Why do we on some occasion, if not always, feel this way? It is because we don't want to do it, but feel we have to. Why do we feel we have to? Sometimes it may just be a simple case of Noblesse Oblige. At other times we want to make someone feel pleased, we are afraid to say "No"! If we do, we are likely to face censure, and social censure is one of the most powerful tools of control. In Indian society especially, we see the "log kya kahenge" mentality playing itself out. So we are in a quandary. Do we do what pleases us, or do we do as society dictates?
Individuality counts for a lot. Some persons are likely to tell society to go to hell; and do what they damn well please. Such individuals will not bend backwards for others.
People pleasers are persons who find it hard to say "No"! They probably have issues of acceptance and have a high need for approval - they fear rejection. They will do whatever is possible to accommodate others. More likely is covert activity that may be frowned upon by society at large - activity that is legally not wrong, but which is not socially accepted - among this category. They often come across as spineless, as doormats.
It is hard to differentiate between "nice" persons and people pleasers. "Nice" persons may set boundaries for themselves, within which they may be obliging, especially when it comes to close friends and loved ones. But they can also express their true feelings to persons close to them. People pleasers shy away from doing this, or from showing negativity in the form of anger or any other disagreement. Consequently, a lot of people who fall in this category suffer from low self-esteem and feelings of inferiority.
So what do you do if you are a people pleaser? You have to turn inwards, be strong and only you can do that. Maybe you need the help of a sympathetic friend or relative, in extreme cases a psychotherapist or a support group might help. Some may turn to spiritual leaders. Whatever helps you is fine. But people pleasers have got to stop being people pleasers for they are depriving themselves of the joy of doing what they want, the satisfaction of assertion, the right to lead their lives on their terms.
Ultimately only the individual people pleaser can bring about a change in his or her overt or covert behaviour, using as a crutch whatever form of social or personal support he or she may need.