Stop People Pleasing
While enjoying helping other people is a great trait to have, you don’t have to let it cause you grief or misery. If you find that helping others is causing you pain, you might need to learn to stop people pleasing.
People pleasing is when you continually go out of your way to satisfy someone else, at the expense of your own happiness.
If this sounds like you, and you’d like some tips on how to help others in a healthier way, here are some methods for how to stop people pleasing, and start benefiting those around you while also taking care of yourself.
1. Set Boundaries to Stop People Pleasing
A boundary is a limit that you place on an interaction with another person that clearly expresses your maximums for the situation.
For example, how much time you’re willing to give, or how far you want to go to help this person.
It is ok to set boundaries with others. It’s a way of protecting yourself from over extending while still doing what you can for another.
Setting a boundary also benefits the person you are helping because it requires them to help take care of their circumstances. This makes you more of a support system for the person, rather than doing their work for them.
Healthy and clear boundaries actually improve relationships, and help avoid future resentments.
2. Learn to Say “No.”
Saying “no” can be a real challenge for many of us.
But, if we want freedom from being taken advantage of by others, saying no is a powerful place to start.
Begin by noticing how you feel when you are asked to do something.
Maybe you are invited to an event that you don’t want to attend, but feel you “should.”
Or, a coworker asks you to finish a project for them (for the hundredth time), and you still have plenty of your own work to do.
Take a deep breath and say, “no thanks,” or, “sorry, I can’t.” Start out by saying “no” to small things, and then work your way up to larger requests.
3. Own Your Opinion
It’s uncomfortable to stand alone when others don’t share your opinion.
It’s natural to want to fit in – in fact, our brains are hardwired with the desire because there is safety in numbers.
Survival used to depend on fitting in with the group. But today, variety is the spice of life, and there is no need for you pretend to agree with someone or hide your truth.
Being able to speak up about what you think and feel can be an incredibly liberating experience. Being true to yourself boosts self esteem and will help you cultivator integrity within yourself.
Start finding times when it feels safe to share your opinion, even if no one else agrees.
You may want to practice this with close friends and family first and then once you feel more comfortable, expand your sharing to people and groups you are not as close with.
4. Stop Justifying
It’s common to feel that you must justify your refusal to do something that’s asked of you.
But in reality, you do not have to answer to anyone but yourself.
The next time you find yourself getting ready to explain why you can’t do what another person wants you to do, stop yourself.
“No” is a complete sentence, and you don’t owe anyone an explanation.
Choose to politely decline, and you may be surprised to find that most people don’t even ask for an explanation.
5. Take Small Steps
Growth is gradual.
Be patient with yourself, and allow yourself time to change. Do not be hard on yourself or beat yourself up if you aren’t able to stop people pleasing for good on the first try.
You likely learned to do it at a very early age, encouraged even, and are just now finding out that it’s not actually a requirement.
Start at the beginning by noticing who you defer to most frequently, and the feelings you experience when you are automatically compelled to do whatever it takes to make the other person happy.
Then remember this simple rule of thumb: if doing the thing will make you happy too, then do it. If not, start standing up for yourself and take your power back by offering a simple, “no, thanks,”or, “I can’t.”