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How To Stop Being a People-Pleaser

Updated: Feb 16

Start saying no to others and yes to yourself with our three simple tips.

It’s a Friday afternoon and you’re looking forward to a relaxing evening at home alone when suddenly, your bestie calls in urgent need of a shopping buddy. You reluctantly say yes even though you’re exhausted from the work week and sigh as you kiss your quiet night at home goodbye.

Or maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed at work and can’t stop agreeing to take on more projects because you’re scared you’ll upset your boss or disappoint your team.

If this sounds like you, you may be a people-pleaser. Here are a few steps you can take to stop while remaining true to yourself.

Put yourself first

There’s nothing wrong with occasionally putting others first. However, it can become toxic when you do so at the expense of your own needs.

Remember that saying “no” or setting boundaries isn’t selfish, it’s taking care of yourself. Speak up when you have an opinion about something important to you. If someone else thinks you’re stubborn or pushy because of it, that’s on them.

Stop saying yes to everything

You can be a good friend, daughter, or partner and still set healthy boundaries. Select a few priorities at any given time and focus your energy on those areas.

For example, if you’re excited about launching a small business and also love spending time with your friends, it may not be the right time to say yes to a volunteer opportunity that will consume most of your free time.

Work on your self-esteem

Did you know that your people-pleasing tendencies and self-esteem are likely intertwined? Ask yourself why you feel obliged to make everyone else happy. Are you striving to avoid all conflict? Have you buried your emotions and wants so deeply that you’re having trouble finding them? Or maybe you’re anxious and are trying to maintain control by involving yourself in more situations than you can handle.

You can restore the balance between self-care and helping others by chatting with a therapist, an unbiased pal or a family member, or by making a plan on your own with tangible steps to let go of things (and people) that don’t serve you.

Someone once said: “You can be a delicious, ripe peach and there will still be people in the world that hate peaches.”

Not everyone will like you and that’s okay. The world is made up of many personalities and plenty of them will clash with yours. Aim to stop pouring emotional energy into making sure you’re the most liked person in the room and invest more into making sure you’re the happiest version of yourself, for yourself.

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