People-Pleasing, Perfectionism, and Burnout

People-pleasing is a learned response to feeling unsafe or insecure in relationships. It is placing everyone else’s needs over your own by making sure that everyone you interact with is happy and trying to fix solve their problems for them.  People-pleasing results in being dependent on others’ happiness and approval. In essence, you are trading away your power and your will in exchange for their love and approval. You strongly believe that love will conquer all, but you don’t acknowledge the damage that sacrificing your needs causes.

Perfectionism is a defense mechanism used to avoid the shame of judgment and rejection. It is the effort of trying to earn acceptance and love by perfectly meeting extremely high expectations (your own or others’). It is correlated with depression, anxiety, and lack of self-identity.  It is self-destructive.

Burnout is overwhelming emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion that is the end result of unhealthy boundaries, of not knowing how or when to say “no”, or putting other’s needs over your own, having been taught to sacrifice yourself to save others, not being appreciated or seen for what you contribute, and a lack of work/life balance. It looks like: doing the work of two people, not leaving work on time, working after hours, evenings, and weekends, never taking vacation time, overcommitting to projects. It feels like: anxiety – heart racing, shaking, tight chest; irritability – uncharacteristically dark sarcasm or outright outbursts of anger; Depression – feeling hopeless, stuck, and unable to engage in activities you once enjoyed; overeating or not eating at all; a deep sense of dread; crying before, during, and after work; IBS and other gastrointestinal issues; inability to engage with work tasks.

Learning to put yourself first requires that you love and care for yourself in a deep and sincere manner. It requires that you learn fierce self-compassion skills, and how to set, communicate, and enforce boundaries of time, task, and topics. You also have to re-acquaint yourself with your own will – your wants and needs – and learn to speak them out loud. This healing process looks different for everyone, and we’ll work together to find what works best for you in learning to love yourself enough to give yourself the time and space you need to flourish in your own life.