Do you ever find yourself doing something for someone that you’re just not into doing, and asking yourself how you got in this mess in the first place? You know, running their errands, contributing to their charity for the 5th time, constantly loaning them things, or staying late, unpaid, when no one else does? There is a fine balance between being a kind, helpful person and being a non-stop people pleaser. When we try to please everyone, it can sure take its toll, drain us of energy and prevent us from achieving our own goals. As we continue our theme of “letting go”, let’s take a closer look at how to let go of being a non-stop people pleaser:
The woes of saying no
Some people are born people pleasers, and for others it’s a learned behaviour depending on our relationships and personal situations. For most, trying to make everyone else happy is the result of wanting to be liked, loved, or appreciated. If you are a people pleaser, you may keep saying yes to things you don’t want to do or don’t have time for because you just hate the thought of disappointing someone. Saying no just doesn’t feel…polite, even when it’s completely inconvenient. It could also be the way you were raised; if your parents were people pleasers, it might just be that it’s always been expected of you too. Or, perhaps they had too-high expectations of you and you always felt you had to do more to gain their approval. Further, for anyone who’s lived in a toxic relationship, trying to please that other person and gain their love and positive attention can be a full-time job. So, how do you put the breaks on a behaviour you’re used to?
How to stop
The first step in easing up on trying to please everyone is to recognize that you’ll still be loved, appreciated and valued, even when you say no. In fact, you may gain others’ approval simply by standing up for yourself and putting your needs first.
- Be true to yourself
Listen to that inner voice and trust your instincts. If someone asks you do to something when you already have plans for example, you’ll know right away if it’s just not cool to cancel your previous commitment. It also means you don’t have to go along with what others say or do just to make them happy. If it doesn’t feel right, you don’t have to agree.
- Don’t own other people’s problems
When other people pile on their drama and problems, it called being ‘slimed’. Don’t own it! Jettison any guilt you may have about not being more helpful, and in doing so, they may learn how to manage on their own. You do you, and they’ll do them.
- Take a minute
If you’re wondering if you should do something for someone but you’re just not sure, take the time to think about it. Tell them you’ll get back to them and then make sure it’s the right choice.
- Assert your own value
This may sound really difficult, but hear me out. When you’ve lived a life of trying to please everyone, it wears down your own self-worth. Stand tall, and toot your own horn from time to time and others will take notice. Talk about your goals, achievements and plans, and don’t bow down to others. Even in the workplace, it’s important to be valued for the work you do, so don’t downgrade yourself or your skills. With increased self-confidence and more value placed on your own goals, you’ll be less likely to give in to other people’s unrealistic or continued requests.
- Set boundaries
We still need to help others and be kind or the world would be a terrible place! Trying to make someone happy for the right reasons is noble and rewarding. It’s when we know we’re being taking advantage of or that it’s interfering with our own lives that it becomes a problem. That’s why it’s important to set clear boundaries. Let people know your limits; whether it’s your time, money, resources and so on. Be honest and don’t make excuses. If you’ve set a time limit or budget, stick to it. Be strong.
When we continually sacrifice our own needs for someone else, it’s impossible to be truly happy, healthy and successful. If you’ve been a people pleaser, give yourself permission to put down the torch and look after yourself. While it’s always important to be a thoughtful, caring person, the motivations behind it have to be authentic. If someone is angry with you or berates you because you are doing less for them, then maybe they aren’t meant to be in your life right now. They need to step up, or move out of the way so you can move forward and upwards.
Do you have other tips on how to stop trying to please everyone? Share them here in the Comments.
“I can’t tell you the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.” – Ed Sheeran