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June 10, 2014     3

people pleaser

7 Ways to Stop Being A People Pleaser

Do you place your self-care on the backburner so that you can take care of other people?
Do you sacrifice your own goals and dreams because you’re too busy helping others chase after theirs?
Does your need to be liked by others override your need to take care of yourself?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions you may be a “people pleaser”. There is a fine line between being helping others and people pleasing, and it’s up to us to pay attention to the signs. People pleasers put the needs of everybody else ahead of his or her own. They’re almost addicted to saying yes when asked for assistance and worry that they might be labeled as selfish, uncaring or ego-centric if they say no. Their goal is to make everyone else around them happy, often at the expense of their own well-being.

If you’re a people pleaser, don’t fret; you’re in good company. Many people in the world share this nasty little habit. They don’t make the time to take care of themselves or pursue their passions because they’re too busy helping everybody else. So for all of you people pleasers out there looking to take their lives back, here are some steps you can take to recognize your unhealthy behavior, learn to prioritize yourself first and create an optimal schedule that allows time for both self-care and helping loved ones.

1. Recognize you have a choice. People pleasers feel as though they have to say yes to requests for help. What they don’t realize is that they always have a choice, and this is important to remember when your well-being and peace of mind are at stake.

2. Ask yourself why you’re saying yes. If you’re agreeing to help someone because the guilt associated with saying no, wanting to be liked or worried about being called selfish, then you’re agreeing to help for the wrong reasons. It’s important to have a clear understanding of why you’re saying yes to a request, so you know if you’re making the right decision.

3. Learn to Say No. So asking yourself why you’re saying yes is only half of the equation. Learning to say no is the other half. Seems simple enough, right? So why have entire books been written on the subject? Learning to say no is the most important step in moving past your people pleasing habit. Using this simple little word sends a message to others that you’re now prioritizing yourself first. And saying no isn’t selfish, it’s responsible. It ensures you’ll show up 100% when you do say yes to help someone out.

4. Stop trying to be everybody’s favorite. At the end of the day, you’re not going to be liked by everyone. That’s just the way the world works. But you can easily end up being everyone’s go to person because you haven’t set appropriate boundaries. When you let go of the need to be popular, and the pressures related to it, you’ll notice how much easier life can be.

5. Schedule some “me time”. If there are areas of your life that are being neglected because you’re continuously doing things for other people, it’s time to revaluate the amount of time you spend helping others. Block off time on your calendar every week to take care of yourself, get your errands done and pursue your passions. Except for dire needs, don’t let anyone or anything interfere with your schedule.

6. Say yes to the right people. It’s important to become crystal clear on whom you should give your time to. Are you saying yes to your parents or sister, or are you saying yes to a friend who’s an “energy parasite” and only seems to be around when they’re getting something from you? Recognize the authentic and mutually beneficial relationships in your life and give them your time and energy. It’s these people who will understand when you need to prioritize your self-care and happiness first.

7. Take small steps. Understand this isn’t an exact science. Moving from a people pleaser to a well-balanced person who knows how to prioritize and can comfortably say no isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s going to take some time and discipline. Take small steps, begin to create space between you and the “energy parasites” in your life and block out some “me time” on your calendar. Be patient and kind to yourself as you begin to create new rituals around self-care and setting boundaries.

Remember, you can’t be there for the people in your life if you’re not there for yourself first! @JoelReadence

So ensure you take time for self-care, pursuing your passions and creating space in your life. It will make you that much more of a valued family member, friend or coworker when you do help out the people in your life who are worthy of your time.

So, how are your people pleasing habits getting in the way of your own happiness? Have you overcome your own people pleasing habits and have some advice for your fellow readers? Join in on the conversation by adding your comments below.



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  • Barry says:

    Great words as always, so important to be mindful of this

  • Graham says:

    Excellent advice – very helpful.

  • Jacque says:

    Hi Joel,

    Great tips for consciously changing one’s people pleasing habits.

    One of the things that I have found is that a lot of times the underlying cause of these habits are driven by unmet needs, negative emotional energy, that we have accumulated growing up.

    When people are able to release this emotional energy it makes it way easier and they can more consistently practice the steps that you recommend.


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