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Personal Development

Ikigai: Secret Formula For Happiness And Longevity

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Is there a secret formula for longevity and happiness? The Japanese have an answer to this question, and it is called Ikigai (pronounced Ick-ee-guy). This Japanese concept can be translated as “a reason for being”. It refers to having a direction or purpose and motivation in life that makes one’s life worthwhile. In other words, it is a reason to jump out of bed each morning. According to psychological research, if you have a purpose, a motivation, and a reason for getting up in the morning, you become happier and live longer!

Let’s take a deeper look at how this works!

What Is Ikigai?

The word Ikigai consists of two words: ‘Iki’ (to live) and ‘gai’ (reason).

This philosophy originated on the island of Okinawa – home to the largest group of centenarians in the world.

Could the concept of Ikigai contribute to health and longevity?

National Geographic reporter, Dan Buettner, believes it does. According to Buettner, Okinawans have less desire to retire, as people continue to do their favorite job as long as they remain healthy.

Searching for Ikigai is a long process that requires a deep understanding of your desires and needs in all areas of your life.

Unfortunately, most people don’t even know what their purpose and greatest inspiration in life. Not having a reason to jump out of bed each morning leads to a meaningless life, depression, apathy, and even health problems. While some people feel their calling and love for their work, many spend most of their lives trying to figure out what makes them happy.

Four Primary Elements Of Ikigai

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The Ikigai concept consists of four primary elements:

  1. What you love (your passion)
  2. What the world needs (your mission)
  3. What you are good at (your vocation)
  4. What you can get paid for (your profession)

According to the Japanese idea of self-development, each of us has an Ikigai. All we need to do is just to reveal it to make life meaningful and fulfilling.

If you want to discover your Ikigai you need to ask yourself the following four questions:

  1. What do I love?
  2. What am I good at?
  3. What can I be paid for now — or something that could transform into my future hustle?
  4. What does the world need?

Element 1: Your passion

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What is that you love doing? This can be your hobbies: music, dancing, drawing, swimming, cooking gardening. Try to understand what gives you real satisfaction.

These things will motivate you and help you choose the career that suits you best.

If you make enough money, but you are bored and uninterested in the work you do, even if you are successful in it, it may be time to reconsider your preferences.

Element 2: Your mission

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What are you good at? Knowing what you love to do and understanding what you are good at are two different things. You may not like your current job, but you can do it perfectly with a high level of professionalism.

You may enjoy drawing, but your paintings won’t be worth a damn. You may be passionate about one thing, but skilled and talented at something else.

Try to find what you are good at and find out what skills you need to improve.

When you are confident in your abilities, you can build a career and make money by doing what you love. This will help you find satisfaction and feel the meaningfulness of life.

Element 3: Your vocation

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Let’s say you can cook delicious meals. It’s wonderful! However, if you do not share your skills and talents with the world, and do not do what is valuable and what others need, you will not be able to achieve your goals based only on your skills and hobbies.

If you are a good cook, you can work in a restaurant, run your own cafe, or help feed the poor.

Helping others gives us a sense of belonging, and the lack of this element can cause feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Element 4: Your profession

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Although it is important to think about three other elements, you must not forget about make enough money for living a joyful and comfortable life.

True Ikigai can be achieved when all four intersect at the center of a balanced and happy life.

For example, you can do what you love and what others need, but it may not make you money. Or Vice versa, you can choose what is well paid and what you are strong at, but you will feel empty and unrealized.

Striving for Ikigai is a challenge and requires dedication, but it will make your life happier and more meaningful.

10 Ikigai Rules

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The essence of Ikigai can also be represented in the form of 10 rules that were written by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles in their book “Ikigai The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life“:

  1. Stay active and don’t retire;
  2. Leave urgency behind and adopt a slower pace of life;
  3. Only eat until you are 80 percent full;
  4. Surround yourself with good friends;
  5. Exercise daily;
  6. Smile and acknowledge people around you;
  7. Live in harmony with nature;
  8. Be grateful for everything that makes you happy;
  9. Live in the moment;
  10. Follow your passion and listen to your heart. This will lead you to Ikigai.

Where Should I Start?

Searching for Ikigai is a process that requires time, effort, and patience. The purpose of your life will become clearer to you over time, but this does not mean that you just need to relax and wait. Here are the steps that you can take already now.

1. Ask questions

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Start with asking yourself the main questions:

  • What do you like to do most?
  • What are you good at?
  • What do others need and what can you offer them?
  • What can you be paid for?

Take your time with the answers, you need clear and detailed answers. But at the same time, it is not necessary to puzzle over questions. Write down your answers.

Trust the natural flow of thoughts. Note all your thoughts and possible answers that you come up with for a few weeks. Some of them may seem crazy and absurd to you, but you should continue to remember or better write down everything that comes to your mind. But most importantly, try to be honest with yourself.

Take into account your experience and important life moments, both personal and professional, to understand what makes you happy, what fascinates you, and what you value the most.

Once you find honest answers and are satisfied with them, try to find the intersection between the four elements. Even if you can’t do it right away, don’t worry. Over time, you will see the picture clearer.

2. Make a plan

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If you find it difficult to answer the above questions, you may want to make a list of all possible answers and draw up a diagram.

Try creating a diagram of four overlapping circles-elements to find your ikigai, and have a clearer picture.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. The main thing is to write down your thoughts and organize them.

The more thoughts and answers you have, the clearer the picture will become.

For example, start by writing what your typical day consists of, and then make a picture of what your ideal Ikigai day should look like. See what you can add or remove compared to your typical day. Perhaps some things will be a discovery for you.

As you improve your picture, you will get closer to the life of Ikigai.

3. Experiment

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Once you have created a plan and started searching for ikigai, you need to check it in action.

You will learn from experience whether you have really found Ikigai and whether it works for you. It’s not enough just to think about it, you have to live it!

If you want to experience the fullness of life, you need to constantly take some actions. Moreover, you will need to constantly adapt and make some adjustments to move on and develop.

You may need to be ok to prioritize some things more or change the direction you’re moving in. For example, if you change your job, you will need to change your habits and lifestyle, learn to multitask, and be a patient learner.

Ikigai will bring certain changes to your life so that you can create the life you want. This may cause some discomfort during the transition period, but as soon as it is over, you will realize that you have come to what you were aiming for.

4. Find support

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While you are working on your Ikigai, it is important to take care of the support you may need during the transition period.

For example, if you plan to change a job, talk to those who have already made progress in similar activities. Don’t be shy to ask such questions as:

  • What did you do to achieve your goals?
  • What difficulties did you face?
  • How long did it take you to make the changes?
  • What was the experience like?
  • What reward did you get?

When you have someone to guide and inspire you, you will be highly motivated to move forward even in the most difficult and desperate moments.

It is worth understanding that on the way to the finish line, you will have to meet certain difficulties and overcome obstacles. This is why it is important to have support that will help you on your way.

5. Follow your own path

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Finding your passion and your ikigai will be the best achievement in your life. However, this may require you to be patient, introspect, and take positive action.

Ikigai is not just about living a healthy and happy life. It’s about opening yourself up and accepting the path you’ve chosen.

It means enjoying life and understanding what really makes you happy and gives meaning to your life.

Ikigai And Longevity

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And in the end, I would like to say a few more words about Okinawa – the Japanese island where Ikigai was originated, and where an incredibly high percentage of centenarians live.

In Okinawa, people try to develop close and meaningful relationships with each other. Friends and family members support each other throughout life, and no one is left abandoned or alone.

The old take care of the young, the young take care of the old. Such connections help not only reduce stress but also provide the necessary support in everyday life, where everyone can count on the other.

In terms of nutrition, most Okinawans eat fruits, vegetables, and tofu. They almost don’t eat meat, fat, sugar, or processed foods, which protects them from cancer, heart disease, and excess weight.

Residents drink a lot of green tea, and also consume ginger, various herbs and chili peppers.

They also exercise regularly – walking, dancing, working in the garden and spending time outdoors.

Many of them do not measure quality of life by wealth and success, but rather by being at peace while living an active and meaningful life.

Scientists have found that Okinawa has the lowest death rate from age-related chronic diseases, as well as one of the highest life expectancy.

There are other places in the world where conditions are similar, but there are not as many centenarians. Perhaps the secret lies in Ikigai.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I would like to share with you one Japanese parable about the the concept of Ikigai in Japan:

In a small village outside of Osaka, a woman in a coma was dying. She suddenly had a feeling that she was taken up to heaven and stood before the Voice of her ancestors.

“Who are you?” the Voice asked her.

“I am the wife of the mayor,” she replied.

“I did not ask whose wife you are but who you are.”

“I am the mother of four children,” she replied.

“I did not ask whose mother you are, but who you are.”

“I am a school teacher,” the woman answered.

“I did not ask what your profession is but who you are.”

And so it went. No matter what she replied, she did not seem to give a satisfactory answer to the question, “Who are you?”

“I am a Shinto.”

“I did not ask what your religion is but who you are.”

“I am the one who wakes up each day to care for my family, and nurture the young minds of the children at my school,” she replied.

She passed the examination, and was sent back to earth. The next morning she woke at sunrise, feeling a deep sense of meaning and purpose. She tended to her children’s lunches, and planned fun lessons for her students that day. The woman had discovered her Ikigai.

Katya Ki is the Founder of SOLANCHA Magazine, a Metaphysical Expert, a Reiki Master, and Human Rights Attorney. She has been studying Eastern metaphysics, cosmology, and esotericism for almost 20 years now. And she's still discovering new knowledge, which is hidden in ancient teachings. During her pilgrimage to the monastery of Saint Catherine in Egypt, she discovered the SOLANCHA System. This is how the SOLANCHA journey started!

Personal Development

How To Stop Overthinking: 6 Effective Strategies

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Overthinking is a habit that if not taken under control can cause tremendous distress and suffering. When overthinking, our brain tries to convince us that all those worries and ruminations could be helpful. Many overthinkers have a firm belief that they can come up with a better solution or prevent themselves from making the same mistake if they spend more time thinking and analyzing. All these can lead to analysis paralysis which becomes a real problem. The more you think, the worse you feel. Overthinking often leads to anxiety, anger, frustration, fear, and other negative emotions that may cloud your judgment and prevent you from seeing the situation clearly. In this article, I want to share with you 6 effective tips on how to stop overthinking and take control of your mind.

What Is Overthinking?

Overthinking is basically what its name suggests – thinking too much. When you are going over the same thought, again and again, so that your brain becomes incapable of translating this thought into actions or positive outcomes. When you think about something too much or for too long, that you can’t get it out of your head and feel worried or stressed about it – this is overthinking.

Do you often worry about the future, catastrophic predictions about events that haven’t happened yet? Do you think with regret about your past, “should haves” and “could haves.” Do you fret over what others might think of you or let negative self-talk build up in your mind? These are examples of overthinking.

If you are one of those who tend to overthink an important decision, replaying all the options in your head, you may experience “paralysis by analysis”. You are so afraid of taking the wrong action, so you take no action at all.

Overthinking often leads to sleepless nights when your brain just won’t turn off, increased symptoms of depression, elevate your stress levels, and cloud your judgment. 

Common Types Of Overthinking

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Nick Wignall, a clinical psychologist, suggests four common types of overthinking:

#1: Worry

This is one of the most common types of overthinking where we imagine possible problems or dangers in the future.

“Of course, anticipating problems or threats in the future is often a good thing to do! But helpful planning is different from unhelpful worry in that worry doesn’t actually lead to new information or insights that can be helpful. For example, your spouse is on a plane flight and you start worrying about different ways the plane could crash and kill your spouse. This kind of thinking doesn’t actually keep your spouse safe, plus it adds a lot of stress and anxiety to you.” – Nick Wignall

#2: Depressive Rumination

This type of overthinking is about replaying events from the past in an unhelpful way. A depressive rumination is a specific form of overthinking our own past mistakes or failures.

“As opposed to helpful reflection, depressive rumination is unproductive and doesn’t lead to anything but shame, guilt, and sadness at oneself. Depressive rumination is one of the key drivers of not only depression but also self-criticalness and low self-esteem.” – Nick Wignall

#3: Angry Rumination

This type of overthinking is similar to depressive rumination except the object of the overthinking is other people and their mistakes rather than yourself.

“For example, after a fight with your spouse, you find yourself replaying arguments you’ve had with them in the past and going over evidence of why you were right and they were wrong. Although it often feels good in the moment, angry rumination tends to lead to aggression, resentment, and distorted beliefs about other people in our lives.” – Nick Wignall

#4: Fix-It Mode

This type of overthinking happens when someone is sharing a painful or difficult experience with you and you have a hard time tolerating the anxiety that comes from hearing it. It affects you in a way that you begin thinking about best ways to fix the problem or do things differently.

“Fix-It Mode is a form of overthinking because you’re applying problem-solving-style thinking when what would be more helpful is to simply listen empathetically and validate the person’s difficulty rather than trying to fix it (and make yourself feel better in the process).” – Nick Wignall

Of course, there are many other types of overthinking. But the four listed tend to be the most common and often produce the most suffering.

Why Do We Overthink?

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Often, the tendency to overthink roots in unhealed trauma or deep emotional issue. Here are the most common reasons why we overthink:

  • childhood trauma
  • obsessive desire to control the situation
  • intolerance of uncertainty and tendency to pretend that things are more predictable than they are
  • perfectionism (as intolerance of feeling less than perfect)
  • an excuse for procrastinating or avoiding decisions
  • you see everything as a problem to be solved with lots of thinking
  • excessive fear of conflict

Of course, there are many more reasons of overthinking. But the listed seven are some of the most common. The above causes are a good place to start if you want to stop overthinking.

How To Stop Overthinking?

Now let’s talk about how to stop overthinking. Here are six strategies that I find most effective.

#1: Identify the Emotions Behind Overthinking

First, try to identify what emotion is hiding behind your overthinking. For example, when you start overthinking by worrying about future events, it might be the case that overthinking is functioning to relieve or alleviate some anxiety you have about your future. Overthinking may temporarily distract you from your anxiety temporarily and give you the illusion of control in a short term. However, it’s not solving the problem but only makes it worse. Therefore, it’s essential to look for the emotions behind overthinking and ask yourself if there’s a better way to deal with them.

When you take time to identify your emotions and validate them, it helps you to become more productive in the long run.

#2: Challenge Negative Thoughts

Overthinking is often a response to feeling bad emotionally. But if you allow your negative thoughts to take control of your mind, you end up feeling even worse. It’s easy to get carried away with negative thoughts. The most effective way to switch the frequency of your thought patterns is to practice positive self-talk.

Next time when you start overthinking, pause for a moment and point out that your thinking is not entirely accurate. This simple technique will help you to achieve a more balanced and emotionally neutral way of thinking. With practice, you’ll learn to recognize and replace negative thinking patterns, before they work you up into complete insanity.

#3: Focus On Problem Solving

Overthinking your problems isn’t helpful – but looking for solutions is. If it’s something you have some control over, think about how you can prevent the problem or challenge yourself to identify a couple of potential solutions. If it’s something you have no control over – think about the strategies you can use to cope with it. Instead of overthinking your problems, focus on the things you can control, like your attitude and your effort.

#4: Schedule Time For Reflection

Instead of dwelling on your problems for long periods of time, try to take a brief reflection on them. Constructive reflection can help you to see more clearly how you could do things differently, recognize potential pitfalls to your plan, and perform better in the future.

For example, you could schedule 10 minutes of “thinking time”. During that time period let yourself think, analyze, or mull over whatever you want. But when your time is up, move onto something else. And when you start overthinking things outside of your scheduled thinking time, simply remind yourself that you’ll need to wait until your next “thinking time” session to address those issues in your mind.

You can’t simply make yourself stop worrying. But this simple strategy will train your mind to do it at the right time.

#5: Change Your Activity

If you can’t make yourself stop thinking about something, try to change your activity. Things like exercising, engaging in conversation on a completely different subject, or working on a project can help you to switch the focus of your attention and stop overthinking. Doing something different will put an end to the negative internal dialogue.

#6: Practice Mindfulness

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The mindfulness practice will help you to train yourself to be aware of things without thinking about them. By practicing mindfulness we become able to notice when negative thought patterns arise and shift our attention out of thinking mode and into awareness mode.

You can start practicing mindfulness by simply paying attention to the experience of every activity during daily life rather than thinking about it. Or, you can practice mindfulness meditation. For doing it, simply sit down, close your eyes, and focus on your breath for 20 minutes.

The Bottom Line

Overthinking takes a lot of energy. It takes away your inner peace and harmony. But the good news is that overthinking is a habit and habits can be broken with the right approach and enough patience. If you want to stop overthinking, the key is to understand why you do it and then implement the strategies to eliminate it.

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Personal Development

7 Tools For Introspection To Boost Self-Awareness

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How well do you know yourself? When faced with a challenge, where do you find the insight to move your life forward? How do you keep yourself from making the same mistakes again and again? Introspection and self-reflection can help you to understand yourself better by examining your inner feelings. When turning inward, you can find a way to restore the lost relationship with your inner self, heal your inner child, and find the root cause of your problems. In this article, I want to share with you 7 tools for introspection and self-reflection that will help you to understand yourself better.

3 Components of Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is one of the most important psychological traits you can develop. It helps you to manage your emotions, understand your emotional blocks, the root causes of your trauma, and the particular patterns in your behavior and reactions that may affect your life and relationships with others in a negative way.

Self-awareness is our ability to observe and accurately identify our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. There are 3 components of self-awareness that should be used to change your life for the better:

#1: Introspection

Introspection means “looking into” and refers to the process of self-observation and examining your own thoughts, feelings, desires, and emotions. It gives you direct access to your own internal psychological processes, judgments, and perceptions.

#2: Self-reflection

Self-reflection refers to the process of examination, contemplation, and analysis of your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions.

#3: Insight

Insight is the result of introspection and self-reflection. It refers to the clear and often sudden discernment of a solution to a problem.

Now let’s talk about the tools for introspection and self-reflection that you can use to understand yourself better.

7 Tools For Introspection And Self-Reflection

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Let’s dive into the art of understanding who you are by exploring different introspection tools!

#1: Ask Self-Reflection Questions

Asking yourself questions is a good way of finding your personal truth. Take this practice to the next level by writing down your answers and then reading them to yourself.

Here are some questions you might like to ask yourself:

  • Who am I?
  • What do I feel?
  • What is my predominant emotion now?
  • What do I want in life?
  • What does happiness mean to me?
  • What is the meaning of life?
  • What is my true purpose?
  • What would truly fulfill me?
  • What role do I play in relationships with my friends/colleagues?
  • What do I want my romantic relationship to be like?

These are just a few examples of the questions you might want to ask yourself. Feel free to create and ask your own self-reflection questions.

#2: Journalling

By keeping a journal, you are adding a ritual to your life. You’re giving yourself permission to spend time alone with your thoughts.

Writing down your thoughts, feeling, and emotions can be a powerful tool for understanding yourself better. Moreover, keeping a journal will help you to organize your thoughts, see life events from a different angle, and process your thoughts, actions, and situations on a deeper level. When you give yourself space to work through these things, you begin to notice patterns and belief systems you carry that need worked through.

#3: Oracle Cards

Our rational brain speaks in form of words and verbal descriptions, whereas the unconscious speaks the language of images, symbols, and archetypes. Because oracle cards are usually image-based, they are one of the most powerful ways of connecting with the wisdom buried deep within us.

When using an oracle deck, we are connecting to our unconscious minds which are a bridge to the Universal Consciousness. Communication with the images on the oracle cards triggers deep instinctive and timeless knowledge within us and invites it to rise to the surface.

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How to work with Oracle cards?
  1. Pick a deck that resonates with you the most and that you feel you can trust.
  2. Consider creating a section in your introspection journal that is dedicated specifically to your oracle introspective work.
  3. Think of some questions or topics you would like to explore (for example, “What is holding me back that I don’t want to face?” or “What is my major blind spot right now?”.
  4. Pull a card (one or multiple).
  5. Write down the cards you pulled and your reflections. 
  6. Read the description of the cards and try to sense if there anything uncomfortable in you that has been triggered and what emotions you’re feeling regarding what you have just read. Write down all your feelings and sensations.

#4: Alone Time

Alone time is crucial for your self-reflection! Being alone allows us to drop our “social mask,” thus giving us the freedom to be introspective, to think for ourselves. Use this time to think and meditate. You can use walking meditation for asking yourself self-reflection questions. I find it easier to find the answers when I’m on a walk. Sometimes I even feel how my self-awareness increases with each step.

#5: Meditation

When meditating, pay attention to the sensations of the present moment – feelings of warmth and coolness, hardness and softness, pressure, and lightness. What parts of your body touch the ground? How does the shape of the body change with each breath? How does your experience change over time? Developing awareness of the present moment will help you see your feelings, emotions, and blocks more clearly. Regular meditation practice will make you more introspective and mindful.

#6: Take a Personality Quiz

Taking a personality quiz is the most popular tool that many people use on the path to a more self-aware life. It is designed to reveal aspects of your personality that are often hidden. Usually, a personality quiz is designed in a form of a multiple-choice questionnaire that you need to fill out. When you’ve completed the quiz you’ll get a description of your personality and its hidden aspects. Reading and analyzing the description can be very helpful in analyzing yourself and the patterns of your behavior.

#7: Numerology

Numerology is one of my favorite tools that helps you not only understand your personality but also your karmic lessons, the spiritual reasons for your life problems, and so much more! To find out more about how to use this amazing tool check out my articles:

Your Destiny Number Holds The Solution To Your Karmic Problems

Discover Your Soul Number And Its Impact On Your Destiny

Everyone Should Know Their Kua Number! Here Is Why

Name Numerology: What Planets Influence Your Life?

Conclusion

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Whether you’re trying to understand your current feeling and emotions or to find the best solution to your personal problems, the above tools for introspection will help you to see a deeper level of your subconscious mind. Remember to be gentle with yourself. Don’t judge or criticize yourself no matter what your introspection reveals. Remember that your emotions are just messengers from your unconscious but they don’t define who you are.

Here, we are all learning to accept ourselves in different emotional forms and to love ourselves unconditionally. So let your introspection journey be filled with the joy of discovering your authentic nature and courage to reveal your true self to this world.

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Personal Development

11 Signs Of a People Pleaser & How To Stop Being One

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People-pleasing might not look like something bad. What’s wrong with being nice to others, trying to help them out, and make them happy? However, people-pleasing goes beyond simply being nice and kind to others. It involves editing your behavior for the sake of other people’s feelings or reactions. In this article, I will share with you what people-pleasing is, how you can identify a people pleaser, how this affects your life, and what you can do about it. Read on.

What Is a People Pleaser?

A people pleaser is a term used for describing a person who pleases others just for the sake of keeping them as a friend or making them happy.

People-pleasing is a strategy for coping with the lack of security in a relationship. A people pleaser’s goal is to keep anyone from knowing just how bad and insecure they feel about themselves and they will strive for this goal at any cost. They hope that saying “yes” to everything asked of them will help them feel accepted and liked.

In an intimate relationship, a people pleaser frequently paints illusions that depict what they believe their partner wants to see in them and never show their true face of who and what they really are.

11 Signs of a People Pleaser

Now, how can you tell if you are a people pleaser? Here are 11 telltale signs that you can be one.

#1: You need others to like you

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Do you often catch yourself worrying about rejection? Do you have a strong desire of being needed? Do you believe that when people need you, there is a better chance of receiving affection from them? Are these worries, desires, and beliefs often lead to specific actions designed to keep people happy with you so they don’t reject you?

If you anwered “yes” to at least one of these questions, that could be a sign that you are a people pleaser.

#2: Sometimes you feel like you’re being taken advantage of

For some people it’s easy to recognize and take advantage of a people pleaser. They know you will agree to whatever they ask, so they will keep on asking. And you keep saying yes, because you are afraid of being rejected and want to keep them happy.

#3: You’d rather do something you don’t want to than say “no”

Do you feel uncomfortable of saying “no” even if you’re asked for something you don’t want to do? Do you sometimes fake an illness (or being busy with work) to get out your commitments? That could be a sign of a people pleaser?

You might worry that telling someone “no” will make them think you don’t care about themFor you, it seems like a safer option to just agree to do whatever they want, even if you don’t actually have the time or desire to help.

#4: You apologize often

People pleasers tend to apologize often, even when it’s not necessary or when it’s not even their fault. Sometimes it may seem like they apologize for being themselves. You should be aware that frequent apologies can be a sign of a bigger problem. 

#5: You feel exhausted and stressed

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Do you feel like you don’t have enough focus or/and energy to complete a task, reach your goals, or lead your project to success? Is your own life disorganized? Are you often late? Do you have a feeling of being barely held together? This could be a sign that you’re a people pleaser. A lack of boundaries eventually leads to burnout, exhaustion, and stress.

#6: You can’t stand being criticized

Even a small criticism can seriously upset you, shake your self-esteem, and even turn you against the person who said it. When your self-esteem depends on other people’s opinion of you, you can never feel secure and relaxed. You are in constant need of proving your worth by pleasing others. And criticism is a sign that your technique isn’t working. That’s why you feel so upset when others criticize you.

#7: You need praise to feel valuable

A people pleaser depends on validation. If your self-worth depends on what others think about you, you’ll only feel good when others shower you with compliments. Also, if you do something for people, you always expect something in return – gratitude, a good opinion of you, nice words about you, appreciation, etc. Usually, deep inside you know exactly how you want a person to react and what to say in gratitude to your action. However, such expectations often fail.

#8: You pretend to agree with everyone

Agreeability seems like the quickest way to win approval. However, if you pretend to agree with someone/something just to keep everyone happy, you’re setting yourself and others up for future frustration.

#9: You suffer if someone is angry at you

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When someone is angry at us, it’s usually pretty uncomfortable for most of us. However, a people pleaser takes this uncomfortable feeling to the next level. Knowing that someone is angry at you feels so bad that you’ll be more likely to compromise your values just to overcome this situation.

#10: You often feel frustrated and resentful

You spend the majority of your time doing things for others. The people you help might appreciate your sacrifices. But they may also not realize that you’re making sacrifices for them.

In either case, being conditionally nice expecting people to treat you a certain way, can eventually cause frustration and resentment. This often turns into passive-aggressive behavior. Such behavior can confuse or even upset people who genuinely don’t understand what’s happening with you.

#11: You’re a giver with a goal of being liked

Being a people pleaser usually means you are a giver. You like giving to others whatever you can – your time, attention, compliments, support, help, gifts, money, etc. Making sacrifices for others might feed your self-esteem and make you feel more worthy of being liked by others. However, such a tendency can also lead to a sense of martyrdom.

Why Being Too Nice Can Be Dangerous

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Being a people pleaser is an everyday struggle when you’re constantly under big pressure. Though it might feel good and very satisfying to be recognized as a nice person, it puts you under extreme pressure to keep up with the self-image of a saint. Therefore, most people pleasers struggle with stress all the time.

When you’re a people pleaser no one really knows the authentic you – they only know the image that you present them with. This often makes you feel lonely, “invisible”, and “unseen,” even if you are constantly in the spotlight.

Being a people pleaser, you may not be conscious of suppressing some of your negative emotions, but eventually, you will have to face the consequences. You can’t sacrifice yourself to other people’s needs, deny yourself, and expect to feel fine in the longterm. Suppression of emotions eventually results in physical or psychological breakdowns. Many chronic mental and physical illnesses are caused by the desire to please others.

It’s very important to come to the realization that people-pleasing is a self-destructive pattern. At first, it might come across as a selfless act. However, people-pleasing is actually a selfish act because you’re trying to control someone else’s reaction towards you by behaving in a certain way.

As a rule, people-pleasing is based more on the desire to be in control than it is to please other people. The desire to be liked by others is just a symptom of the desire to be in control because deep down you feel powerless or worthless.

How To Stop Being a People Pleaser?

#1: Learn to say “no”

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You don’t have to say “yes” all the time. Realize that you have a choice to say “no” anytime you feel uncomfortable doing something. By learning to say “no” when you feel like it, you will not look like you don’t care but it will show people that you are being authentic and truthful with them.

#2: Set clear boundaries

Ask yourself what you’re willing to do, and don’t go beyond these limits. Always let people know when they’re stepping over your boundaries. Be clear and polite. Don’t feel bad about telling people that they can’t just pop over when they want to or borrow your things without asking or call you in the middle of the night.

#3: Take your time to analyze the situation before agreeing into something

When someone asks you for a favor, it’s perfectly fine to say that you will need some time to think about it. This gives you the opportunity to analyze the situation and decide if you can commit to helping them. Don’t hesitate to ask the details about the commitment for clarifying what exactly is needed from you.

When analyzing the situation, ask yourself:

  • How stressful is this going to be?
  • Do I have the time and desire to do this?
  • What am I going to give up/sacrifice for committing to this task?
  • How pressured or stressed am I going to feel?

If the person needs an answer right away, it’s best to say “no”. Rushing yourself into “yes” may get you stuck in a situation that is too stressful for you to handle.

#4: Set a time limit

If you do agree to help someone out, it’s essential to limit your time frame when you’re available for this person. For example, you can tell them that you are only available from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. If they really need your help they will make it work. But do not sacrifice your plans for other people’s needs, especially if they don’t respect your time and boundaries.

#5: Don’t give unnecessary excuses

Being a people pleaser created a habit in you to always defend your decision to say no to someone so they understand your reasoning. But this actually backfires. As soon as you start explaining, you give the other person a perfect opportunity to come back and give you options to whether to do it later or ask to adjust your schedule, or something else. And at the end of the day, you will end up still doing what they want.

#6: Don’t apologize if it’s not your fault

Pay attention to when you’re apologizing and consider if your apology is really necessary and you’re really at fault. Ask yourself if you’re really responsible for the situation. If the answer is “no”, you don’t need to apologize just to make people comfortable.

#7: Use positive self-talk

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Use positive self-talk to remind yourself of your priorities and boundaries. For example, you might say “I can do this,” “I have the right to make decisions and do the things the way I want them to be done,” “My decision is right for me”, “My values are more important than saying yes in this situation”, etc.

Conclusion

A people-pleasing is a daily struggle that crashes your spirit constantly. This destructive pattern leads to intense anxiety, chronic pain, and tons of repressed emotions. In order to solve this problem, you need to shift your focal point from the outside to the inside world. Be gentle to yourself. Remember that to be loved is your birthright. You don’t have to sacrifice yourself for being liked or appreciated. Eventually, your authentic self will blossom in its divine beauty and your light will be enough for people wanting to be around you.

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