A people-pleaser is someone who constantly makes self-sacrifices to help or please others. They have a difficult time saying no to any request. They prefer to avoid all conflicts and they wish to be liked and accepted so they would go the extra miles and put others before their own needs. Eventually, they feel burned out, exhausted, frustrated but afraid to stop doing anything because they fear they won’t be loved any more if they stop. Of course, this brings risks of them being taken advantage of. I have a confession to make: I’m a former people-pleaser.
It was absolutely exhausting to please everyone. Putting others first gave me little to no time to process my own emotions. I would be reluctant to do things and often time, I did it out of fear of abandonment instead of out of love. Overtime, I lost part of my identity, I didn’t know who I was aside from being of service to others. Have you felt like that?
It took me a long time to understand that being kind is not the same as pleasing others. While the actions might be similar at the surface level but the intentions are different. Nothing is worth losing yourself. Here are a few tips on how to avoid being a people pleaser.
You can never please everyone.
Pleasing everyone? Impossible. Pissing off everyone? Piece of cake! Even if you’re a saint, you can never please everyone because every single person is different. If you have to mold yourself to fit in with everyone, you will have to adapt a new mold in each moment, with each person and sooner or later, you won’t even know what mold to fit in and what your original shape anymore. This might be obvious but it bears repeating: it is more than OKAY to not please everyone. You do not have to agree with everyone. You are not unreasonable to have your thoughts or your own feelings.
Learn to Say No
No is a powerful word and using it right will empower you. You are not rude or impolite to say no. If you feel reluctant, say no. If something is against your morals or interests, say no. You don’t have to burn yourself out to take on extra burden, say no. It might be scary at first but it’s very relieving. People that care about you will be completely okay with your no. People that are upset with your no will be upset regardless. You can offer some reasons for your no in the beginning but as time goes on, you should practice saying no without elaborating detailed explanation. It’s 100% healthy and okay to say no simply because you don’t want to or you don’t like it.
Delay Your Response
If you are having problems saying no, you might wait to give your answer. An example would be “Can I get back to you in a few days?”. In most cases, you don’t have to give your answer on the spot. Take your time to process your emotions, think about whether you really want to commit to something. Give your answer out of sincerity, not out of pressure.
Healthy boundaries between yourself and others can make you feel safer as a person and allow you to connect with people more effectively. People-pleasers frequently put others’ desires ahead of their own, which can lead to resentment. When you set your boundaries, stand your ground. Start small, and communicate before hand and then you can build up to your desired space. Even in an intimate relationship, you definitely should have healthy boundaries.
Stay True to Yourself
After a long time of putting others first, you might have a hard time to a decision for yourself. You might be confused as to what you want. That’s why time and space alone is important. It might feel foreign in the beginning but it’s necessary to get to know yourself again. Start making time and effort to find what please you instead of others. If you find yourself unsure whether to commit to something when others request, it’s a no. Remember if it’s not a heck-yes, it’s a no.
Being a people-pleaser could be dangerous to your mental and emotional state. Reluctant doing something for others might build up resentment over time. Sometimes when it feels impossible to say no even though you know it’s detrimental to you, that might be a trauma response and you might explore extra help or support options.
Forgetting yourself to please others is not how you nurture a healthy relationships. You can be kind, loving and caring without losing yourself. A healthy, fulfilling relationship is where you can be who you are and you both can grow together. So go ahead and establish your boundaries and start your journey of getting to know yourself. I guarantee you, your relationships are much more satisfying when you’re safe to be yourself.