Defined by Merriam-Webster, “a people-pleaser is a person who has an emotional need to please others often at the expense of his or her own needs or desires.”
Doesn’t sound too good, does it? But, it’s so common. If not with everyone, we do become people-pleasers for some, and it’s deeply taxing to our wellbeing.
Let’s learn together how to stop being a people pleaser today and ditch this unhealthy behavior of wanting something and agreeing to something else.
How to Stop Being a People Pleaser
- Recognize your reasons
- Validate yourself
- Protect your peace
- Say “No” kindly
- Remove toxic relationships
- Introspect on what matters to you
- Respect your time
- Stop apologizing unnecessarily
- Accept the truth
1. Recognize your reasons
What are the reasons that make you put aside your need to accommodate someone else’s desire?
Is it the fear of disappointing them? Is it about not being liked? Do you feel burdened by how much that person has done for you, so you feel obligated to give back without constraints? Or, is it about the fear of losing harmony? Are you afraid of displeasing these people?
Listen, I hear you, your fears are not invalid. They seem to root from kindness and care, but only for the other person. Are you not afraid of mistreating yourself? Shouldn’t you also honor your desire?
2. Validate yourself
Once your worth is not dependent on someone else’s opinion or appreciation of you, there is no reason for you to exhibit this unhealthy behavior.
You are worthy just as you are. Your worth was never and will never be attributed to any metric. You are human life. Isn’t that enough worth on its own?
3. Protect your peace
I think we all want to live a life that is peaceful, fulfilling, heart-warming, and a rich experience through and through.
People-pleasing is a surefire way to throw away that peace while trying to keep the peace between you and them. Ironical, isn’t it?
Make your well-being a priority. Decide to not compromise your peace to please someone else. You know it’s not worth it.
Related: 6 Simple Tips to Live a Simple Life
4. Say “No” kindly
People pleasers have the fear of not seeming nice and sounding rude, and this pushes them to agree and accommodate even when they don’t want to. But saying “No” is not rude by default.
There are ways to decline an offer without wiping the smile off someone’s face. You know, most people are understanding, and they won’t judge you.
Some ways to say “No” kindly are:
“Hey, thanks for the offer, but I’ll have to pass. I’m unavailable this weekend.”
“Thanks for thinking of me, but I’ll take a rain-check this time. Would you like to meet next Friday, though? I’m free then.”
“I have planned out my tasks for today. I’ll take this up tomorrow.”
You don’t have to give any big excuses to seem genuine to the other person. Do yourself a favor and only choose what you want to choose.
5. Remove toxic relationships
Sometimes, it’s them, not you. If you have people in your life that make you feel bad for putting yourself first and keep breaching your boundaries or simply aren’t the people that you want to hang out with anymore, let go of them.
I know, they won’t just disappear but start by canceling plans that you used to give in to, increase the distance, and if they don’t get the idea, be upfront.
It will take courage and they won’t be so happy about it, but it will save you a lot of discomfort and wasted time.
6. Introspect on what matters to you
Sit down and self-reflect on the values that are important to you, what goals you have, and the kind of life that you want to live.
In the grand scheme of things, giving your self-respect and freedom of choice to please others seems such a waste.
Your life is capable of being lived so freely and beautifully, embracing the joy in little things, and suppressing this potential because you put your needs below someone’s desire rips you away from living that wonderful life.
7. Respect your time
I don’t want to open your eyes by reminding you that we only have so much time in this world, but if this is what it takes, listen to me.
Remember how uncomfortable you felt when you were at that party when instead you wanted to read a book sitting on your comfy bed, or how overwhelmed you felt because you had agreed to work on more things than you could manage, or how bored you were being with people that you didn’t feel connected with.
All of that time could have been lived in a way that worked for you if you had respected your time and spoken up what you actually wanted to. You are responsible for taking care of yourself.
You teach others how to treat you. If you don’t respect your time and voice, others won’t too.
8. Stop apologizing unnecessarily
Been there, done that. We feel that we’re being really nice and careful about the other person’s emotions, but it’s just another way of people-pleasing.
Did you actually do something wrong? Was it your fault that there was traffic or bad weather or someone sick at home? Is being busy to take someone’s call and asking to call back later such a bad thing?
I’m all for apologizing when it’s needed, and it’s seemingly harmless to throw away apologies here and there, but it diminishes the weight of real apologies and blames you for something you didn’t do.
When you’re late, instead of saying, “I’m sorry I was stuck in the traffic” say, “Thanks for waiting for me. There was heavy traffic on the way here.”
9. Accept the truth
No matter how hard you try, or how many times you let people walk over you, you cannot have everyone be pleased with you. It doesn’t work that way, and it won’t.
Molding yourself to the expectations of others will steal you away from yourself. You are not responsible for how they feel or respond, you are responsible for yourself.
Shaping your actions and reactions to suit theirs is a disservice to yourself. Speak up what you want to when you want to, and stay silent when you don’t want to add to a conversation.
When you keep someone in the dark about your true desire and say what you don’t mean, isn’t it the same as lying? Even if it’s rooted in good intentions, it’s not fair to anyone.
Also, you might think that accepting bad behavior, not challenging, and just letting it go will save you from a situation you don’t want, but that never happens. Don’t ignore the truths around you. Be a peacekeeper only when it is rational, and speak up when boundaries are crossed.
And, that’s all!
I hope you enjoyed reading and found these tips helpful. If you have any suggestions or opinions to share, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be happy to see your name in my inbox!
Wishing you a wonderful day!
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