Generic, Somersby,

A big part of leading a life of happiness is being able to stick to your guns when you need to, and not bending over backwards just to be a people pleaser.

Now, this does NOT mean refusing to help others, being unkind, or anything of the sort – there’s nothing wrong with pleasing others. The problems happen when your concern for pleasing others comes at the expense of your own principles, your own happiness, or gets in the way of other things you need to accomplish for your own life.

The unfortunate reality is that there will always be people who try to take advantage of others (and some people who will without even realizing it), and if you allow yourself to be manipulated – sometimes by your own internal desire for acceptance – you’ll eventually be doing so many things for others, you stop paying attention to your own needs.

It’s fulfilling to help others, but can be very stressful to allow others to demand support from you. It’s all about making choices that satisfy the greatest good – helping others should not become such a burden that it impacts your ability to live a happy life.

Similarly, a pattern of “people pleasing” may prevent you from speaking out in opposition to something you disagree with – and if you’re not standing up for what you believe in, it’s going to take a toll on your self-worth. Staying close-mouthed just to avoid rocking the boat will ultimately turn into regret.

It should go without saying that upsetting people on purpose is NOT the path to personal happiness – but being prepared to navigate a situation where you can’t please everyone (and not feeling guilty about it) will go a long way in helping you keep your head held high, even when you have to be the bearer of bad news.

The best approach is to strike a balance between what’s good for you and what’s good for the people around you. Total selfishness is not the answer, obviously, but neither is letting yourself become a doormat.