you than with people who don’t.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by pleasing others, think about your limits. Think about the fact that it’s okay if some people dislike you. 

No one is universally liked.

But also learn to say “no” when you need to and remember to take care of yourself. 

Picture of Adrian Volenik

Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

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