How to Stop Being a People Pleaser: 7 Powerful Habits

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How to Stop Being a People Pleaser: 7 Powerful Habits

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how rarely they do.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

“When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you don’t say ‘no’ to yourself.”
Paulo Coehlo

Getting stuck in the habit of people pleasing can have a sneaky and negative effect.

Not only on you, but also on the people around you.

Because while you’re trying to please the other people in your life:

  • You put on a mask and try to guess what to do while you become anxious and stressed.
  • Sometimes you feel abused by others who take advantage of the pleasant habit of your people and you often feel out of tune with what you want deep down.
  • It can also have an unintended effect on other people As they may see through your mask, they begin to sense your inner discomfort and burden themselves, and become confused or angry because they sense that you are not being honest and clear with them.

So it is often an even worse choice than you might initially think.

But how can you change this behavior and stop being a people pleaser?

This week I would like to share 7 powerful insights and habits that have helped me with this.

1. Realize that some people are not about you and what you do (whatever you do).

Some people just can’t be satisfied. Whatever you do.

Because it’s not about what you do or don’t do. It’s about him or her.

About how she’s having a bad month, has a sick pet, or doesn’t have good chemistry with you.

Or that he has an unhappy marriage, too much debt or a toothache that just won’t go away.

By realizing this and that you will ultimately not be able to get everyone to like you or avoid conflict no matter what you do, you can begin to let go of this ineffective and harmful habit.

2. Learn how to say no.

Of course, if you like to please, it’s hard to say no.

But it is vital for your own happiness, stress levels and for the life you really want.

Here are 5 things that have made it easier for me to say no more often:

Disarm and state your need.

It’s easier for people to accept your no if you disarm them first.

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For example, do this by saying that you feel flattered or that you appreciate the kind offer.

Then add to that the fact that you simply don’t have time to do what they want, for example.

If they are pushy, add how you feel.

Tell them that you don’t feel like this offer is a good fit for your life right now.

Or that you feel overwhelmed and very busy and therefore cannot do what they want.

Telling someone honestly how you feel can help him or her understand your side of the issue. And it’s also a lot harder to argue about how you feel than about what you think.

Help a little.

If possible, end your answer by recommending someone who you think could help or would be a better fit for what he or she needs.

I do this quite often when I feel like I’m missing the knowledge or experience a reader or friend is looking for.

Remind yourself why it’s important to say no sometimes: you teach people by how you behave.

They get to know you and your boundaries through your behavior.

So if you stand up for yourself, say no, and be assertive about what you don’t want, people will start to notice.

And over time, you’ll encounter fewer and fewer situations where someone tries to be pushy or catch you off guard.

It’s okay to feel a little guilty about saying no (but you don’t have to act on it).

Just feel it and stay with that feeling for a while.

But at the same time, know that this doesn’t mean you have to act on it and say yes or do what they want you to do.

3. Reminder: People don’t really care what you say or do.

Holding yourself back in life and trying to act in a way that pleases others can, in my experience, come in large part from the belief that people care a lot about what you say or do.

But the truth is that although you are the main character in your own life and mind, you are not the main character in the lives of others.

Because the point is: people have their hands full thinking and worrying about their own lives.

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Their minds are full of thoughts about their children, careers, pets, hobbies, dreams and worries or thoughts about what others will think of them.

This realization can make you feel less important. But it can also set you free.

4. Learn to deal with criticism and verbal abuse (and the fear thereof).

Tip No. 1 in this article is one thing that will help you deal with criticism and the fear of it.

Because sometimes it is simply about the other person and his or her life situation at the moment and not about what you have or have not done.

A few more things that help me deal with negative or critical messages are:

Wait before you answer.

Take a few deep breaths during a conversation or for a few minutes while sitting in front of your inbox.

By doing this you reduce the risk of lashing out or making a mistake. It’s almost always a good idea to calm yourself down a bit before answering.

Remember: you can let it go.

You don’t have to respond to all the negative messages you receive via email, social media, or in real life.

You can just say nothing, let it go and move on.

This obviously won’t work in every situation, but it’s important to remember that you do have this option occasionally.

It’s okay to disagree.

This took me time to really understand.

Because I wanted to get people on my side. To show someone the way I did.

But it’s also okay to just have different opinions about things. And to leave it at that.

I found life becoming lighter and simpler as I began to accept this idea and perspective.

5. Set boundaries for yourself.

If you say no to yourself, if you set some firm boundaries for yourself, over time it will become easier to do the same with other people.

And these boundaries can also help you focus better on what matters most to you.

A few of my daily things that have helped me with both of these things are:

  • A start time and a stop time for work. I don’t work before 8am and my work computer is turned off by 7pm at the latest.
  • Work in a distraction-free zone. I leave email notifications and messaging programs turned off. And my smartphone is on silent mode on the other side of our house.
  • Only check your email once a day. Otherwise, I can easily lose focus and let too many thoughts swirl around my head while I’m working.
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6. Boost your self-esteem.

Why is this important?

Good with a self-esteem toolbox full of helpful habits you will value yourself and therefore your time and energy more, making it more natural to say no when necessary.

And criticism and negative words will bounce back from you more easily and often.

Plus, you don’t have to worry as much about others always liking you.

Because you now appreciate and respect yourself more, and your dependence on what others think or say drastically decreases.

7. Keep your focus on what YOU want out of your life.

If you know what matters most to you and focus on that every day, you will naturally start saying no and stop being a people pleaser.

Because your energy and time are now mainly focused on your needs and wants.

You’re no longer just floating around without a clear focus (which is great, because if you don’t have that, you can easily fall into the trap of just going along with what someone else wants).

So how do you do this practically?

Well, fine-tuning what you want deep down can take some time. But this is a good start…

Step 1: Ask yourself: what are the top 3 most important things in my life right now?

It could be your small business. Your family. Your career, health, dog, photography hobby, football, improving your social life or simplifying your home. Or something else.

Step 2: Create 1-3 memories.

Write your top 3 most important things on a small piece of paper. And put it on your bedside table so you see it first thing every morning.

You can also make 1 or 2 notes with the same answers, for example to put on your refrigerator and in your workspace.

An effective alternative to paper notes is to use a reminder app on your smartphone (I use the free Google Keep app for my reminders every day).

These two simple steps have helped me tremendously in keeping my priorities clear and reminding myself of them every day so that I don’t stray too much from what matters most to me.

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