I am guilty of falling into this trap personally. I remember how miserable it can make a person feel. Giving all of your efforts, to make someone else happy Isn’t Worth It! Yes, I said it out loud. It may come across as selfish but the phenomena behind trying to make everyone happy negates all the self-care principles.

Stop Trying to Make Everyone Happy! – Here’s Why & How

I am guilty of falling into this trap personally. I remember how miserable it can make a person feel. Giving all of your efforts, to make someone else happy Isn’t Worth It! Yes, I said it out loud. It may come across as selfish but the phenomena behind trying to make everyone happy negates all the self-care principles.

Stop making others happy

And if you have been following my articles, you would know that self-care should be the very first of your priorities if you want to have a healthy mental space for everything else in your life.

It is a common phenomenon in social psychology when people stop focusing on their own needs and give most of their efforts to making other people happy and trying to be a people pleaser to seek acceptance and validation.

The Psychology Behind Trying To Make Everyone Happy

If you think about this statement, you will probably realize that it is much deeper rooted than you can see. From our childhood, we have been programmed to behave a certain way to keep our parents happy. Then we are taught to make compromises to keep our family, friends, and life partner happy.

The ones who choose otherwise are tagged as selfish and arrogant. And nobody wishes to be known as the latter. This is one of the most important topics in psychology. Human Beings are social animals. They do things to be socially accepted. Being able to maintain a healthy social life is actually one of the most important parts of self-care.

But the strategy to make others happy often backfires. When you prioritize or help people to make their life easier, you also expect them to be there for you when you need it. Even if you don’t say it, but the thought is always there. The fear of rejection is always there. This thought exists because throughout our lifetime, we learn and practice that the best way to love is to give love and if we aren’t receiving love then we have a problem.

Why Trying To Make People Happy Is Bad For Yourself

Most mutual relationships are based on the fact that you have to make the other person happy to receive happiness. It may be through kind gestures, support, acts of love, or special treatments. And this concept applies to every kind of relationship – intimate, cordial, or formal relationships.

Trying to make others happy may seem like an altruistic behavior, but in fact, it is a way to get external validation and acceptance. You may feel that it’s one of your strong points and makes you peoples-favorite.

I would like to mention here that this would be called people-pleasing and as a consequence, you may become a favorite (that too sometimes) because you do as you are asked to do. Your people front may be strong but you know it too that there is a void inside you too that you are trying to fill by trying to make others happy.

Where Things Go Wrong With People-Pleasing

Things tend to go south when you start feeling that you are giving more than what you are receiving. There is a very fine line between prosocial or altruistic behavior that adds value to your relationship and the ones that make you feel exhausted.

The theory of love reciprocity becomes the very basis of our life and it gels so well with our behavior that some people feel stuck as they can’t figure out what they are doing wrong. They base their entire self-worth on making others happy. Whereas, it’s impossible to make people happy all the time. Therefore they are bound to fail.

Another thing that adds to this statement is – people’s expectations. When you are constantly putting others first, people build up this expectation that you will prioritize them no matter what. This negates your right of choosing who and what you need to prioritize. Consequentially, it develops a sense of being pressurized to act a certain way to make others happy.

How “Always Trying To Make Others Happy” Affects Your Mental Health

I support the fact that our life’s social aspects are a matter of giving and take. However, it requires balance. Limiting or altering your actions to make others happy is obviously going to affect your mental space. Because it suppresses your natural reactions, feelings, and actions. Over time, it will begin to disturb your self-esteem and hinder your relationship.

You will feel trapped and controlled in that relationship. And for the people you were willing to do everything will become the ones who you don’t like anymore. You feel pressed by them and eventually, you will distance yourself from them mentally or physically.

Although you might not see it at first, the journey from being a person who wanted to make everyone happy to the person who feels pushed can become traumatizing and miserable. You may have anger outbursts, dumped self-esteem, low self-worth, or emotional breakdown trying to figure out what really went wrong. You may even question your ways of life.

What You Need To Do Instead

The change will not happen overnight. It takes time to change your natural instincts and behavior. So, the very first step will be to accept that it’s not your job to make others happy. Rather than focusing on others, focus on yourself first. Because an unhappy person can never make others happy.

self-care quote

A person who is confident in their own skin is the person people like to be with anyway. Therefore, there is no point in doing so much for people where you have a low probability of even receiving back half of what you gave.

There are a few things that you can do to make this shift a little easier:

1. Make peace with your flaws – don’t shame yourself:

One of the biggest reasons people fall into the trap of people-pleasing is to overcome their own insecurities and soothe them via external validations. The process of making peace with your flaws is a giant step towards reality and self-care. It will shift the power in your hands rather than keeping your happiness dependant on others.

2. Take care of yourself as you would for others:

There is no one to take care of you other than yourself. You have to start keeping your own mental and physical health first in every single matter of your life. Love yourself like you would love someone and be there for yourself like you would for others.

3. Build your boundaries:

If there is one piece of advice that you will take from here, let it be this one. Creating your boundaries is not only good for your current issues but it will keep you protected from future ones as well. It lets people know where you draw the line and what is acceptable to you. Work on your boundaries and impose them firmly.

4. Don’t yes to everyone – Pick who really matters:

Treat your help as “valuable” and not something that might be accessible to and everyone around you. Remember that you are only responsible for what happens in your life and not for making others happy. Pick carefully whom you want to help and why you want to do it.

5. Be conscious about your intentions:

Unconsciously, you may bend towards helping others to please them and or make them happy. But from now on you have to focus on your intentions. Whenever you feel that you are only helping to please a person, you have to step back because that should never be your intention.

6. Accept the difference – people are different:

Don’t get your hopes up. Because every single individual is different at a multitude of levels. What might be gold for you, maybe scrap for others. Therefore, accept the fact that you may not be treated like you think you should be. Another thing that will come in here handy is boundaries.

7. You are your own validation:

Work on your self-esteem and be the person you want to be. Trying to make others happy is like a rabbit hole of misery. You will not thrive by doing so. For your own sake, do not depend on what others have to say about you. Your validation should come from within and not from people who hardly even know.

Take Away

Trying to make others happy is nothing horrible. It gets twisted when you try to do it all the time and fail to get an equal response. It is natural to expect something when you do a favor. And there is nothing much you can do about it. Except being completely altruistic. And reality check – You can’t be 24/7.

A give and take are normal in relationships. However, the line should be drawn whenever you feel misused and exploited. Nobody is going to value you if you can’t value yourself. Because people learn how to treat you by seeing how you treat yourself.

Take some time and give a thought to why you want to make others happy and why does it hurt when you don’t receive a similar response. Dig deep into your soul and learn about yourself. That is going to help you come up with a plan to redeem your self-esteem and your true worthy self.

You can always reach out to me via the social handles mentioned below if you need any help. 


This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used in place of professional advice, medical treatment, or professional care in any way. This article is not intended to be and should not be a substitute for professional care, advice, or treatment. Please consult with your physician or healthcare provider before changing any health regimen. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent diseases of any kind. Read our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

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