Hi friends! I’m back today with my thoughts on people pleasing and how to go about breaking the pattern of always wanting to bend over backward for everyone. As a fellow people pleaser myself, I know this is much easier said than done, which is why I wanted to talk about it.
Here’s the thing, being a people pleaser isn’t a bad thing, in fact, I think it means you care deeply about others and you just want to see them succeed. But at what cost? From my experience, it’s usually at the expense of my own sanity. Anyone else guilty of sacrificing themselves in this way for someone else’s benefit? I am not saying you should never do nice things for others, but there needs to be a boundary. So today is all about drawing that line and discussing how to stop being a people pleaser. Come on, let’s do it together!!
First things first, start small. Like making any big change in your life, it’s best to start small so you don’t end up overwhelmed. Being a people pleaser is usually something you’re born with so kicking the habit is going to take time and patience. Start with small no’s in casual situations. For example, if a friend asks you to go out for drinks but you really don’t want to drink that night, suggest dinner instead or even a coffee date. This way you won’t have the guilt of completely saying no but you’re asking for something that makes it more convenient for you.
Find satisfaction with internal validation.
There’s a lot of information out there on the science and psychology of being a people pleaser and something I read recently really stuck with me. It said that a lot of the time people pleasers get their confidence from external forces. Meaning, what makes them feel good about themselves is someone needing their help and therefore making them feel needed. People pleasers tend to feed off of that and as time goes on, will start to really go over the top to make sure everyone else is happy and satisfied, forgetting about themselves.
Doesn’t this make SO much sense? The article continued to say that to break the habit, we have to find things that make us feel good about ourselves and give us confidence that comes from a place of internal validation, not from someone else. So like finding things that give us joy without feeling “needed”. For me, that means spending time with friends just hanging out, going on walks with Winston or even putting outfit inspiration together for you guys! These are things that make me feel good without feeling like I’m only doing them because someone else needs me to.
Get rid of any toxic relationships.
When you’re trying to kick any bad habit, you can’t do it surrounded by toxic people. Kind of like when you’re trying to eat healthier or work out more. The positive people in your life will understand the changes and choices you’re making, while the negative might criticize or even look down on you. These are the kind of relationships that won’t let you grow. And they’re probably the people that take advantage of your people-pleasing ways anyway, so kick them to curb and allow yourself to continue growing and improving. I dedicated an entire post on how to end these toxic relationships here.
Learn to be more self-aware.
Learning to be more self-aware over the last few years has enabled me to grow SO much, including stopping being such a people pleaser all the time. But self-awareness can kind of seem like an elusive thing, right? Like how do you “learn to be more self-aware”? I used to wonder the same thing, which is why I wrote this detailed post awhile ago. I talk about how to do it and why it’s important. Definitely read it if self-awareness feels like a giant question mark to you.
All of this to say, for this specific situation, becoming more self-aware will help you know when you’re displaying people pleaser behavior, the situations that trigger it and what you need to do to reel it back in!
Know that there is a choice.
The next time you find yourself in the position to either please or disappoint, try to stop and really think about what your next words or actions should be. I know my first reaction can be to dive in, do whatever someone needs help with and then watch them feel happy. It’s not wrong to want people to be happy, you just have to make it a conscious choice and not a knee-jerk reaction that costs you your own happiness.
Take a minute to step back and respond thoughtfully and intentionally. And if you do say no, don’t apologize for it! Own your decision and feel good about it. The world will keep turning, I promise! Just because you chose to say no doesn’t mean you’re not a kind, empathic person. You’re simply putting yourself first in that moment and that’s nothing to feel guilty about.
Give yourself grace.
You don’t want kicking this habit to turn into you being hard on yourself if you fail, so give yourself some grace. Start small like I mentioned above and if you find yourself taking care of others before taking care of yourself, don’t punish yourself for it. Actually, just being aware that you were people pleasing is progress if you ask me!
I hope you found this helpful. If anyone else struggles with being a people pleaser, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
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