Most of how our lives unfold is determined by the actions we take. For people pleasers, their nightmares are often created by the actions they don’t take. So, if action is the simple answer, then why is people pleasing still being practiced today? Because most of our decision-making is determined by the urges we possess. If you identify as a people pleaser, you may have grown up in a household where conflict drove most of your decisions. As a result, you’ve developed a strong urge to relieve others’ discomfort around you, even if it often places you in a position of discomfort. So, how can we break free from these self-destructive habits? Psych2Go shares with you 7 ways that can help you stop being people pleaser:
1. Express your individuality.
Your parents may not have been the most supportive people in regards to nourishing your individuality, but there are people out there who do respect your opinions for what they are, regardless if they agree or disagree. Pretending that you agree with others’ opinions just to fit in only goes so far. After a while, it can be stifling or boring when you don’t surround yourself with likeminded people. Learn to put yourself out there and express who you are honestly and openly. It’s not worth trying to be someone else just to follow the crowd.
2. Realize that you can’t control everything.
If happiness were to be something that could be experienced at all times, then we wouldn’t have a need for therapists or counselors to turn to when we seek help. We also wouldn’t have any room to grow and improve ourselves or fortify the relationships we have with others. In other words, it would be a scary utopia we’d live in. Understand that there’s only so much you can control within a situation. Although it’s tempting to play the hero, focus on what you can do within the moment, rather than trying to do everything all at once.
3. Allow yourself to mess up and make mistakes.
Instead of feeling bad for not getting things right the first, second, or even third time around, be flexible with your mindset. Think about all the chances you’ve given someone else to improve and grow. And then give yourself the same opportunities. Just because you may know your own weaknesses like the back of your hand, doesn’t mean they fully define you. What defines you is your potential and what you do with it.
4. Set boundaries. It’s okay to say no.
Make your own time and goals a priority over someone else’s. If you’re not used to saying no, it may seem harsh initially, but it gets easier over time with enough practice. If it seems like too much to reject many people’s favors and requests all at once, you can start small and say no once a day. If people care about your well-being and success, they will understand. You’re not being selfish nor any less of a person. In fact, setting boundaries can strengthen your relationship and communication, rather than having people often assume that you always have the time to accommodate to their needs.
5. Stand up for what you believe in.
Don’t be afraid of conflict. Instead, welcome it. It’s a chance for self-growth and a way to build your strength in times of adversity. Life is full of obstacles and trouble. You can’t expect smooth roads, so don’t try to pave them all the time. Learn how to work with the potholes, interruptions, and cracks. When you can find zen even amidst chaos, then you can achieve anything. You also become a better, wiser person because of it.
6. Learn to let go and understand that doing too much is a detriment to your health and well-being.
When you are concerned about pleasing others, you often go above and beyond what is expected of you. You are used to being the over-achiever and going the extra mile because that was what was expected of you at an early age. You may have been conditioned to work hard because it pleased your parents. Although having a strong work ethic will get you far in life, it’s important to let go and put down work during times where it’s pivotal. Understand that it’s okay to relax and unwind every once in a while. It doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong if you want to enjoy the little things in life. You can be passionate about what you do and the people you help, but remember that passion cannot be sustained without a degree of sanity and balance.
7. Realize that at the end of the day, you have a choice. Always.
When you’re constantly pleasing others, you may feel as though it’s something you’re obligated to do. You don’t have to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. You can stop pretending, take off the mask, and walk into freedom. People pleasing is a tough habit to break out of, especially if it’s something you’ve been doing all your life. But, it always starts with a choice. Do yourself a favor for once and make the right one.
Do you find these tips helpful? How do you break yourself free from people pleasing? Psych2Go would love to hear your thoughts! Please be sure to leave a comment down below!
If you enjoyed this article, you may also like 7 Signs You May Be a People Pleaser from Psych2Go.
Cohen, I. (2017, October 10). No More People Pleasing! Psychology Today. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
Morin, A. (2017, August 23). 10 Signs You’re a People-Pleaser. Psychology Today. Retrieved December 5, 2017.