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How People-Pleasing Might Be Fueling Your Depression

Do you find yourself doing your best to keep everyone happy all the time? If anyone’s sad or angry, do you consider it a failure on your part? Do you rely on others’ opinions more than your own? If so, you might be a people-pleaser.

There’s nothing wrong with being agreeable and wanting to make others happy. The problem starts when you put everyone else’s needs before your own.

When you put your own needs last, it’s easy to sink into depression because you stop taking yourself into account — you’re too busy caring about what everybody else feels and thinks. When you stop taking care of yourself in that way, it’s a sort of neglect that gets reflected in your mental health.


Insecurity is one of the big reasons behind both people-pleasing and depression. When you constantly seek approval from others, it can be hard to be satisfied with the way your life is going. After all, you’re not living the life you want to lead, but the one others have picked for you.

Depression can be brought on by dissatisfaction with your life. So, if people-pleasing has you constantly looking to others for approval, if it has you living afraid of other people’s judgment, you’re not going to be happy with your life. You’ll walk on eggshells the whole time, dreading the moment you do one wrong thing and end up being rejected by your peers.

Low Self-Esteem

When you lack confidence in yourself, it’s normal to turn elsewhere for backup. A friend’s kind words of encouragement can be a strong booster when you need it. But this only helps in moderation.

If you constantly doubt yourself and always turn to others for reassurance, you’re not boosting your confidence. You’re misplacing it. Instead of trusting yourself 0r your abilities, you trust other people to be able to tell you whether you’re doing something right or wrong.

two women talking at a table drinking coffeeAs a people-pleaser, this might become second nature. You do your best to keep others happy, and you trust them to tell you when you’re doing something right. You also trust them to tell you if you do something wrong, so you can fix it and make others happy again. But what about you? Where do you fit in all this?

Low self-esteem and depression are linked. Not trusting your ability to handle things fuels your depression far more than you might think.

Neglecting Yourself

It’s normal to put others before yourself from time to time. When your best friend has a terrible day, it’s only natural to stay up with them late into the night to cheer them up. Sure, you’ll be exhausted in the morning, but that’s what friendship is for. You can always nap later, right?

But when you always put others first, you end up leaving yourself for last. And if you do that, if you constantly neglect your needs over others’, your mental health will suffer.

People have a limited amount of energy during the day. If you’re always using up your reserves on other people, you will never have enough for yourself. And how can you try to fight your depression when you don’t have any energy left to do so?

Overcoming People-Pleasing

People-pleasing sounds good and harmless at first until you realize the toll it takes on your life. It can fuel your depression in ways you don’t expect, and it leaves you feeling drained.

Counseling can help you address your people-pleasing habits. It can help you put yourself first from time to time. It’ll take work, but it’s worth it. Schedule an appointment for depression therapy to learn more.