“When you say Yes to others, make sure you are not saying No to yourself.” ~ Paulo Coelho
So what is so wrong about pleasing people? What is wrong with being nice to people and trying to help them out or make them happy? Well, nothing really if its done in moderation, and it is not done to validate yourself and your own feelings. But people-pleasing generally goes beyond simple kindness. It involves changing your words, thoughts/opinions and behaviors for the sake of another person’s feelings or reactions.
People-pleasing might sound like a nice thing, but it doesn’t do you any favors. If you feel exhausted from trying to keep everyone happy, have a think about how you can make yourself happy first.
What is People Pleasing?
So lets see here, what is people pleasing? …. People pleasing is when you go out of your way to do things for people in your life, based on what you think they want or need and you will give up your time and energy to please them and to get them to like you. You will do anything to try and fit in to different groups of people, to feel accepted and approved of. You want to feel appreciated, liked and in return of pleasing them, you want them to give you love care and attention, which is something you don’t do for yourself. You also end up spending your time trying to be perfect.
People pleasing can actually be damaging to ourselves and potentially to our relationships, as we put others needs and wants to have more importance than our own. Which, over time, especially in relationships, can lead you to hold grudges, if the other person is not the same as you. Being a people pleaser you end up in situations where you actually do not want to be in and do things you are not comfortable with but if it is going to make someone else happy you do it.
People-pleasing is an unhealthy behavior, a clear sign of low self-esteem. It is disempowering, inauthentic, and extremely time- and energy-consuming.
What are the traits of a People Pleaser
- People pleasers are often perfectionists, rehearsing what they’re going to say before a phone call, spending hours browsing the internet for the perfect item that “defines” them.
- They have a low opinion of themselves, low self esteem. They need the validation from others to make them feel better about themselves. They need others to like them.
- A people pleaser can’t say no. They worry that if they say no or turn down a request for help will make that person/friend think that they don’t care about them. So agreeing to do what they want feels like a safer option even if they don’t have the time or inclination to do it.
- They apologize or accept fault when they aren’t to blame. Always say sorry when something goes wrong. Always ready to take on the blame even if whatever has happened has nothing to do with them!
- They are quick to agree, even when they don’t really agree. Agreeing is surely the best way to win approval….?!
- People pleasers often have a harder time recognizing how they really feel. The more they are pushing their own needs to the side, it is harder for them to acknowledge their own needs and feelings. Eventually, they are not even sure what it is they want or how to be true to themselves, unable to voice their own feelings even when they actually want to speak up for themselves.
Any of those strike a chord….? Sound familiar? If so, then not all hope is lost, but it is time to get back your own self worth, and time to start living for yourself, not others.
So below I am going to give you five tips on how you can stop being that people pleaser, take back your power, and know your self worth.
Tip No. 1 – “Let me get back to you”
If you are a people pleaser, do NOT answer straight away! This is so important! Make yourself a rule in future when someone asks you for something, you should always answer … “let me get back to you” Honestly this is quite vital, you can just say to them that you need to check your calendar or schedule, or speak to you partner, whatever is needed to just buy yourself some time to actually think about it as to whether you do really want to do it or not. If you don’t, then all you will need to do is respond with a nice polite “no”. If you are nervous to respond face to face, in case they convince you to change your mind, you can always just email a response to them or text them. This is so much easier than doing it in person. And, it gives you time to make the right choice.
Tip No.2 – Assertive Communication
Often we find it difficult to express ourselves with clarity and confidence, fearing that we may come across aggressive or rude. You need to learn to say no with confidence and grace, so you don’t offend anyone whilst doing it. Here are some examples of how you can let someone down gently by saying no.
- Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for me right now.
- I’m not able to make it this week/this month.
- I’ve got too much on my plate right now.
- Thank you for thinking of me, I’m sorry I can’t at this time.
- It’s too bad I’m busy, but please let me know how it turns out.
- Perhaps another time, let me know what next week looks like for you.
- No thank you, but it sounds lovely.
Tip No. 3 – The amazing power of saying “I don’t” rather than “I can’t”
A people pleaser tends to say I can’t go there or I can’t do this, and when saying I can’t gives the person asking the question, an invite to ask why not….. Rather than I don’t, which seems to hold a little more authority, and is a little more final, that they feel less inclined to ask why, its almost a closed answer.
Don’t and can’t may seem somewhat interchangeable, but they are very different psychologically. Even seemingly subtle differences in language can have very powerful affects on our thoughts, feelings and behavior. I don’t is experienced as a choice, so it feels empowering and as I said above, it’s a closed answer. It’s an affirmation of your determination and willpower. I can’t isn’t a choice – it’s a restriction, it’s being imposed upon you. So thinking “I can’t” undermines your sense of power and leaves it a little more open to challenge.
Check out study – https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/663212?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
Tip No. 4 – Girl Stop Apologizing
Ok so this is a big one for me!!! The word sorry seems to be the most used word in my personal dictionary. (Sometimes now I think its just habit, well I guess it is, the more you say it the more its engrained in your mind) And I know, that most of the time when I say sorry, that I actually don’t have to say it, as its not my fault, but I feel obliged to say it! Whats that all about! 😉 If you are a people pleaser, the chances are, you’ve probably said sorry at LEAST a handful of times in the past week.
According to a survey by Coca-Cola of 2,000 Londoners: People on average say sorry up to 7 times per day. That’s about 200,000 times in one lifetime, or a grand total of 56 hours saying sorry!
The next time you say no, say it with meaning. Don’t apologize because you have to prioritize and you have other things to take care of. Don’t feel bad, stand up for you and do what feels right for you.
Tip No. 5 – Most Important … Be You
Be real. Pretending and faking who you are and what you want will only work against you. Be genuine, you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone, what you do, who you are, is your choice no-one elses. Other’s opinions of you are not your concern, you cannot please everyone so there is no point in trying to. Other peoples perception of you, are nothing but a perception of their thoughts and beliefs. Their opinion does not define you, set yourself free from judgement. Just know that you are worthy and beautiful, not because anyone else thinks that, but because you decide to believe it. Authenticity is a magnet!
“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” ~ Brene Brown
Its time to change
Seeking validation from others turns us into their prisoners. In reality, we can’t control what other people feel or think, but we are in charge of our own actions, feelings, and thoughts.
Be your own kind of beauty. Stay true to your feelings, opinions, thoughts, and emotions. Live your own life, with no apologies and no regrets.
It’s time for you to find your voice, set your boundaries and stop being a people pleaser. This is about being able to take control of your own life!