8 Steps To Help Set You free From The Need To Please People

August 05, 2016

How to stop being a people pleaser

Do you often catch yourself  pleasing others at your own expense?
Do you shrink yourself for somebody else's comfort?
Do you think people will like and accept you more if you pleased them?

I'd like to make myself clear here. There is nothing wrong in being helpful and saying 'YES' to others however, you are in for some disappointment when you go overboard. You consciously and continuously torment yourself when you please those who couldn't care less about you. 

Have you ever wondered what pushes you to be the 'YES MAN'?

I believe we can all remember times where we selflessly gave our time and energy to people who did not deserve us in the least. I believe many of us are still stuck trying hard to figure out why we keep pleasing others...but can't find a valid reason. 

Well! You simply can't stop yourself from doing so! Am I right? 

People pleasing is an epidemic. 

Harriet Braiker, author, of The Disease To Please, explains how people pleasing to the point of self-neglect and self-destruction is a disease. She emphasizes how you can stand up for yourself, express your needs and still be a nice person. (A Must Read)

I myself have a track record for pleasing people to my own detriment.
I would say 'YES' when every inch of me screamed say 'NO'.
I would curse myself over and over again for saying 'YES'! 

But I couldn't help myself. It was too hard to say NO! I badly wanted to be in the good books of those around me.

I did not want to disappoint anybody. I felt like a good person when I pleased others and BAD when I did not. If somebody didn't like me, I would do everything I could to make them appreciate me.

It wasn't until a couple years ago, after a few life-shattering experiences, it dawned on me.....

If I were to take control of my life, if I were to live life on my own terms, then things had to change. 

I had to learn to say 'NO' to expand my ability to say 'YES' and really mean it. 
I had to break free from the shackles of pleasing every single person.

I had to teach myself that no matter what I did, there will always be people who would hate, disagree and criticize me. Should I bother? 

If it's constructive criticism, I would take it into consideration...but if it's riddled with jealousy, manipulation, and selfishness, out of the window it goes!

I am now in control and glad to have reclaimed time and energy wasted on pleasing people who did not matter. I have since attracted an awesome entourage. People who create drama and bring negativity stand no chance in my life.

Here are 8 steps to help you curb the need to please people.
Nevertheless, I have to remind you that these steps aren't instant fixes to people pleasing. 
It requires you to be fully conscious of your words and actions.

Are you ready? I'm sure you are.
Here we go!

 Say No Politely & Firmly

If you really want to say 'NO', go ahead.
Don't force yourself into doing something you don't want to. It might be hard to say no the first time but you got to start somewhere.

Let's say you are being invited to a function.
You either don't want to go or cannot make it. Don't stress. Stand tall and confident.

Look the person in the eye and firmly let him/her know you cannot or will not attend. Be polite about it. Give a brief explanation 'IF' you want to otherwise...'NO' is a full sentence.

It's Ok to Say No

 Stop looking for Approval

Seeking validation from others is also a sign of your need to please.

Imagine you ask a colleague,
"How's my new bag"?
She replies "Looks alright, but I like the one you had yesterday".
Your 'need to please' disease kicks in. 

The next day you are back to work with the bag your colleague likes.
How sad is that?

Not only did you look for approval but you allowed your colleague's comment to affect you.

If you like who you are, what you wear and carry, others opinions shouldn't matter. 

Look at it this way.
Every single human being has somebody who doesn't like something about them.
Celebrities get thousands of people criticizing, naming and shaming them on a daily basis. 

Do they change who they are to please you? Of course not.
Then why should you?

Stop seeking approval

 Spot manipulation 

Don't get carried away in sugar coated comments. Learn how to spot somebody who's simply showering you with compliments, to take advantage of you.

Here's an instance:-

You have guests. One of them infinitely keeps praising your dish.

"Wow, that's so delicious. You are too good. Nobody can cook like you do. I wish I could cook like you". You start to feel a little bit uncomfortable as you know her appreciation isn't genuine.

Just before leaving he/she asks you for a favor. "I loved your dish.
Would you please prepare the same dish for next week's function"?

Now if you've been enticed by the 'over the top' comments she made earlier, your obvious answer would be to say 'YES' without giving it a second thought. At this stage, you put commitments on the back burner and place yourself in a difficult situation.

Had you spotted the instance where he/she was complimenting you endlessly and later on asking you to prepare a dish, you probably would have politely turned down her request. 

Sometimes you need to read between the lines and learn to recognize the manipulators.

 Set Boundaries

If you want to have healthier relationships with your peers, colleagues, and friends you must set boundaries. If you don't do so, you will be taken advantage of and lines will be crossed. 

You must have heard this or said this before,
"Oh! I did so much for her/him but instead I got bullied, used and stabbed in the back".

These things will keep happening if you keep being subservient and please ungrateful people. 

If you want to be respected for who you are, set healthy and clear boundaries.
Stop making yourself available at all times.

Before agreeing to commit yourself, check your schedule to see if you can do so or not.
Avoid giving on the spot confirmations.

Setting Boundaries is Healthy

 Put Your Goals First

This reminds me of an instance where I was preparing for an exam. During that period, I had this friend who constantly invited me over for parties, outings, lunches and dinners. There were times I should have said no and do what mattered most in that instant. But I never wanted to displease her. 

Unfortunately, this had taken a toll on my exam preparations and left me feeling frustrated.
My first thought, 'I was just trying to please'.
My second thought, 'was it worth it?' 

Hence we should all learn to prioritize our goals or we'd forever live to please.

 Do not Apologize for Everything

Did you know apologizing at all times clearly shows your want to please?

Try this experiment today.
Be conscious of the number of times you said "Am sorry". N
ow let's imagine you said so 15 times.

Were you really at fault? OR was it just another attempt of yours to please?
Think about it!

I often catch people apologizing for no reason.
Avoid being sorry at all times unless you really have something to apologize for.

 Love Yourself

Do you love yourself? If you did, you wouldn't go around pleasing others leaving yourself out.
If you loved yourself, you wouldn't feel obliged to make others happy first.

Put yourself in the forefront. Sounds selfish? Probably!
But allow me to remind you that self-love is not selfish.
If you don't love yourself first who will?

Do you know why many relationships are on the rocks nowadays? Because people don't love themselves enough. They just give, give and give and there's nothing left for themselves.
Love Yourself

 Speak Up For Yourself

Do you put up a smiling face when you're actually feeling sad? Stop pretending to be happy when you're not. Do you keep quiet when confronted? Speaking up can be hard but not speaking up can be disastrous.

If you believe you are being told off for no reason, speak up! Stand up for yourself!
If you feel down and can't make it to a friend's party, speak up. Tell him/her you can't attend because you're sad. No need to hide your feelings in order to please.

Remember you're human. So acknowledge how you feel and speak up for yourself!


Are you a people pleaser? How do you control the need to please?
I would like to hear your experience.

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