How to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Learn to Say No
A trait that can help you to lead a peaceful life
I have been a people pleaser all my life. I only recently became aware of it because it has been so ingrained in my mind that I often find myself engaging in that behavior and willingly compromising my own priorities. My desire to be cordial in front of my friends and family has always caused me to conceal information and avoid having difficult conversations. I found it difficult to say no to requests because I was afraid of appearing rude. It did put me in some extremely stressful situations while I was in college or school, but I was managing okay. But I realized that I could not continue behaving the same way as it was impacting my mental well being. In order to improve, I read various materials on the subject and started taking steps to become less of a people-pleaser. There are times when I struggle to stop being a people pleaser but I feel that it is a great start when you realize it and put some effort to improve. In this piece, I am sharing what I learned.
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A. Definition of people-pleasing
People who repress their needs, wants, expectations, and sentiments in an effort to win sympathy, love, or in an effort to avoid confrontation, loss, rejection, or awkward talks frequently exhibit people-pleasing behaviors.
They are similar to “pressure cookers” who have developed the habit of pleasing others, and it is just a matter of time that they may experience burnout.
Many people-pleasers equate generosity with pleasing others. They use phrases like “I don’t want to seem selfish” or “I just want to be a good person” when expressing their hesitation to refuse someone’s request for a favor. As a result, they permit others to exploit them.
B. Symptoms of people-pleasing
Common symptoms of people pleasing behavior include:
- Agreeing with everyone
- The desire of fitting in
- Intuiting what other people think, feel and need
- Struggling to say “No” or establishing the boundaries
- Feeling responsible for other people’s emotions
- Avoiding conflict
- Apologizing all the time
- Be hasty in taking blame
- Have trouble being true to their beliefs.
- Looking for validation from others to be happy
Causes of People Pleasing
These traits may result from worries that you’re “not good enough,” a desire to stay out of trouble, or an ignorance of your own values. When someone doesn’t really know who they are, they frequently just kind of change into chameleons and try to blend in with everyone around them.
The main causes of people-pleasing conduct include past trauma, low self-esteem, and fear of rejection.
Women, in particular, have long been expected to suppress their own needs and cater to others.
Effects of People Pleasing
Negatively impacts relationships: People around us assume that we are naturally amiable when we display it consistently. Even though we like to help others, there are instances when we feel resentful and furious because we think they are taking advantage of us. This might affect our relationship with our loved ones. While people might appreciate your giving nature, they may also begin to take your kindness and attentiveness for granted.
Stress and Anxiety: We act out of obligation and a daily struggle about keeping our word when we constantly try to please other people. This could result in persistent performance anxiety.
Lack of self-care. Constantly devoting yourself to meeting the needs of others can cause you to neglect your own. You may find yourself getting sick or mentally burned out from the pressure of trying to please everyone.
Breaking the habit
We incorrectly interpret this attitude as being compassionate since this habit is so deeply embedded in our behavior that we are unaware of its presence. It could take some time to recognize and acknowledge this behavior. However, you might wish to try the following measures to get rid of this people-pleasing mindset.
- Learn to Say “No” with conviction: Identify when you feel pressured to please and take a pause before committing anything. You can try saying : I won’t be able to make it, I have plans for the day but thank you for thinking of me. I’m honored but someone else can dedicate the time it deserves. Start with small and don’t be afraid to fallout.
- Set healthy boundaries: once you know what are you willing to do, communicate those needs with love and kindness.
- Realize you have a choice
- Rather than apologizing, show gratitude and appreciate the efforts: for example, If you are late in reaching some place, than rather than saying sorry, you may want to thank that person for being patient enough to wait.
- Recognize that you cannot satisfy everyone. Attempting to always make everyone happy is difficult. Since their enjoyment is temporary, you feel obligated for maintaining their mood. You can only influence your own thoughts and emotions.
While being kind and helpful is generally a good thing, going too far to please others can leave you feeling emotionally depleted, stressed, and anxious. Hence, it is extremely important to set boundaries and utilize your time to do what you want to do. You can also seek out professional help if you feel that this behavior is impacting your well-being and remind your self often that 8you can’t please everyone.
Who am I?
I am working as a product manager in one of the fortune 500 companies and I have a strong desire to lead a peaceful life in all aspects and I constantly keep on learning to make an effort in this direction. Along the way I am sharing what I learn.
To be proficient to do it, I also offer 1:1 sessions to help ambitious women to find strength and confidence to thrive at home and work. Don’t miss to DM if you are looking for help to improve any areas of your life.
Take care of yourself.