How to Stop being a People Pleaser
If you’re a people pleaser, you know that saying ‘yes’ to everyone can compromise your well-being. People pleasing can lead to feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and rundown. Start saying ‘yes’ to the things that ignite the fire in your soul – and ‘no’ to everything else.
Breaking my people pleasing habit was the first step in my self care journey.
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Every single interview comes with the same question, “What are your weaknesses?” For me – it’s being a people pleaser. I say it every single time. Unfortunately (for me), my past customer service jobs love this answer. Of course, they want to hire someone that puts the customer first. They think it’s one of those weaknesses that I’m trying to spin into a strength. Like “Oh, my weakness is that I’m a total perfectionist,” or, “I am just TOO organized.” Ugh – eye roll times a million.
Being a people pleaser is truly a weakness. By saying ‘yes’ all the time, I have worked 70+ hour weeks and taken on projects that I know nothing about. Most importantly, I totally forgot how to take care of myself. I would end up with so much on my plate that “me time” was a totally foreign concept.
Maybe that’s why I’m so in love with self-care now – because I went so many years without it.
Part of my self-care journey is learning to say ‘nah’ to things I don’t love. If I’m not thrilled about it, it’s a no from me (in the wise words of Simon Cowell. Remember American Idol?)
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Stopping your people pleasing tendencies doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t help people out. If your spouse asks you to help with the dishes, you probably should. Even though you really really don’t want to. This is not, “Hallelujah I’m going to start saying NO to cleaning the toilet!”
Nope. Even as a teenage people pleaser I could avoid cleaning my room, no matter how many times my mom asked.
This is about saying ‘no’ when you feel the pressure to say ‘yes’ to things that don’t serve you. Like making dinner plans with that coworker you think is annoying, working extra shifts, or lending someone money.
If you struggle with being a people pleaser, you know that saying ‘yes’ to everyone leaves less and less time for yourself. It probably leaves you feeling overwhelmed. Maybe frazzled. Maybe miserable.
If you’re struggling with people pleasing, breaking the habit will lead you to a more fulfilled life.
*Think about what you want. This can be challenging. You may not know what you want because you’re so used to doing what other people want.
*Take your time. You don’t have to give an answer right away.
*You can say ‘no’ in a nice way. It doesn’t have to be some big tragedy. The world won’t crumble around you (even though it may feel that way at first).
*Ask yourself the follow questions to better understand why saying ‘no’ is a GOOD thing.
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How will this serve the other person?
If this person can do the task themselves, the immediate answer is no. Let them do it! Ask yourself this – if you want something done perfectly, wouldn’t you just do it yourself? You bet. Say no and have them do it themselves.
How will this serve me?
Evaluate your likes and dislikes. Do you actually want to do this? If you say ‘yes,’ will it cause you more stress in the long run?
Do I want to?
This is the most important. If the thing you’re saying ‘yes’ to is going to make you miserable…don’t do it. Seriously. It may be easier said than done, but here’s why you should say ‘NO.’
First, if you aren’t excited about it, you won’t do a great job or have fun while doing it. When you say ‘yes’ to things that spark a fire inside you, you will put your whole heart into it.
By saying ‘no’ more often, you make room for amazing things to come into your life – things that you’re excited to say, “HELL YES!” to.
Second, if you’re not excited, someone else will be. And the best person for the job is someone who wants to do it. Saying, ‘no’ will allow the best person to step in and do a killer job.
Don’t let something be half-assed because you are afraid to say ‘no.’
What does your gut say?
Listen to your intuition. It will never lead you in the wrong direction. Sometimes every sign points to “yes, yes, yes,” but it still feels wrong. These are the times that it is the most important to say no.
When you do say yes, make sure it’s a HELL YES!
*Say yes when something excites you. When you feel a fire in your soul about it. When you can barely even wait to get started.
*Say yes when you can help someone. Pay it forward. If it’s something small that is stressing out a loved one, give them a hand. Maybe you can complete the task in a fraction of the time.
*Say yes when you may be scared. Don’t say “no thanks” just because it’s scary and you don’t want to do it right now. You might learn to enjoy it. Public speaking is a great example of this. It’s important to know how to talk to people, even though getting up in front of a crowd can be pretty scary. Say ‘yes’ to challenge yourself.
*Say yes when you need a challenge. Are you just floating through life, searching for something new to try? Say yes to something that will challenge you and inspire personal growth.
I still have moments of saying ‘yes’ to things that I don’t want to do. Just a few months ago I went into a job feeling stressed out each day because I hated it so much. All because I didn’t want to say “no” to someone who had helped me out. I felt like I needed to return the favor.
Hindsight is 20/20. I should’ve said no to that job. They could’ve hired someone who was passionate and hard working. Me? I quit within a few months because I was so miserable. I finally said “No, I’m not putting myself through this if I hate it.” But, I should’ve said no right off the bat.
Learning to be less of a people pleaser is an ongoing process. Saying “yes, yup, sure, of course” to everything became such a habit that I had to start evaluating every decision. I still take my time answering and turn people away nicely when I need to say no.
Many times, you’ll find that you can lend a hand in a smaller way that is less time consuming. This way, you still have time for YOU.
Share this post with a people pleaser in your life or pin it for later! Do you struggle with always saying yes to your friends, family, and people at work? Once you start saying no, you’ll have more time to take care of yourself. What is your current self-care practice like? Let me know in the comments!
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