2 Most Powerful Tools To Stop People-Pleasing Behaviors
So, you’ve come to the realization that you are a people pleaser and that it’s having a negative impact on your life. You have trouble saying no or you feel guilty saying no. You worry that people will think you’re selfish or mean if you don’t fulfill their requests. Your free time is limited or nonexistent because you’re always doing for others. You over apologize or accept blame inappropriately.
You want to be liked, you want to be helpful, you want to be appreciated but you’re now feeling emotionally depleted, stressed, anxious, and resentful. You have trouble advocating for yourself and setting limits; your needs and self-care are often neglected. You’re stretched thin and burned out.
You’ve decided that you’re ready to change. You know that you have to.
Change is possible. Once you develop the awareness of your people pleasing behaviors, it’s time to take action and learn how to manage your compulsion to try to satisfy others.
Two powerful tools to help you stop your people pleasing behaviors:
1. Begin by upgrading your perspective of yourself. Your people pleasing behaviors have allowed others to benefit from your silence and sacrifice. Work on believing that your needs are as important (or, I assert, more important) as anyone’s. Low self-esteem, insecurity, past negative experiences can lead us to feel unworthy. Chronic people pleasers rarely put themselves first. While you may be deemed the nicest, most generous, most available person in the room, what has this cost you?
2. Start setting boundaries. Learning to set boundaries is like learning a new language, it takes practice. But with practice, you’ll become more comfortable with the language of assertiveness. It will become more natural, less effortful, less guilt-producing. You’ll start feeling less resentful towards people, less exhausted physically and emotionally. Patients have reported that as they became more comfortable and proficient with setting limits, they felt less anxious and depressed. Their loved ones commented that they were more pleasant to be around. This may be very uncomfortable at first; start small and hone the skill with consistent practice.
How do I know if I need professional help?
While everyone loves being complimented for being a nice person, people pleasing behaviors can emerge from many places and, to change your behaviors, you will likely find it helpful to understand why you seek this external validation and approval from others. Working with a therapist can help develop an understanding of why you do the things you do, help you explore your true motives, prioritize your needs, build your confidence and self-worth, and learn to set healthy boundaries. You will be a happier and healthier person when you develop the tools to thrive. You deserve it!
Author: Dr. Beverly J. Pedroche