One of the most renowned Greek philosophers, Aristotle, believed that we human beings are social animals. People need to cooperate and work hand in hand for us to progress in life.
Social interaction is so important because it can satisfy our need for belongingness, affection, and many other aspects of our lives. Having a good circle of friends at work, at home, or any other social network are the perfect examples of what social interaction could give us – our support groups where we can relate to one another. With that, we can say that, indeed, no man is an island.
However, some people rely heavily on other people and think that they need to please everyone in their circle to be accepted. Hence, they lose their sense of self by trying to please everyone.
For example, when you try to please your partner in a romantic relationship, you tend to give in to your partner’s requests because you don’t want them to be disappointed in you. At work, you try to impress your boss and co-workers by not refusing their requests.
Aside from acceptance and fear of rejection, we primarily give in to other people’s requests out of feelings of “hiya (shame)” and “utang na loob (debt of gratitude).”
“YES” and “NO” also has something to do with this. We associate “NO” as something negative while “YES” as something positive. We don’t want to disappoint others who are making requests to us by saying “NO.”
So what are we going to do?
Value yourself more. Yes, we don’t want rejection, and we don’t want to disappoint others by saying “NO,” but also, we fail to realize that by constantly trying to please everyone, we are rejecting ourselves.
Know and be honest with your emotions. Sometimes, we tend to keep our feelings to ourselves – we don’t want others to see our dissatisfaction because we want to please them by faking our reactions.
Be assertive. Being assertive means being confident with yourself, including sharing your opinions and making decisions for yourself and even for a group without being aggressive. It would be best if you speak up for yourself and share what you have in mind.
It is okay to please others and give in to their requests as long as it will not cause you any harm or compromise yourself and your values. Because when you start to devalue your own opinion and decisions in life to please everyone, the problem will begin to arise.
Please note that trying to please other people is not bad, especially for us Filipinos, because we are collectivists and tend to understand ourselves as part of a group. It is part of our culture.
However, being a nice person doesn’t mean that you always have to please everyone at all times. Always remember that the very person that you need to please next to God is YOU.
Don’t say “YES” if you have to be saying “NO.”