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People Pleasing: 5 Ways I'm Going to Stop

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"There is nothing wrong with bringing others happiness. But, if you’re losing yourself in the process, then it isn’t fair to you. You have to find a way to be you without feeling guilty about it." -Christina McCalla

Hi, my name is Z & I'm a People Pleaser, & a very good one at that.

One of my strengths is putting out fires & turning down the noise for others. That works great in my job, but not so well in the rest of my life. Long ago I learned how to put others' needs first & mine on the backburner; as a woman I think we naturally excel at this because of our maternal instincts.

I've reached a point emotionally where I want to scream "NO MORE! I'M SICK OF IT! I WANNA FOCUS ON ME!"

I don't plan on turning into an a rude a--hole & steamrolling over people. The last thing I want to do is harm others or disregard their feelings while learning to practice putting myself first.

So what do I plan on doing? Here are 5 tips I thought I'd share:

1. Lose the excuses.

Stop explaining why I'm doing what I'm doing (aka justifying my reasons). The exception being if my behavior/action directly affects someone else.

2. Own my opinion.

Often I suppress my own opinion & defer to the other person for fear of saying the "wrong" thing. My voice is just as valuable as theirs.

3. Let go of guilt.

Holy moly this one's going to be tough. Saying no doesn't mean I'm a bad person. Or a failure. Or not good enough. Or whatever other BS I've bought into. Saying no to enforce boundaries, or to give myself some breathing room, means saying YES to self-care & my own needs, which is the goal.

4. Listen for & act on my intuition.

Like #2, I'm skilled at suppressing my intuition / inner guide. Regular meditation, mindfulness & journaling always helps me get in touch with & find my true voice. With practice I know I'll eventually be able to recognize & act on my intuition.

5. Take small steps.

People pleasing is hard to break, especially when it's so automatic I don't always notice it. Just like weight loss, I'll take it in small manageable chunks.

Are you a people pleaser? How has it served you? How has it hindered you? How do you feel about it?

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • KNH771
    I went to a class once where the instructor said something that really stuck with me, "If helping you is hurting me, it's not OK." I really try to remember that now when I'm interacting with other people, especially in my family relationships. It reminds me that it's OK to say no.
    2051 days ago
    I used to be a people pleaser, but learned ways to say no. I still have problems and sometimes go too far in the other direction, but I'm still figuring out the balance for me. I should have made a list of tips like yours! Good luck.
    2052 days ago
    emoticon emoticon You go Girl!!!!!
    2052 days ago
    emoticon Z
    2052 days ago
    You are right about most women being people pleasers. I think it may also have to do with our self image, and not wanting to appear to be the bad guy in addition to the qualities which we perceive as negative or less desirable.
    Nice plan! emoticon
    2052 days ago
    I am a people pleaser, the problem is my family knows I'm a people pleaser. So every decision is now prefaced with discussion if I really want what I said I want or I want to do what I said I wanted to do, which is so very annoying. So, I will try to use your tips, but like you said, sometimes you don't know you're doing it. I hope you can start listening to your inner voice! emoticon
    2052 days ago
    Great blog Z!! Thanks for the words and the insights!!!
    2052 days ago
    I too am a people pleaser. It led to me being a doormat, and treated like one. I am still a people pleaser, in that I will help if I possibly can, but no longer at a spiritual cost to myself, and longer instead of commitment to myself.
    2052 days ago
    Good Luck with these behavioural changes! Like any 'habit', it will take lots of work to change!!! You can do this, Z! You are worth it!!!
    2052 days ago
    5 good goals to practice! Learning to say no was a hard one for me but I do it much more often now. Keep us posted on how it's working for you.
    2052 days ago
  • A*L*P*
    Daaaaaaaaang, Z, I think you could have written this for me. I feel mentally drained on most days. I love ya girl. I admire you so much, I look forward to seeing how this pans out for you! Hugs!
    2052 days ago
    Very helpful.

    Yes, I am a people pleaser. It got me lots of friends in elementary school, but it pretty much stopped working after that. I think that it has led to . . . rage. It definitely no longer works for me anymore.

    Thank you for the 5 tips.
    2052 days ago
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