"For years I was a "yes" person. I did everything for everyone, even when it made me unhappy. What I craved is what no one could give me: unconditional love and approval. I finally freed myself." The desire to please other people is a way to distract yourself from what you are feeling. Your focus is on other people [external] and what they are experiencing. You ignore your own [internal] experiences, making you feel anxious and fearful. The impulse to please people is a powerful dynamic that is generated by a fear of loss. You think you cannot live without that which you fear losing, and so the need to gain the approval, admiration, caring and love of other people is intense.
Perfectionism is the common cause of low self-esteem. You are critical of your efforts and you convince yourself that it/you will never "be enough." You have a tendency to have expectations about yourself, others, and life that are unrealistically high. When people fall short, you become disappointed and/or critical. You also tend to be over concerned with small flaws and mistakes in yourself and your accomplishments. In focusing on what's wrong, you tend to discount and ignore what's right. A perfectionist constantly hears "should," "have to" and "must" which eventually causes anxiety and feelings of never good enough.