Are you a people pleaser? This is an important question to ask yourself because when the answer is yes, if often comes along with stress and anxiety. What does it mean to be a people pleaser? A people pleaser is someone whose main focus is on others and making them happy. While it is important to consider other people’s needs and feelings, being a people pleaser takes that to the extreme. The end result tends to be sacrificing your own needs.
COMMON BEHAVIORS OF BEING A PEOPLE PLEASER:
- Preoccupation with how others are feeling and what they think about you
- Hardship saying no to requests
- Difficulty disagreeing with others
- Not wanting to express their own needs and feelings
- Conscious effort to avoid conflict
- Need for praise
- Taking things personally
Being a people pleaser is rooted in low self-esteem. When someone has such a low view of themselves, they defend against that by obsessing and ruminating over how others see them. This results on their actions being mainly focused on being seen in a good light by others. The problem is that this not only creates unnecessary stress and anxiety, but leads to one’s own needs not being met. When your own needs aren’t being met, it is hard to find satisfaction in life. This puts you at higher risk for depression and other mental health struggles. Additionally, the people pleasing life is not sustainable. Therefore, eventually you will hit a boiling point.
HOW TO STOP BEING A PEOPLE PLEASER:
- Acknowledge that you are one. Own being a people pleaser and identify what behaviors you engage in as a result. Getting really clear on how your people pleasing tendencies manifest will help you then be able to make a real change.
- Engage in Self-esteem building. As the root of people pleasing comes from a lack of self-esteem, it is important to build your confidence as a way to stop the people pleasing behaviors. The key to self-esteem building is learning to focus on the positive. This entails taking time to focus on your strengths, accomplishments, and positive qualities. See below to download a self-esteem building worksheet.
- Remind yourself your needs are important and allow yourself to say no. A big part of people pleasing behaviors is not allowing your needs to take priority. This leads to giving into requests that you really don’t want to. When someone asks for a favor, don’t answer right away. First take time to tell yourself you are equally important to this other person. This will help you be able to make more selective choices on when to accommodate other’s needs.
- Get in the habit of checking in with how you feel. People pleasers often don’t even take the time to focus on how they feel because in their minds it doesn’t matter. When you take that moment to remind yourself your needs are important, also think about how you feel and what you want.
- Check the facts. A big motivator of people pleasing is avoiding conflict. However, most of the time, conflict is not really likely or at least not as catastrophic as we predict. Instead of worrying about avoiding conflict, ask yourself is that really likely? And is it really going to be the end of the world? What is really the worst case scenario? If someone doesn’t care about your feelings, and thinks they take precedent, then do you really want them in your life? If not being willing to give in to requests 100% of the time means the other person gets upset, it is really more of a reflection on them. In those cases, check in with yourself on why that is a relationship you are fighting for.
It can help to create a mantra that will help you stick to moving away from people pleasing. Repeat your mantra over and over when you are tempted to give into people pleasing. Repeat it at least once a day just to remind yourself that you have a choice and your needs are important.
Life is all about balance. Not being a people pleaser does not mean you stop caring about others. Know that you can be a caring, compassionate person, but not always put other people first. Finding that balance is the key. Using the above tips, you can more easily make selective decisions about when to give into requests, when to express your feelings, and stop overly worrying about upsetting others and experiencing conflict. Finding this balance will help lessen anxiety, stress and, and resentment. You can then increase happiness and life satisfaction. Isn’t that really what we all want?
Take time now and consider where you fall on the people pleasing spectrum. Ask yourself what are your motivating factors for any people pleasing tendencies. Then take a moment and consider what are the obstacles in your way of finding a better balance.
Don’t forget to download your self-esteem worksheet here. Continue your journey to creating your life worth loving now!