A Guide for Recovering People Pleasers

“If you take others into account when making big life decisions or if you use your personal relationships as excuses to stop you from doing your dreams, then you are a people pleaser” – Salma Hindy

A people pleaser is known as someone who pleases others at the expense of their own needs or desires, often resulting from a fear of the disapproval of others. People-pleasing may involvefeeling responsible for the feelings of others, avoiding conflict at all costs, and letting others make decisions for us. It crosses the boundary of being a caring human being into needing to be the source of happiness forothers. If you struggle with people-pleasing tendencies, consider the followingtips to help cultivate more of a balance between taking care of others and taking care of yourself:

  • Stay Aware of What’s in Your Control:There is nothing wrong with taking time to help others. In fact, this is encouraged for good health!However, beware of feeling responsible for the way others feel because this is something we have no control over. Happiness comes from within, so we cannot be the source of someone’s happiness, nor can we rely on their reactions to make us happy.
  • Get Comfortable with Boundaries: The idea of setting a boundary can be especially intimidating for us people pleasers, as it’s common to feel like we’re creating friction with those we’re setting the boundary with. However, boundaries can actually strengthen our relationships. If we’re allowing someone to take advantage of us, it’s hard to feel satisfied in our relationship with that person. Boundaries help us to avoid resentment and instead, cultivate more love for others and ourselves.
    • Boundary Tip: If saying no is difficult for you, try to instead say, “Let me get back to you” and revisit the conversation later. Sometimes saying no can be easier when you’re not in the moment of the request, and it allows for the option to be able to say no in a less-intimidating way (I.e., through email or text).
  • Embrace Authenticity:Another common challenge for us people pleasers is allowing ourselves to be who we are, rather than who we think others want us to be. It can be helpful to reflect on moments when we felt like we were unable to be our authentic selves to uncover our own personal roadblocks to being true to ourselves. Remember that authenticity is not only an attractive quality, but it’s difficult to be happy if we’re pretending to be someone we’re not. Being authentic allows us to gain trust and respect from others, as well as ourselves.
  • Prioritize Self-Care:We must be able to take care of ourselves in order to be able to find joy in taking care of others. This includes taking care of physical needs (sleep, hydration, nutrition, and exercise) and mental needs (this may be journaling out lists of self-love and gratitude, meditation, or any rejuvenating activity). Aim to complete an act of self-love each day.

It can be extremely difficult to let go of people-pleasing tendencies, especially for us who pride ourselves on always being kind, helpful people.The goal is not to fully get rid of people-pleasing, but it’s to begin prioritizing ourselves just as much as we prioritize others.  Start small, acknowledge your efforts, and be kind to yourself. You matter.

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