Although enjoying helping the next person is a great trait to have, it should not cause you grief or misery. Here are some ways to stop people pleasing.
- Set Boundaries
People pleasing is when you always go out of your way to satisfy someone else, at the expense of your own happiness. When you set boundaries, you are helping the person more in the long run. You are being more of a support system for the person, rather than doing their work for them. You only have one life to live, and learning to set boundaries will help you live it to the fullest.
- Learn to Say “No.”
Saying “no” is a real challenge for many of us. But if we want freedom from always being at the whims of others, we must start someplace. Notice how you feel when you are asked to do something. Maybe you are invited to an event that you don’t want to attend, but feel you “should.” Take a deep breath and say, “no thanks.” Start out by saying “no” to small things and then work your way up to larger requests.
- Own Your Opinion
It’s uncomfortable to stand alone when others don't share your opinions. It’s natural to want to fit in - in fact, our brains are hardwired with the desire to be one of the gang. Start finding times when it feels safe to share your opinion, even if no one else agrees. You may want to practice this with close friends and family first and then once you feel more comfortable, expand sharing to other groups of people, for example, at work.
- End Justifying
People pleasers often feel the urge to justify their inability to do something asked of them. But in reality, you do not have to answer to anyone but yourself. The next time you find yourself getting ready to explain yourself and why you can’t do what another person wants you to do, stop yourself. You will usually find people don’t ask for an explanation.
- Take Small Steps
Be patient with yourself. Allow yourself time to change. Do not be hard on yourself because you have probably been a people pleaser your entire life. You may have even been taught and encouraged to be one! Start by noticing who you defer to consistently and the feelings you experience when you feel that urge to do whatever it takes to make the other person happy. When doing the thing will make you happy too, then do it. If not, start standing up for yourself by offering a simple, “no, thanks.”