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The People-Pleasing Pitfall: How Over-Accommodation Can Lead to Depression

Would you consider yourself a people-pleaser? Do you tend to go out of your way to make sure everyone around you is happy? Or, maybe you put the needs of others before your own, no matter the cost. 

While there’s nothing wrong with helping others out and doing nice things for the people in your circle, people-pleasing can quickly become a problem. It can cause you to ignore your needs and eventually burn out, leading to stress, exhaustion, and even depression. 

Let’s take a closer look at the pitfalls of over-accommodation, and what you can do to to put a stop to it. 

The Need to Be Accepted

One of the biggest reasons why some people tend to overly accommodate others is the strong desire to fit in and be accepted. While everyone might want acceptance, some people need and thrive on it. 

That need might stem from something like childhood neglect or unhealthy relationships. It’s also more common for people with low self-esteem or a lack of confidence. When you do something for others, even if it costs you something, you’re more likely to receive praise and acceptance. That can make you feel like you have a sense of purpose. It provides a temporary boost to your confidence. 

Unfortunately, that boost doesn’t necessarily last long, requiring you to keep people-pleasing in order to feel a sense of worth. 

older teens sitting at a desk looking at a laptopOverlooking Your Needs

When you put the needs of others above your own, your risk of depression increases. Self-care is important for everyone. Without it, you’re likely to experience more stress. You might even struggle to find meaning in your life. 

If you spend too long doing things for others and not yourself, you’re likely to ignore the things you enjoy. You’re not going to take the time for yourself that you need or deserve. Not doing enough of the things you love can leave you feeling sad, hopeless, and lost. 

The Feeling of Burnout

Finally, overly accommodating other people can leave you feeling physically and emotionally exhausted. When you get a reputation for being a people-pleaser, it’s not uncommon for people to take advantage of that. Because you might have a hard time saying no, you’re likely to become overwhelmed by the things you “have” to do for others on a regular basis. 

That can lead to more than just fatigue. You can burn out quickly. Not only can that cause depression, but it can affect your physical health, too, weakening your immune system and making you more susceptible to illnesses. 

What Can You Do? 

Again, there’s nothing wrong with helping people out when they need it. But, what can you do when people-pleasing is starting to take a toll on your mental health?

The first step is recognizing that over-accommodation is a problem. Putting your needs last in your life isn’t healthy and puts you at a greater risk of depression. Even if you want to be accepted or you have a fear of rejection, it’s important to realize that people-pleasing isn’t the answer. 

Second, start doing more of the things you love. Practice self-care on a daily basis. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. Go for a long walk. Visit a cafe you enjoy. Order your favorite treat. Spend time with friends and loved ones because you want to and because they enjoy your company, not because they want something from you. 

Finally, don’t be afraid to talk to a mental health professional. Being a people-pleaser can indicate something deeper going on beneath the surface. Working that out with a therapist can make it easier to start focusing on yourself and your well-being. 

Reach out to learn more about anxiety therapy and how we can help you set boundaries with yourself and other people.