I recently discovered Katharine DiCerbo, who writes and teaches about what she calls “the connection crafts” – ways to create and nurture emotional connections in everyday life. Katharine recently posted a blog piece for “people pleasers” that I thought was really insightful.
Essentially, her message is that if you're someone who tries hard to please people, and find yourself feeling burned out and taken advantage of, the answer is not (as you've likely been told) just to get better at saying no to people's requests. In fact, saying "no" can be really uncomfortable because it can feel like withholding kindness and generosity, which are some of the best parts of you. Withholding your gifts is not the answer, because it won't make you happy. And if it doesn't make you happy, it is not going to be sustainable.
Instead, the challenge is to let other people give to you more. Let them know what you like, what you need, who you are -- so that they can experience the same joy in pleasing you as you experience pleasing them.
Far from being a burden to them, this sharing of yourself is a gift. It helps other people recognize that they have something of value to offer you. It also helps you remember that you are not an island, and that you deserve to be loved and cared for just as much as anyone else.
If any of this resonates for you, I strongly encourage you to read all of Katharine's blog post, A Powerful Way to Make People Pleasing Work For You, Not Against You.