Looking Ahead With Lauren: What’s Your Love Style?

people-pleasingWe all love someone, yet we love in different ways. Even the most miserable or hurtful people deep down have love for others. In the words of one of my favorite movies, “The Last Kiss”, “Every a**hole in the world loves someone, it is what you do to the people you say you love that matters. That’s all that matters”. So do you know how you love or your love style?

I am very sensitive to others and one of my favorite things to do is to show people I care about them. I love surprising others with gifts or kind words. I always want to “fix” everything. For example, a few weeks ago at my job at a chiropractor’s office, a young adult came in who was in extreme pain and crying. I felt so bad for her and wanted to help her feel better and almost teared up. I kept thinking about her throughout the day, hoping she was feeling better. That was someone I barely know!

So I found a quiz online, “What’s Your Love Style?”. The options are: an Avoider (someone who avoids conflict and is happy when they have their own space and are left alone), a Pleaser (someone who wants to please everyone and keep the peace), a Vacillator (someone who picks a fight with others and are very sensitive to other’s comments), a Controller (someone who had to grow up and get tough and needs to be in control of all situations), or a Victim (someone who has gone through a lot in life and just wants to get through the rest of life without conflicts).

Can you guess which one I was? You guessed it… a Pleaser. Here’s what the quiz results told me:

“Pleasers usually grow up in a home with an overly protective or angry critical parent. Pleaser children do everything they can to “be good” and avoid troubling their reactive parent. These kids don’t get comfort: rather, they spend their energy comforting or appeasing their troublesome parent. As adults, Pleasers tend to continually monitor the moods of others around them to keep everyone happy. Eventually, they can become resentful and break down or leave the relationship.

How can I grow?

Pleasers are given to anxiety. Due to growing up trying to keep a demanding or over-protective parent satisfied, you learned to continually monitor other’s moods in order to predict their needs. While taking care of everyone is well-intentioned, it’s likely that you neglect your own needs in the process, which can eventually lead to break-down.

Notice your daily level of anxiety and be aware of its physical effect on your body. Stress can manifest in a variety of ways such as stomach cramps, tense muscles, and headaches.

Observe the many ways you “leave yourself” by minimizing your needs, giving in to others, deferring decisions, and tolerating disrespect. Rejection isn’t deadly and anger is a necessary emotion.

Notice when your helping is really “rescuing,” and work on your own fears, insecurities, and co-dependence issues.

Acknowledge that much of your “giving” serves to reduce your anxiety and gain acceptance and is not always in other’s best interest.

Learn to be comfortable alone without interpreting other’s need for space as a sign of rejection.

Learn to have boundaries, say “No,” and express frustration directly rather than indirectly.

Give thought to how you feel, what you want, and what you need and learn to say this out loud in a concise manner. Taking care of yourself will help reduce your anxiety.”

Take the quiz here or learn more about love styles.

I thought this was very interesting. I love learning new things about myself and ways that I can grow. While I know I will probably always be sensitive, hate any conflict and love showering friends and family with love, I know that I can work harder on saying “no”, not feeling like I need to please everyone all the time and be happy even when someone may be upset with me.

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  1. Lauren: thanks for sharing! Like you, I am also a pleaser. This is a ‘keeper’ article for me.

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