The word people-pleaser is thrown around a lot these days but I am unsure if we all understand the severity of it. To move to the topic of how to focus on yourself, I think it's important to address this first as it's the people pleasers who need it the most.
People-pleasing is not just about being too nice and apologizing more than you should. It's a behavior, one that I have been through and made out of. People pleasing is about prioritizing what others might need at the expense or ignorance of your own.
It can be as simple as not ordering what you want on the menu because the other person might want something else and as serious as not uttering a word even when you're in a lot of pain just so you don't inconvenience someone else.
When we look at this from an outsider's perspective, it sounds silly, doesn't it? And so unnecessary. But for a people pleaser, this is how they make their decisions. We are so worried about being a problem to someone else that we don't even worry about how we've become a problem for our own selves.
Truth is, people respect people who respect themselves. People pleasers don't really respect what they want. It's a lose-lose because we never even achieve what we set out to do. It is when we focus on ourselves as well as others, there is true balance and enjoyment.
Give yourself a break. It's not on you all the time. You don't have to accommodate everyone and make sure that they are all comfortable. It's not your job. You don't have to overcompensate. We can all be there for each other, not just you for everyone else.
Sadly, people-pleasing also makes us an easy target for people who will take advantage of us. The people on the opposite end who excel at exploitation. So, it's really important that we learn to respect and focus on ourselves, our boundaries, and what we want.
Now, let's learn the different ways that we can focus on ourselves and live happier, freer lives:
How to Focus On Yourself
- Understand what it means to focus on yourself
- Journal to understand and reflect
- Start letting go of unnecessary burden
- Take care of your health
- You're not under force to accept
- Do things that you enjoy
- Consider taking therapy for long-term healing
1. Understand what it means to focus on yourself
Let's get this clear: If you related with anything that I said above, you are not a selfish or rude person. If you give yourself the space that you so readily give to others, you will be a million times better off, truly.
Focusing on yourself is about respecting your choices, your decisions, and your feelings just like you respect that of others. But since there's only you who can know what you want, you need to give it the importance it deserves.
Focusing on yourself means not letting others walk over you, disrespect you, and treat you unfairly. It means expressing yourself honestly and not according to what others want.
All in all, focusing on yourself is about living a life that you enjoy and feel confident in. A life that isn't suffocating, but free and fresh as the air.
2. Journal to understand and reflect
Now once we've understood what it means to focus on yourself, we have to recognise the ways that we want to do it. Everyone will have different recurring situations where they don't give themselves the focus that they should.
To figure this out, I really vouch for journaling. God knows that most of what I know about myself is through writing.
Journaling not only gives us the space to be vulnerable about our thoughts and feelings, but it also helps us take a step back and have a third perspective.
I often go back to my entries for some days or weeks ago and I have a different take or more confidence about myself than I did before. It helps me recognize how my thoughts go down the dark path and when I should stop them.
So, to focus on yourself, you must understand yourself and the times that you are not respecting your needs. You can use a physical or digital journal (like this one) to do your journaling.
Here are a few questions that you can write about:
- What makes you feel calm?
- Think of a recent time when you went against your need and regretted it. Why did you not listen to yourself?
- What do you wish others knew about you?
- When you don't respect your needs, how do you feel?
- What is something that you wish you could do if you weren't always concerned about others' opinions?
- Make a list of things you want to do to focus on yourself.
- What is one small thing you can do for yourself today?
If you're a beginner at journaling, I really recommend you read this post: 12 Journaling Tips for Beginners: How to Start Journaling Today
3. Start letting go of unnecessary burden
As I said earlier, people pleasing really comes from giving ourselves the responsibility to please others. We all have different reasons for it. For me, I think it comes from being the eldest kid in the family who always was good at the things that adults expected and I became used to having that reaction from them.
As I grew up, fear crept into all of my decisions, in my words, in my actions. I was scared to disappoint always and to be honest, I still am sometimes. But, the thing is as long as I am king and respectful to them, I do deserve to make my own choices without guilt.
My life is mine, your life is yours. We were not born to be under the weight of people's expectations or our own expectations of their expectations. Because really it's not that others expect something from us, but we take it seriously anyway.
You are not a bad person to enjoy life, to not worry so much, to choose what is good for you. You deserve this. When you focus on yourself, you'll be much stronger to be there for others too.
People pleasers are not happy, we're deeply insecure. As we overcome this, our life gets so much better.
Here are a few self-worth affirmations that you can say or write to feel confident in yourself:
- I am worthy of love and respect.
- I am confident in my abilities.
- I believe in my potential to achieve greatness.
- I am deserving of all the good things life has to offer.
- I am comfortable being myself around others.
- I trust in my decisions and choices.
- I am proud of my accomplishments, big and small.
- I radiate positivity and attract positivity.
- I am resilient and capable of overcoming challenges.
- I am enough just as I am.
4. Take care of your health
Taking care of our health is one of the most important parts of focusing on yourself. Whether you are a people pleaser or a person who's too busy to rest, know that your body is what makes you.
It surprises me how often we take our bodies for granted. As if there could be any substitute for it. We are nothing without our body, it's as simple as that. Let's not wait for our health to worsen so we can realize its importance.
Take rest when you should. Listen to your body's signals. Don't overexert yourself. Your body is one of the few truly real parts of your life. Success, money, productivity, praise... it's all secondary.
5. You're not under force to accept
One thing I've often noticed in myself is that whenever someone asks me for something or suggests a plan, I feel I have to agree to it. I don't even think that saying "No" would be rude but that it's not an option.
So many problems happen because of this thinking pattern. When I pause myself, do not reply instantly, and instead tell myself that I am not forced to accept whatever they ask from it, I feel lighter all of a sudden.
Similarly, we are not obliged to give answers to whatever anyone might ask us. We have the right to not say anything, or say very little.
It's these little ways that people pleasing leads to self-inflicted suffocation and loss of freedom. And again, it's all so basic and obvious but a lot of life lessons are. Knowing something doesn't mean that we live by it.
So, take a breather. You're free to choose - to accept or not, it's okay. You can choose it.
6. Do things that you enjoy
The best way to focus on yourself is to have your type of fun! Do what you like, my friend. Take time out for yourself. Read a book. Go for a trek. Sing and dance in your room. Run with your dog. (These are all the things I do :P)
Life is to be lived and loved. Let's allow ourselves to enjoy while we're at it.
What do you like to do? What do you wish you could do if you had more time at your hands?
Only you know the answers and only you can make it happen. You deserve it.
7. Consider taking therapy for long-term healing
One of the most helpful choices I've made is to take therapy. Even if I do journaling, there are some things that you can't learn solely by introspection because it's all within your knowledge.
My therapist has made me realize parts about myself and my life that I couldn't have understood on my own. With therapy, I have become more confident, more settled, and more hopeful about life.
You don't always have to rely on yourself. It's okay to ask for help. We are all here together. It's time you give others a chance to be there for you too.
And, that's it! These were my tips on how you can focus on yourself and let go of people-pleasing. I believe in you and know that you can choose what is good for you.
Share this post with anyone who might need it. Take care! Stay blessed!
Continue Reading: 15 Self-Love Activities for Self-Care & Happiness