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Updated: Jan 25

"People pleasers" are the nicest and most helpful people you know. They rarely say “no.” Unfortunately, people-pleasing can be an extremely unhealthy pattern of behavior. A person with a people pleaser personality is someone who seeks validation from others to prove their own #self-worth. A People Pleaser is a person who typically thinks they are less worthy than most other people and find their worth in taking care of others requests and needs. While a people pleaser may believe they are helping by accepting the requests of others, in many instances, while it might validate the pleaser, it may actually be limiting the development of the one making the request.

How to Tell if You Are a People Pleaser

  • Do you often feel resentful of others?

  • Do you feel slighted at times by the expectations of others?

  • Do others ask you to do things that they could easily do themselves?

  • Are you unable to show or express your real emotions to others?

  • Do you have difficulty drawing boundaries?

  • Do you tend to put everyone else’s needs above your own?

4 Suggestions to Stop the Madness

#1 Internal Validation:

Most people pleasers are desperate for validation and appreciation. They want to feel needed, so they become overly helpful and say “yes” to most everyone and everything. This makes their sense of self-worth contingent on the approval of others and not their own internal measure.

One way to fight people pleasing is to recognize what makes you – you. Recognize and invest in what makes you unique and special – its ok to recognize yourself for the victories and accomplishments you have achieved as well as the special characteristics that make you special. Do things that you enjoy and that reinforce your confidence. Surround yourself with those who value you for who you are not what you can do for them.

#2 Start with Small No’s:

It can be hard to say no at first, so start with something that doesn’t have a lot of significance attached to it. For example, consider saying no to things that you have an existing conflict with. Or, if someone asks you to grab dinner, consider a shorter coffee or suggesting another night instead. Start with small no’s to practice for the bigger ones.

Ultimate freedom is to be able to say no with no explanation or reason other than its just not right for you at that time. You are standing up for you; and remember, if you don’t stand up for you, no one else will.

#3 Give Yourself Time:

Do not give an answer immediately. Make a rule that if someone asks you for something, your default answer is, “Let me get back to you.” You can say that you have to check your schedule, your to-do list or your spouse. Do whatever you need to do to buy yourself some time, then you will have some space to think about it and respond after careful consideration.

#4 Know Your Goals:

It’s much easier to say no to other people’s wants when you know what you are saying yes to in your own life. By establishing clear goal’s you are able to evaluate whether or not any given activity aligns with your direction. If it doesn’t, should you really be investing in it given your limited time. If you haven’t reflected on and written down your goals, take an afternoon and identify your long-term goals which will allow you to better understand and establish short term goals and thus clarify where you should be spending your time. One of mine, when the kids were younger, was to be home for dinner which became a consideration for every decision throughout to the day if I was to achieve that. That one goal influenced what I could say yes to and what I couldn’t in a significant way. Some suggestions for getting started on Your goals:

  • Brainstorm your goals – big hairy audacious goals that align with what you want to achieve or become.

  • Reflect on the attributes of those you most admire.

  • Once you create goals — step back and let them simmer to be sure they’re the right goals.

  • Narrow down to five goals — and then three.

  • Think in positives — not negatives

  • Ensure they are your goals – not what others expect of you.

  • Put actions to the goals and anchor them with schedule and accountability.

  • Write the goals down, write the goals down, write the goals down.

  • Share the goals with others.

With renewed self-confidence, new tools and clear goals, you can overcome the exhausting pursuit of being everything to everyone and give yourself the opportunity to be your best self to the best things and situations. For more information on goal theory visit our blog often or check out the video's on our resources page.

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