How to Stop People Pleasing And Get What You Want
People pleasing looks great on the outside.
You have a stellar reputation for being generous and helpful. You always follow through on commitments and are flexible when plans change or when others flake out. In moderation, this is a lovely trait, but too much of good thing is just that - too much.
When people pleasing is a problem, you're exhausted and resentful. You start saying yes when you mean no. Relationships start to feel more like obligations. You love being the hero but eventually it wipes you out. You wish people would just stop asking for help.
What is a people pleaser?
A people pleaser gives with the expectation of getting what they want. You assume that you'll get some sort of recognition or support for your efforts. You give them what they want, then you'll get what you want. But it doesn't work that way.
Maybe when you need a favor, they'll be there for you. But other people have no clue what you want unless you tell them. Secretly you expect the other person to know what you need without having ask.
How to Let Go of People Pleasing
It takes a lot of effort to stop people pleasing. The kudos of being the helper are hard to give up. But there comes a point when you've hit a wall and need to stop.
Being people pleaser is not a bad thing if you can still take care of yourself too. You can unlearn people pleasing and put yourself first!
It's tough to have satisfying relationships when your needs are tossed aside - especially when you are the one tossing them. When people pleasing takes over, relationships become "reactionships." You start resenting family and friends. On the outside everything is fine, but secretly you feel ignored.
Here are some ways to stop people pleasing and take better care of yourself.
1. Be Honest with Yourself
It takes some humility to admit that you want to stop people pleasing. You pretend that you can keep giving but you can't keep up the pace. Being honest about how you really feel is the first step towards changing this pattern.
According to the National Family Caregiver Alliance Center, care-givers (often considered people pleasers) are at risk for depression, heart disease, obesity and other stress-related illnesses. When you can't take care of yourself, your physical health can suffer.
2. Acknowledge Your Needs
Acknowledging what you need doesn't mean that you have to stop giving. Just check in with yourself first. Paying attention to what YOU want isn't selfish, it's self-care.
Next time you're asked for a favor take some time to consider if it works for you. Do you have other priorities? Would saying yes lead to a resentment later? Speaking up about what you need helps you be more authentic in relationships.
When you focus more on pleasing others, your needs get ignored. You don't get to have your turn. When you ignore your needs, you teach others to ignore them too.
3. Say No Nicely
Being afraid to sound mean or selfish prevents honesty. When I started taking the risk and saying no, I realized that I was assuming that I couldn't ask for what I wanted but that wasn't true!
You can learn how to say no without feeling guilty or wrong. Using a kind tone of voice helps. People respond well to clear messages even when the answer is no.
If you want more information on how to say no nicely read my blog The Power of Saying No.
4. Practice Good Self-care
When people pleasing is a problem, it hurts your ability to take care of yourself. Personal time is spent on doing favors for others not yourself. This affects how much time you have for things like sleeping, healthy eating and enjoying time with friends.
By choosing to take care of yourself first, giving becomes a choice not an obligation.
5. Let Go of the Guilt
At the core of every pleaser is self-doubt. You struggle with a bad case of the "should's." So you continue to say yes when you mean no. The irony is that family and friends want the best for you. They want you to take care of yourself but unless you can follow through, you'll never be free.
You deserve to be at choice and have what you want too. You can be generous without sacrificing yourself.
6. Trust No Matter What it Looks Like
It's a risk to change. People expect you to stay the same so be prepared. You can't predict how they'll respond but if you get a negative reaction, take a breath. They have right to be disappointed and it'll pass!
When I started saying no, I was surprised that no one really cared. It was my own fear that prevented me from changing. You might be surprised that it's not that big of a deal. The people that love you want you to be happy and relaxed.
How to Start Putting Yourself First
If you're still reading this, you're motivated. You want your time back or to stop feeling resentful in your relationships. When you're always giving, you can't receive.
Like the Nike saying goes - Just do it. Pick one thing that you can change right now. If you're not ready to take action, make a list of things you don't want to do anymore. That's the first step. Knowing what you don't want leads you closer to what you do what.
Start by asking someone you trust for a small favor. Remember the growth is in the asking, not in the end result. It gets easier once you realize that the sky won't fall if you say no - and you might actually enjoy it!
I’ve created a private resource library including 20 Ways to Detach When You Need A Break and 15 Steps to Setting Healthy Boundaries plus lots more relationship tips!