I Learned How to Stop Being A People Pleaser with These 15 Tips
Being a thoughtful and kind person is definitely not a bad thing. In fact, the world could use a few more people who care about others’ needs!
But, if you are someone who puts a lot of pressure on yourself to avoid upsetting other people, it could be time for you to learn how to stop being a people pleaser.
After spending much of my life hustling to prove my worthiness to others, I have learned how to stop being a people pleaser. And I am excited to share the exact 15 tips that I used to overcome my people-pleasing tendencies!
What is a People-Pleaser?
The first step to learn how to stop being a people pleaser is to understand just what a people-pleaser is.
Many people believe that a people pleaser is just someone who puts others’ needs before their own. But having people-pleasing tendencies is much more than just putting the needs of others before your own from time to time.
There are times in life when you do actually need to set aside your own needs. Whether it is a family member or a good friend, part of being a considerate and loving person involves putting your loved ones first when they need you.
But here’s the most important thing. People pleasers tend to be overly worried about keeping other people happy at the cost of their own happiness and wellbeing. And when pleasing others isn’t possible, people pleasers often experience high levels of stress, anxiety, and feelings of guilt.
What Causes People-Pleasing Behaviour
People pleasers usually have good intentions and show unconditional love in their personal relationships. But some people end up hustling so hard for the sake of others that they let their own wellbeing take a backseat.
So, what causes this kind of behavior?
People pleasing is often used as a coping mechanism for many personal and emotional struggles. Constantly making sure that everyone is happy can be a sign of low self-esteem and personal insecurity. Many people pleasers have a fear of rejection and believe that they can make everything perfect for other people to avoid losing their affection.
Many times, people pleasers fear losing or weakening their intimate relationships. As a result, people pleasers will work overly hard to gain the approval of others – even if it has a negative impact on their own mental or physical health.
Signs You Might be a People-Pleaser
People-pleasing tendencies vary amongst people depending on their individual circumstances. But, there are a few people-pleasing behaviors that tend to be common.
For example, you may be a people pleaser if you:
- Feel responsible for the happiness of others
- Apologize often
- Struggle to set clear boundaries for healthy relationships
- Stress yourself out when disappointing others
- Have trouble standing up for yourself and your values
- Do things that make you uncomfortable to meet the expectations of others
- Have low self-esteem
- Overly value people’s opinions of you
- Have a hard time saying ‘no’
- Continue to maintain toxic relationships with toxic people
- Accept blame readily
Effects of Being a People Pleaser
When you spend your life hustling to prove yourself to others, you will always feel like your compass is pulling you in a different direction. The stress of constantly seeking the approval of others can have a negative impact on your physical health and lead to many mental health issues and emotional struggles.
Feeling Like an Imposter
When you let others take control of your life, it becomes much harder to stand up for your own wants, your own needs, and your own goals. People pleasers have a hard time advocating for themselves and listening to their true feelings. This kind of behavior can make you feel like an imposter that is living someone else’s life. This weakened sense of self makes it harder to know your true self and your true desires for your own life.
Social Anxiety and Weaker Relationships
Balancing the needs of so many people is very overwhelming and stressful! Imagine the feeling that a people pleaser might have after walking into a room of 20 people. Now imagine taking on the responsibility of making sure that each person is happy with you.
Having an overwhelming need for a sense of approval from others can lead to feelings of social anxiety. The pressure of needing to be liked can cause people pleasers to retreat from social situations, leading to weaker relationships. And with this comes feelings of guilt and regret, two very difficult emotions for people pleasers.
Spending time taking care of the people that you love should never leave you with negative feelings. But if it does, it is likely because you are experiencing the pressures of balancing so many people’s needs without taking care of your own needs.
If you have an overwhelming need to put the wants of others first, you will likely feel angry and frustrated by how little time you have available to yourself. Even though you may feel like you are helping others, this could leave you feeling resentful.
This makes it harder to offer a helping hand the next time someone needs it. This starts a cycle of feeling compelled to help, only to end up burnt out and exhausted as a result.
We all have our own goals for our lives. But goals take energy. And when you spend your precious energy worrying about what other people think, you end up feeling burnt out by all of the demands that are being placed on you.
This constant battle to satisfy everyone else can leave you feeling depleted and unmotivated to take care of the only person who really needs it – you.
15 Tips for How to Stop Being a People Pleaser
Science tells us that our minds find it hard to fight people-pleasing tendencies. But just because something is hard doesn’t mean that you should simply give control of your life to other people.
As a recovering people pleaser, I spent much of my life making decisions that would keep other people happy. Breaking this habit meant stepping on a few toes and sacrificing a few toxic relationships, but I have emerged a happier and more peaceful person as a result.
It is possible to balance the happiness of others without compromising your own values and wellbeing. Here are 15 tips that I used in order to learn how to stop being a people pleaser and get back to living an intentional life on my own terms.
1. Identify Your Priorities
Take a moment to think about why you are trying to learn how to stop being a people pleaser. Who are the people in your life that you feel the need to please? Why do you feel the need to keep them happy? Answering these questions will help you set a goal that you can hold yourself accountable to.
2. Start with Small Victories
People-pleasing tendencies are hard to kick, and you won’t be able to say goodbye to them overnight. Start with small steps and acknowledge how it feels every time you have a small victory.
3. Just Say ‘No’
One of the main reasons people pleasers say ‘yes’ to everything is because they fear disappointing others. But saying ‘no’ to someone who is putting pressure on you is the best way to take care of your own needs.
If you are a people pleaser, the chances are that you spend a lot of energy trying to control how people feel about you. The best thing you can do is let them feel their feelings. It will feel liberating to free yourself from being responsible for someone else’s reaction.
4. Creatively Say ‘No’
When other people put pressure on us to make a quick decision, saying ‘no’ almost feels impossible. If you are in a pinch, try buying yourself some time by letting the other person know that you need to check your schedule before making any decisions. This will give you the space to make a heathy decision that protects your own boundaries.
5. Set Healthy Boundaries
Saying ‘no’ is a good way to set better boundaries in your important relationships. All healthy relationships have their own boundaries.
If you haven’t set boundaries in your relationships, the odds are that at some point you will end up feeling pressured to do something you don’t want to do. And if you are learning how to stop being a people pleaser, you can’t let the needs of others control the decisions that you make.
6. Be True to Your Authentic Self
Being your authentic self is one of the hardest things to do when you are learning how to stop being a people pleaser. And it might just be the most important step.
It is very easy to lose sight of who your authentic self is when you spend your life aiming to please everyone else. Spend some time reflecting in order to rediscover who you truly are. Find out what your needs are when you separate yourself from all the noise that comes from everyone else’s demands.
7. Validate Yourself with Positive Self-Talk
Once you have rediscovered your authentic self, your own wants, and your own needs, it is time to start validating yourself.
Negative self-talk is common amongst people pleasers as a result of all the pressure that is put on them. Using positive affirmations for self-confidence will help you replace all the negative feelings with uplifting truths about who you really are.
8. Accept Yourself
Many people pleasers are insecure about who they are. Spend some time learning to love yourself for who you are. Check out our summary of Brené Brown’s the Gifts of Imperfection to learn how to embrace your imperfections and love yourself for them.
9. Don’t Make Excuses
Let go of the need to make excuses for making your own decisions. Making excuses when you maintain your boundaries is a way of trying to soften the negative impact on other people. Learning to let people react how they want to react is one of the most important things that you can do.
10. Don’t Apologize
Let go of the need to apologize. Sure, there are times when apologies are necessary. But you should never have to apologize for standing up for your own happiness and your own wellbeing. Work hard on feeling unapologetically confident in your authentic self!
11. Respect and Protect Your Time
Set time limits on phone calls and visits by letting the other person know that you have another commitment. This puts you in control of protecting your own boundaries and your own time.
12. Ask For Help
Your closest relationships are great sources of support to help you stop being a people pleaser. Ask your partner or a trusted friend to help you stay accountable to putting your own happiness first when your boundaries are being pushed.
13. Listen to Your Own Needs
There is always an inner voice that is willing to tell you what your own needs are. Listen to it and make better decisions that support your own needs over the needs of others.
14. Seek Professional Support
It is always best to consider speaking with a professional if you are struggling with people-pleasing behaviors. Using the help of a trained professional is the best way to find the balance between maintaining boundaries and focusing on your own happiness and wellbeing.
15. Remember That You Cannot Please Everyone
No matter what you do there will always be someone who is unhappy with your choices. Why bother trying to please everyone if it isn’t possible in the first place?
How to Stop Being a People Pleaser for Good
The best way to stop being a people pleaser is to find balance in your relationships with others. Your goal should never be to hustle so hard for other people that you neglect your own wellbeing. But you also don’t want to neglect your personal relationships either.
Put your foot down, set boundaries, and give power to your inner voice.
You are a kind and considerate person. But just remember, you can’t take care of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself as well.
Don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family on social media! If you know someone who struggles with people-pleasing tendencies, this post could be just what they need to make a positive change in their life!