You’re the one who is there for all your family and friends, who people go to for things. Others rely on you. They know that you’ll be there for what they need. Even if they don’t ask you, you often offer to help. What are friends for, right? You want to do the right thing and for others to like you. You've noticed you might be a people-pleaser.
Maybe you’re tired of being nice.
Your body may be in pain; you might be feeling exhausted or depressed. Always trying to be nice is a huge energy drain.
When we consistently put others needs before our own, we get lost, sometimes leading to not knowing what our own needs are anymore. We may avoid confrontations at all cost, so we may just “let it go;” we don’t end up having the conversations with others that might be important to our own well-being. When we say “yes” when we wish we would’ve said “no,” we aren’t speaking our truth.
Maybe we’re afraid that if we do speak our truth, others won’t receive it well. We erroneously think that we have to be a certain way for others to like us. We live in fear-based thinking. Always trying to be nice creates a loss of self.
Learning how to set boundaries with others might be just the medicine needed.
Interestingly, when we’re a chronic people-pleaser, others often take advantage of our niceness. We may not get back what we give, leading us to feelings of resentment over time. If your mind or body are hurting, they may be on strike, desperately trying to communicate to you that they can no longer handle the stress and tension of always trying to please others and the resentment that can go along with that.
If you’re a people-pleaser, you may not realize the enormous stress and physical tension people-pleasing creates.
If you’re ready to shift your people-pleasing nature, the following questions may help you.
- How does my body feel when I say ‘yes,’ when I really want to say ‘no?’ By checking in during these times, you may be able to directly feel the deep ‘no’ in your body that wants to shout it out. By feeling the amount of stress continuing to suppress your ‘no’ creates, you may come to a decision that now is the time to practice saying no more often.
- In what situations and with whom is people-pleasing the strongest?
- Begin to practice saying no on your own. If you could go back in time and say no in those situations when you wanted to, but didn’t, how would you say no if you could do it again? Rehearse ways to set boundaries in those past situations so that when a new situation occurs in the future, you’ll be better prepared.
- Do you know someone in your life who sets clear boundaries with others and does it with love? Setting boundaries, or being assertive, doesn’t have to look mean. It can be done with firm tenderness.
- Be gentle with yourself. Becoming a recovered people-pleaser can take time and practice. Be kind to yourself by saying yes when it feels good to, not because you want to avoid conflict.
But, with time, setting boundaries begins to feel good because you’re being kind to yourself by doing so. Forgive the people-pleaser in you while you commit to walking and speaking your truth, and nothing is more forgiving than that.
If you're ready to let go of people-pleasing, Schedule an Appointment with me below.
Jennifer Huggins, Psy.D is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in West Los Angeles, specializing in Trauma and Chronic Pain. In addition to these specializations, she helps her clients heal depression, anxiety, and reduce stress though the use of cutting-edge treatments and empowering them to thrive in their lives. Her passion is helping clients find hope when its been lost.
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